Gamecocks outplay Georgia, but Bulldogs outshoot Carolina, and prevail 67-56

This is a frustrating review to write, mostly because I just wrote it two weeks ago when we lost to Vanderbilt in the same fashion.  As we indicated in the preview, there were a number of things that could turn the tide in this game, and the Gamecocks did a good enough job of executing so that they did enough to win in every single one of those areas, bar one.

The one area, of course, is field goal shooting, most specifically scoring and preventing scores on the inside.  South Carolina simply could not stop Georgia on the interior, no matter if the player involved was a guard (Mann), a wing player (Caldwell-Pope), or a big man (Cannon).

And on the other end, the Gamecocks simply couldn’t score from inside 18 feet.  Aside from Brian Richardson, not a single Gamecock shot over 50 percent from the interior, and the team was out-shot inside by Georgia by over 25 percentage points (63.3% for UGA, 36.4% for USC).  That difference overcame everything else the Gamecocks did well, and dropped them to 2-6 in the SEC.

Team

Four Factors USC UGA
eFG 42.5 65.1
TO% 17.4 22.6
Oreb% 33.3 28.6
FTR 24.5 37.2
Possessions 57

These numbers make the case we made above plainly – the Gamecocks won the turnover battle (an area where both teams were anticipated to fare poorly), and maintained their rebounding advantage, even though offensive rebounding was below its normal rate in the 40s.  And in the one area we knew Georgia could plausibly exploit us, Carolina did a very good job of keeping the Bulldogs from running up the score on the line, only conceding three additional FTAs to Georgia (in fact, the teams both scored 11 points from the line, so there was no ultimate harm).

But the shooting.  My God, the shooting.  Georgia lit the Gamecocks up from both inside and out.  Despite the Gamecocks getting off three more 2PAs and seven more 3PAs, the Bulldogs went 19-30 from inside (63.3%) and 6-13 from the outside (46.2%).

While Carolina did a good enough job of preventing Georgia from getting additional chances, when you’re hitting shots at that rate, you don’t really need many additional chances to run up a lot of points.  Despite turning the ball over on 23 percent of their possessions, Georgia scored 1.18 points per possession.  More damning for the Gamecocks is how bad their defense was when they weren’t creating turnovers.  In those instances, Georgia scored 1.52 points per trip.  That’ll kill you.

On the other end, the Gamecocks didn’t play particularly poorly, but simply couldn’t score inside.  The turnover rate was improved on the season average (as it has trended lately), and everything else went fine enough.  But as Coach Martin and the players themselves conceded after the game, the offense simply wasn’t finding a rhythm often enough in its half-court sets, and while 0.98 points per possession isn’t a terrible effort by any stretch, it wasn’t nearly enough on this day given the defensive effort on the other end.

Individual

Georgia               
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
33
29
19
4-5
3-6
2-3
0
7
1
3
Donte’ Williams
16
14
4
2-3
0-0
0-0
2
3
0
0
John Florveus
16
15
2
1-2
0-0
0-1
1
4
0
1
Vincent Williams
15
18
5
0-0
1-2
2-2
0
1
1
1
Sherrard Brantley
14
21
3
0-0
1-2
0-0
0
3
2
2
Nemanja Djurisic
25
16
4
2-4
0-0
0-0
0
1
2
2
Kenny Gaines
24
28
11
3-6
1-2
2-2
2
0
2
1
Charles Mann
24
29
11
3-3
0-1
5-6
0
3
6
2
John Cannon
15
24
8
4-6
0-0
0-0
0
2
0
0
Tim Dixon
10
7
0
0-1
0-0
0-0
1
0
0
0
Brandon Morris
8
0
0-0
0-0
0-2
0
0
0
1
TOTAL
200
67
19-30
6-13
11-16
6
24
14
13
1.18
63.3%
46.2%
68.8%
28.6%
66.7%
56.0%
22.8%
South Carolina               
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Bruce Ellington
36
29
14
2-6
3-6
1-1
0
0
2
5
Michael Carrera
34
28
16
4-12
1-1
5-6
5
2
1
0
Eric Smith
23
10
3
0-1
1-3
0-0
0
2
2
0
Lakeem Jackson
19
17
2
1-3
0-0
0-0
0
3
2
2
Laimonas Chatkevicius
4
0
0-1
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
0
Brian Richardson
26
21
12
3-4
2-6
0-0
0
1
0
0
Brenton Williams
21
13
2
1-2
0-2
0-0
0
3
1
1
RJ Slawson
17
15
2
0-1
0-1
2-2
2
4
1
1
Mindaugas Kacinas
15
20
5
1-2
0-0
3-4
0
0
0
1
Damien Leonard
5
0
0-1
0-1
0-0
0
0
0
0
Team
5
0
0
TOTAL
200
56
12-33
7-20
11-13
12
15
9
10
0.98
36.4%
35.0%
84.6%
33.3%
71.4%
47.4%
17.5%

The preview focused a lot on Caldwell-Pope, and he delivered, using 29 percent of Georgia’s possessions in his 33 minutes played.  We were able to force a few turnovers, but he shot over 50 percent from everywhere.  He also contributed seven defensive rebounds, helping to prevent South Carolina from running up a huge advantage in its biggest strength.

The Gamecocks have struggled to stop teams from inside all season, but typically that has come from other team’s dominant big guys.  Not so on this day.  Guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann also hammered the Gamecocks when Caldwell-Pope wasn’t doing it, each using almost 30 percent of their available possessions and scoring with frequency.  Mann was particularly devastating, not only hitting his three 2PAs but also going 5-6 from the line.

That’s not to suggest we handled the bigs well – John Cannon, John Florveus, and Donte’ Wiliams were each efficient from the field, if not hammering the offensive glass.  But we didn’t stop anyone inside.  To hammer home the problems we faced inside – aside from an 0-1 effort by Tim Dixon, every Bulldog shot 50 percent or better from the interior.

On the offensive end, Carrera missed far more shots than you’d have liked to see, but his five offensive rebounds – along with his 5-6 effort from the stripe – made him a very valuable contributor on offense, not to mention his three steals.  Unfortunately the Gamecocks just couldn’t get other guys to take shots – Ellington used far too many of his possessions on turnovers instead of FGAs (though he shot a pretty useful 54% eFG).

Aside from those two, only Brian Richardson used over 20 percent of the possessions available to him, and he was also the only Gamecock to hit at least 50 percent of his shots from the field, coming in at exactly that mark.

Final Thoughts

The Gamecocks were decent on the day, but simply not good enough on either side of the floor to prevail, which was more disappointing because a home game to Georgia is a game where we should be able to get a victory.  At 2-6 in conference, South Carolina is running out of chances to right the ship, and avoid the chaos that is playing the opening day of the odd new SEC tournament format.

Carolina won’t have long to sit and sulk, as they are off to Kentucky for a Tuesday night showdown against the Wildcats.  It wouldn’t be the first time Carolina won a big game at Rupp, but it would probably be the most surprising.  Until then.

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About marvinnedick

Blogging from the mid-Atlantic on Gamecock sports, as well as general musings on sports theory otherwise.
This entry was posted in 2012-13 Basketball, Georgia, What Happened and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gamecocks outplay Georgia, but Bulldogs outshoot Carolina, and prevail 67-56

  1. Gary says:

    Defense is an item that USC has struggled with all season. Having heard the reputation Frank Martin has for defensive success, I find it curious that this team has been so unsuccessful in that area. Offensively, we lack players who can consistently score. None of our guards are consistent scorers. And several of them are just poor shooters. No need to make excuses. Our most consistent scorers amoung the frontcourt guys are Jackson and Carrera. Jackson had a miserable week last week. Not sure what the cause is. I hope it isn’t that he has given up hope of his team winning games, but that might have something to do with it. We’ll see if he does better this week. This team has a lot of deficiencies. They have overcome those in a few games, Arkansas being the best example. Can they overcome them again this week?

  2. marvinnedick says:

    Agreed our defense has been poor all year, and that’s something I didn’t anticipate. Even as we’ve fallen into the mold of many of Martin’s K-State teams, our 2P% defense and our ability to force turnovers has lagged far, far behind those squads. It’s especially disappointing given our SOS.

    But look at our front-court – three freshmen (Kacinas, Chatkevicius, and Carrera) along with an undersized Lakeem Jackson and RJ Slawson. The transfers of Harris and Gill, along with the injury to Geathers, just killed us down there. That’s not Martin’s fault. That said, we haven’t adjusted our style to compensate for these issues, but I’m not sure how much adjusting could be done.

    You’re unduly harsh on Lakeem – he had five good games before these two, and it’s hard to call out any one individual effort against Florida (he played just as poorly as everyone else did offensively, Carrera and Kacinas aside). These are his last games in college – I have no reason to doubt he’ll push hard to win as many of them as possible, just as Malik Cooke did last season.

    • Gary says:

      I love Lakeem. He is one of my favorites. I don’t mean to be hard on him at all. But look at the box scores from the two games last week and you will see he did not do much. I don’t know why. Maybe he just had a bad week and will return this week to playing like he has most of the season. Hope so.

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