, South Carolina (PressExposure) March 07, 2009 -- The South Carolina Gamecocks won 68-51 in their last regular season game over the Georgia Bulldogs on March 7th at Stegeman Coliseum, finishing at 21-8 overall and 10-6 in the Southeastern Conference.
"We wanted to come out and play hard," said Evaldas Baniulis, who made three of the Gamecocks' nine three-pointers. "We needed to get back our confidence and this was a perfect game for that."
The first half was far from clean, as South Carolina allowed Georgia to attempt 36 shots-Georgia, for whatever reason, just couldn't land them. The Gamecocks defense was successful in holding the Bulldogs to only nine field goals in the first half. They only allowed Georgia's leading scorer, Terrance Woodbury to four. Georgia held its last lead of 9-7 with 11:45 left in the first half, falling behind to 27-23 at the break.
Offensively, South Carolina scored 10 straight points in the first half and Devan Downey, leading the Gamecocks with 23 points overall landed nine of 17 from the field. Zam Fredrick scored 15 points and 7 rebounds, Evaldas Baniulis got 11 and Mike Holmes recorded his sixth double double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Downey just completely changed the game with the way he pressured the basketball," Darrin Horn, head coach for the Gamecocks said.
Georgia had their fair share of mistakes. Dustin Ware fouled out with 6:56 still left in the first half and Woodbury only netted four of 21. He missed seven three point attempts and only finished with nine points overall.
Georgia only shot one for 11 from the behind the three point line-nine out of 36 total. The Bulldogs also provided a devastating 19 turnovers. Four unlanded free throws and eight three pointers contributed to a night of missed oppurtunites that would have given them a total of 54 points in the second half alone.
Only two of Georgia's players scored in double digits, Chris Barnes and Trey Thompkins, who both sank 10.
"I thought Devan Downey controlled the game, obviously," said associate head coach, Pete Herrmann. "He took time off the clock, he managed the game. He got the ball in deep with the option for him to shoot and score or to get the ball out to guys like [Evaldas] Baniulis, who can really shoot it."
South Carolina took the second half when with 11 minutes left on the clock, Fredrick san a three pointer capping a 10-0 run for 48-32. The Gamecocks led by a many as 20 points in the last 10 minutes.
"I couldn't be prouder of this team," Darren Horn, the Gamecocks coach said. "They've responded, really, to every challenge. Coming off two losses where we didn't play like we needed to, coming on the road to a team that was playing really well, coming off a huge win, on Senior Day, heading into the tournament, to play like we did, I just think it's a real testament to our players' toughness and pride."