ATHENS, Ga. (AP)—Sundiata Gaines scored 27 points while leading Georgia to a big first-half lead, and the Bulldogs went on to an 82-64 rout of South Carolina that snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday night.
Georgia (12-10, 3-6 Southeastern Conference) won for the first time since an 82-69 victory over Arkansas on Jan. 19. The Gamecocks (12-11, 3-6) trailed 46-29 at the half and never challenged.
The game was decided by halftime. Georgia built a double-digit lead before it was 5 minutes old and stretched the margin as high as 21 points in the early going. The Gamecocks never got closer than 14 in the second half.
With the Bulldogs down to just seven scholarship players, Gaines has taken the team on his back. The senior guard scored a career-best 32 points in a loss at Florida over the weekend, then equaled the second-best showing of his college career against the Gamecocks.
Gaines scored 19 points in the first half, hitting 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point stripe.
The Bulldogs, one of the worst-shooting teams in the SEC, made 16 of 28 (57 percent) in the opening period. Georgia dominated in all facets, outrebounding the Gamecocks 20-14, knocking down 8 of 9 at the foul line and hitting 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
South Carolina seemed to content to just launch up 3s, making only 4 of 18 in the opening period. No wonder the Gamecocks shot a dismal 36 percent before halftime.
The teams split their season series. South Carolina defeated the Bulldogs 62-56 on Jan. 30, the second of Georgia’s five straight losses.
Gaines had plenty of help. Jeremy Price had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Dave Bliss also contributed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Terrance Woodbury chipped in with 13 points.
Devan Downey led the Gamecocks with 20 points, while Zam Fredrick added 15.