March 9, 2019 / 8:29 PM / 15 days ago

South Carolina tops Georgia despite second-half struggles

Chris Silva scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half and South Carolina overcame a second-half scoring drought to defeat visiting Georgia 66-46 in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday afternoon.

Mar 9, 2019; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Hassani Gravett (2) attempts a three point basket over Georgia Bulldogs guard Jordan Harris (2) in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Silva and fellow seniors Hassani Gravett and Tre Campbell led the way in their final home game as the Gamecocks (16-15, 11-7 Southeastern Conference) rolled to a 44-21 halftime lead. Gravett had 10 of his 12 points and Campbell had nine of his 11 in the first half. Keyshawn Bryant added 14 points.

South Carolina scored just 22 second-half points but held Georgia without a field goal for the final 10:29, limiting the Bulldogs to 25 points in the half.

Nicolas Claxton scored 13 and Derek Ogbeide added 11 to lead the Bulldogs (11-20, 2-16).

South Carolina clinched the No. 4 seed and a double bye in next week’s SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. Georgia will be the No. 13 seed.

The Bulldogs played with Rayshaun Hammonds, their second-leading scorer and rebounder who had season-ending foot surgery on Thursday.

The Gamecocks played without their second-leading scorer, A.J. Lawson, who missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained ankle.

South Carolina made just two of its first 19 shots in the second half and went scoreless for nearly five minutes as Georgia chipped away at the deficit.

The Bulldogs closed to within 49-39 on two free throws by Ogbeide, but they didn’t take full advantage of the Gamecocks’ scoring struggles.

South Carolina went through another long drought, going nearly 10 minutes without a field goal before Bryant’s dunk gave them a 55-41 lead.

Bryant’s two free throws pushed the lead to 59-42 with 2:33 left.

South Carolina took the lead for good at 14-13 after Silva made two free throws, the start of an 18-1 run in which Silva added six more points for a 30-14 lead.

Jordan Harris’ 3-pointer got the Bulldogs within 11 before Silva and Gravett each made a 3-pointer as the Gamecocks scored the last 12 points of the half.

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