18,000 Watch 79-68 Dawg Pounding in Columbia

The 18,000 Gamecock fans that came to Colonial Life Arena for Operation Sellout Saturday evening were treated to a convincing 79-68 win over the Georgia Bulldogs (9-14, 0-8 SEC). Carolina (17-5, 6-3 SEC) used a 14-0 run to take a 21-5 lead after less than eight minutes of play, and the Bulldogs never mounted a serious challenge.

"All wins are good, of course, but this is an especially good one in my mind," said Darrin Horn. "Winning is most important, but 1-A is having a sellout crowd."

The game was officially declared a sellout, although there appeared to be about 200 empty seats spread around the very top of the arena. It was just the second sellout in the seven year history of the arena. The other sellout came on March 3, 2004, against the Kentucky Wildcats.

"Al McGuire told me one time when I was at Marquette, if the corners are full you've done your job," Horn joked. "To look up and see the corners full was a good thing."

The first half was dominated by South Carolina. The Gamecocks shot 55.2% from the field, and 63.6% from three. Carolina held the Bulldogs to 31.4% shooting, and forced 12 turnovers leading to 12 points. Carolina led 41-25 at the break, and appeared on the verge of a blowout.

The Bulldogs refused to give up. Georgia battled back to within 56-42, but Carolina quickly answered back. Sam Muldrow made a pair of free throws, and Dominique Archie and Zam Fredrick each hit a three pointer for an 10-4 run that put the Gamecocks up 20, 66-46.

Georgia had one last charge left, and reeled off a 7-0 run to make it 66-53. Despite an off night shooting (4-16, 2-8 from three), Devan Downey rose to the occasion. As part of his 10 points and eight assists, he drove the lane and hit a swooping layup to end the run and seal Georgia's fate with 4:20 to play. Georgia would eventually get the deficit down to 11, but after Horn had emptied the bench.

"It's probably as good a team effort, in terms of balance and sharing the basketball […] as we've had," Horn said. "I'm really proud of our guys and the way that they played."

Downey was not the only Gamecock who filled up the stat sheet, as all five starters scored in double figures. Carolina got a career night from Sam Muldrow, who topped his previous career-high of 12 by scoring a team high 18 points to go with 7 rebounds. Archie finished one rebound shy of a double-double, and had 12 points. Fredrick had 13 points and 3 assists, and Mike Holmes finished with 13 points, 6 boards, and 4 blocks.

"Sam is a guy that we thought could come in and impact things," Horn said. "He plays hard and he affects things."

"I just thank my guards for finding me," said Muldrow.

Georgia was led by Terrance Woodbury. The senior scored a game-high 20 points to go with 7 rebounds and played almost all forty minutes. Trey Thomkins had a double-double for the Bulldogs, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 boards. Zac Swansey scored 13 off the bench. Dustin Ware also hit double figures for the Bulldogs, but in the wrong category. The freshman had 10 turnovers.


- By notching its sixth conference win of the season, the Gamecocks surpassed their win total from either of the past two seasons (four and five wins, respectively).

- Not surprisingly, since all five starters scored in double figures, the Gamecocks only scored 13 points off the bench, compared to 21 by Georgia. Carolina got 8 points from Evka Baniulis.

- The Gamecocks shot surprisingly well from the free throw line. Carolina shot 73.3% for the game, including 9-11 from the stripe in the second half.

- Carolina also shot well from three, hitting 10-22 attempts, or 45.5%.

- Carolina is now 13-1 at home and 5-0 at home in the SEC. "It's like a statement," said Archie. "We are defending our house."

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