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Gamecocks rally past Bulldogs
South Carolina's Devan Downey, right, battles for the loose ball with Georgia's Vincent Williams, left, during the first half Saturday at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C. - photo by Mary Ann Chastain

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Devan Downey had 33 points including the driving basket with 50 seconds left that gave South Carolina a 78-77 victory over Georgia on Saturday night.

The Gamecocks (13-8, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) trailed 63-54 with less than 10 minutes remaining and, except for Downey, didn't look anything like the club that took down No. 1 Kentucky 68-62 four nights earlier.

That's when Downey took control, scoring half of South Carolina's 24 points the rest of the way.

Georgia (9-10, 1-5) had a chance to tie or move ahead in the final seconds. But Dustin Ware missed the first of one-and-one foul shots with 3.5 seconds left and South Carolina rebounded to hold on.

Travis Leslie had 21 points to lead the Bulldogs, who have lost their last three games to South Carolina.

Downey, the SEC's leading scorer, has hit for 30 or more points in five of his seven league games this season.

Sam Muldrow had a career high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double in 70 career games.

The Gamecocks looked done when 6-foot-10 sophomore Trey Thompkins nailed a 3-pointer to move in front 63-54 with 9:26 to go.

Muldrow began South Carolina's rally with a bucket, then blocked Thompkins shot to set up a basket for Brandis Raley-Ross.

Downey hit a 3 to keep things going and Raley-Ross added one from behind the arc to draw the Gamecocks within 70-67.

Downey tied it up a minute later with a 3-pointer. And then, after Thompkins bucket, made two foul shots to knot it at 74-all.

Ware gave Georgia its final lead, 77-76, after a three with 1:16 to go.

Downey followed with the winning basket, driving through four Georgia defenders to bank the ball in high off the glass.

The Bulldogs had their chances down the stretch but could not convert. Thompkins missed an open layup before Ware, an 82 percent foul shooter this season, missed his foul shot.

It ended a crazy week around campus that began with South Carolina's landmark win over Kentucky. Horn was a national radio guest and Downey's amazing performance — he had 30 points against the Wildcats — in leading the Gamecocks to their first victory over a No. 1 team was shown again and again.

Horn, who went recruiting the morning after the Kentucky win, stressed the importance of returning to work ready to improve.
It looked like the Downey and the Gamecocks had listened.

Downey opened with two straight threes and added a third basket as the Gamecocks broke on top 12-7.

But South Carolina couldn't sustain the momentum and the Bulldogs pulled ahead as Thompkins and Leslie took control.

Ricky McPhee's 3-pointer put Georgia in front 17-15. Thompkins scored three straight points and Leslie had a one-handed putback that gave the Bulldogs a 24-19 lead.

Thompkins final basket of the half with 1:29 left made the lead 36-30 when the Gamecocks got a boost from an unlikely source in freshman Stephen Spinella.

Spinella, who averaged less than 8 minutes a game this year, drilled two 3-pointers in less than 25 seconds to tie the game.

Leslie, though, made both ends of a one-and-one to send Georgia to the locker room ahead 38-36.

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