South Carolina beat Georgia 67-61 at Stegeman Coliseum.
South Carolina wanted to play for 40 minutes and fight, scratch and claw to get a victory. South Carolina got into a tough foul trouble situation in each half and found a way to beat Georgia. How? They let Georgia beat themselves and it is unfortunately easy to do.
Let’s start off with these startling images…
This is Georgia’s First Half Shot Chart
Georgia shot relatively well in the first half getting to the Free Throw Line and attacking the basket effectively. Ball screen and roll was working well until there was laziness on the roll and nobody moved without the ball to get into a position, but it was not necessarily crippling. Georgia’s secondary break offense worked well when the right decisions were made.
Here’s the Second Half Shot Chart
What the f**k? That has to be fake?
Nope. Georgia kept going to the right the entire half. Georgia was consistently going right like Ted Cruz in the second half. It’s easy to defend Georgia when the team has no desire to use the entire floor. It’s not like this is the first time this has happened.
Georgia’s half court offense was inept with the exception of one possession that involved a great pass from Jordan Harris to Derek Ogbeide. Otherwise, the half court offense was putrid in that second half. The secondary break offense worked much better and was the only source of non-Free Throw derived offense in the second half outside of that one basket. Georgia’s secondary break was not perfect by any stretch as J.J. Frazier made selfish plays and there were long distance passes that clearly showed the lack of chemistry that exists on the team.
Wasn’t South Carolina’s Defense good?
Yes, but Georgia’s Offense was much better at stopping themselves than anything South Carolina did. South Carolina played with greater composure, physicality and aggression. South Carolina, to their credit, kept Georgia from getting into secondary break offense situations by making shots and getting back pretty well on defense. South Carolina mixed up their looks a bit between pressure man-to-man and a Pack Line Defense look.
Georgia played well on defense???
The defensive inconsistency from Georgia was due to poor chemistry and communication. There were three fouls called in this game because someone wanted to make a full range swat at a shot block rather than just keeping arms up. South Carolina was able to take advantage of the Georgia Defense in both halves by exploiting the lack of chemistry and communication the Georgia defenders had and did. When a Freshman, Jordan Harris, is telling a Junior, Juwan Parker, where he should be in the zone defense after getting burned on a previous possession… trouble is afoot. If Harris communicates like that some more, he is in line to become Team Captain. Defenders would react and scatter like chickens with their heads cut off at times in this game as well.
Georgia was effective in keeping South Carolina out of the restricted arc in the first half, but allowed the Gamecocks to have a 7 to 3 assist to turnover ratio and did not let them get to the Free Throw Line either. In the second half, it was a different story.
South Carolina did not shoot the lights out tonight, they just were the more aggressive and composed team. They did not turn the ball over and they were able to corral rebounds with confidence despite being outrebounded. Every South Carolina Gamecock believed that they could do something with the ball on offense and were not afraid to catch the ball, pass the ball or dribble the ball. The opposite could be said for Georgia.
Where this game was won was second chance points and points off turnovers. Which team was more effective in taking advantage of additional opportunities and made their opponent uncomfortable? That was South Carolina although they had help from Georgia.
The only positive in this game was that Georgia was able to attempt 30 Free Throws, but they could not get Silva to foul out of the game. South Carolina played deeper and fresher than Georgia. Georgia looked like a tired team in a hot gym because the depth was effectively cut down to seven. It did not work at all and this team wore down mentally and physically.
The pace of play was actually rather slow tonight and Georgia played at a very average pace for themselves. Georgia’s half court offense slowed the game down to a crawl and the game was essentially a 3 on 5 game on the offensive end. There was a lack of ferocity and a very obvious fear of committing a foul on the offensive end. Weak layup attempts and dribble drives were far too common. Passes that were made too late in the drive and bounce passes that are never able to caught were attempted.
J.J. Frazier took bad shots tonight from the perimeter in the secondary break. Stop-and-pop is not working and he does not have that magic. He was more effective as a driver and a distributor.
NCAA Tournament teams do not short circuit at home in must-win games and this team played like they just met. Movement without the ball was awful in the second half and this team lost their confidence and direction as well. This team has talented young student-athletes that are underutilized and have their confidence shaken. It is one thing to say that the ends justify the means, but ends are pointing to a dead end.
Is this a rebuilding season or not? Rebuilding teams try different things and reinvent themselves while in the process of losing tough games. Teams that are able to reload are able to rebuild while winning. Experienced, winning teams are able to win and feel confident in themselves.
Georgia was supposed to be closer to the last option, but it is apparent that the developmental process is being stifled and the team is not showing signs of progression.
Mark Fox’s crew was supposed to leave no doubt in the SEC slate for the NCAA Tournament Committee. Tonight, they did and it was not in the way that they wanted.