The Georgia Bulldogs surged ahead of the South Carolina Gamecocks late to secure a 74-72 win.
The first half was pretty tight, although UGA was able to take the game from margins of two to three points to generally margins of five to seven points after the under-12:00 TV timeout. Carolina made it closer again nearing intermission, though the Bulldogs did take a five-point lead into the break at 39-34.
The second half was like the first with Georgia nursing a small lead for a while, but South Carolina caught up around the ten minute mark. Michael Carrera nailed a three, turned a steal into a dunk on the next possession, and made a pair of free throws a couple of possessions later to flip it from a 49-44 UGA lead to a 51-49 Gamecock advantage. The teams traded leads for a while, but J.J. Frazier jumper with 2:43 left gave the Bulldogs a lead at 64-63 that they wouldn't relinquish.
Yante Maten scored off his offensive rebound a minute later to extend the lead, and a Frazier three with 1:14 to go pushed the lead out to six at 69-63. Frazier would squeeze in a pair of free throws before a Duane Notice three pointer with 29 seconds left stopped the Georgia run. It was too little, too late though, as that only cut the lead to 71-66. Mindaugas Kacinas did nail a pair of threes in the final 16 seconds for Carolina, but Frazier made 3/4 free throws after Notice's triple to keep the lead safe.
Frazier stuffed the box score with 19 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Kenny Gaines led the Bulldogs in scoring with 20, while Maten had 13 points, seven boards, and three blocks. Kacinas's 21 points, which included five threes, led all scorers, while Sindarius Thornwell put in 16 and Carrera booked 13.
At this point, we can officially say that South Carolina is playing to the level of their opponents down the stretch. The Gamecocks are just 5-5 in their last ten games, including a pair of losses to Georgia, a loss at Missouri, and a loss at Mississippi State. In that same span, they've defeated Alabama, Texas A&M in College Station, LSU, and Florida. Carolina finishes up with a road game at streaking Arkansas, and if they can't win that one, their NCAA Tournament chances will suddenly look awfully dicey.