Carolina's Powell too much down the stretch

ATHENS – It was the first time in a long time that Georgia was not the most frustrated team on the floor. Instead, Saturday it was South Carolina.

The Gamecocks, fighting for their SEC lives, were whistled for three technical fouls in a matter of a few minutes at the start of the second half.

The techs gave the Bulldogs and their crowd something to cheer about, but it did not last long. Georgia had a one point lead against Carolina - a team that had punished them in Columbia at the start of the SEC season. The lead held up only a few seconds, however, as Carolina beat Georgia 60-53 thanks to a 10-point Gamecock run following the technical fouls. The win gives the Gamecocks a sweep of the Bulldogs for the second season in a row.

The game did have a few Georgia highlights. The back and forth of the second half was more indicative of SEC basketball - something Georgia has not been a part of much during league play. Georgia was competitive against the Cocks on the boards – actually they out-rebounded them 31-30. It's one of only a few times this season the Dawgs have not been blown out in that category.

Carlos Powell, easily the most emotional visiting player to come to Athens this year, flopped, yelled, and glared his way to 16 points on the way to the Gamecock victory. He was held in check until crunch time, when he punished the Bulldogs with his combination of size and skill. Steve Newman was no match for him down the stretch, but he did well to keep Powell from ending the contest sooner.

Powell was the first Carolina player to get a technical. His was for taunting Levi Stukes after a made Gamecock field goal. Then another Carolina player was whistled for the same violation. The officals' ended thier technical trifecta by calling one on head coach Dave Odum.

Powell told reporters after the game that he was upset with Georgia's physical play. Powell fell to the floor twice in the contest after being hit in the eye. Fouls were not called on either play.

It was the Gamecocks' first win on the road this year, but it was not an easy one. Carolina now has what seems to be an easy game in Columbia against Auburn before they get Kentucky. Then they hit the road at Alabama and at Tennessee before returning for a nationally televised contest against Florida. That slate will determine where the Gamecocks end up seeded in the SEC Tournament and could possibily determine thier NCAA hopes.

The Bulldogs still have a long road ahead - playing at Arkansas, at Kentucky, and at Clemson before their showdown with Auburn in Athens on February 19.

Georgia's showing against Carolina proves the Bulldogs can be competitive enough at home in SEC play against non-elite teams. Auburn is in the same boat as the Bulldogs this season: they are rebuilding. The Tigers are the most likely win of all the teams remaining on Georgia's schedule.

It seems Auburn's brick and motor is going up a little faster than the Dawgs, however, as they beat Mississippi State 90-76 today on the plains.


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