Georgia vs. Arkansas
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Nashville, Tenn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Yante Maten scored six straight points down the stretch putting Georgia ahead to stay, and the third-seeded Bulldogs beat South Carolina 74-62 Friday night in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The last team to play thanks to a double bye, the Bulldogs (21-10) joined No. 21 Arkansas in avoiding the upset bug here.
Not that it was easy against the Gamecocks who won both regular season games and erased a 12-point Georgia lead in the second half.
The Bulldogs put them away by finishing on a 17-5 run to reach Saturday's semifinal against Arkansas.
Maten tied his career-high with 13 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds. Marcus Thornton scored 15 points before fouling out with 3:53 left. Charles Mann had 12, and Nemanja Djurisic 11.
The 11th-seeded Gamecocks (17-16) snapped a three-game win streak.
Duane Notice led South Carolina with 20 points. Sindarius Thornwell and Laimonas Chatkevicius each had 10.
Georgia took advantage of the double bye to rest up junior guard Kenny Gaines' sprained left ankle and was as healthy as the Bulldogs had been against South Carolina this season.
The Bulldogs led 33-26 at halftime and by as much as 12 early in the second half only to see South Carolina use a 15-3 run to take a 44-43 lead that was the Gamecocks' first since the opening bucket of the game. The Bulldogs went cold after a jumper by Thornton within the first couple minutes of the half and didn't hit another field goal for 9 minutes, 19 seconds when Djurisic hit a 3-pointer for a 50-47 lead.
Georgia took the lead back with an 8-2 spurt. South Carolina answered with six straight points tying it up for the seventh and last time at 57 with 5:23 left on a three-point play by Thornwell.
That's when Maten, the freshman from Michigan, took over. He hit two free throws, then a layup and his dunk with 2:57 left pushed Georgia's lead back out. South Carolina couldn't get closer than three the rest of the way.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks had won four of their last five. ... They were trying to reach the program's first semifinal since 2006.
Georgia: The Bulldogs are in their second straight semifinal here and 13th overall. The Bulldogs now have won five of their last six with the lone loss to No. 1 and top-seeded Kentucky. ... Mann went down just past the midpoint of the second half near and grabbed at his left knee. But he returned. ... The Bulldogs ranked second in the SEC and 15th nationally in total free throw attempts and third in the SEC making them. They went 23 of 29 against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina: A call from the NIT?
Georgia: Semifinal Saturday against No. 21 Arkansas