Meechie Johnson’s tie-breaking free throws with 40 seconds left gave South Carolina the lead for good in a 61-55 victory over visiting Georgia on Saturday in Columbia, S.C.
Johnson scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the second half to go along with seven assists. Hayden Brown added 13 points and five rebounds as the Gamecocks ended a three-game losing streak.
Jacobi Wright added 14 points and Gregory “GG” Jackson II added nine points and five rebounds for South Carolina (11-20, 4-14, SEC).
The Gamecocks shot 20 of 52 (38.5 percent) from the field, including an abysmal 2 of 14 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range. South Carolina outrebounded the Bulldogs 40-25.
Georgia (16-15, 6-12), which has dropped a season-high five straight games, was led by Terry Roberts’ 14 points and five rebounds.
Braelen Bridges added 12 points and four rebounds, with Mardrez McBride and Justin Hill scoring eight points apiece for Georgia.
The Bulldogs shot 19 of 51 (37.3 percent) from the field, including 5 of 23 (21.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
After Georgia tied the game at 53 on Jailyn Ingram’s layup with 53 seconds remaining, Johnson’s two free throws 13 seconds later gave the Gamecocks a 55-53 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Georgia had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds, but Hill missed a layup with 10 seconds left and Johnson split a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining to make it a three-point game.
South Carolina, which was aided by a technical foul on Roberts, went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final three seconds to secure the victory.
After Jusaun Holt’s layup gave Georgia a 23-15 advantage with 6:12 left in the first half, the Gamecocks chipped away at the lead, pulling to within 27-25 at halftime.
McBride scored eight points and Roberts added seven in the first 20 minutes for Georgia.
South Carolina was led by Brown and Johnson, who scored six first-half points.
–Field Level Media