COLUMBIA, S.C. – Trey Thompkins scored 16 points and had nine rebounds as Georgia held on for a 60-56 win over South Carolina on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (17-7, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) nearly blew a 23-point lead. But Thompkins blocked Bruce Ellington's 3-pointer to tie with six seconds left to hang on.
Georgia stays in second place in the SEC East and has won three league road games this season, the most since 2003. The win also improves the Bulldogs' NCAA resume — they have yet to lose a game to a team they are supposed to beat this season.
The Gamecocks (13-10, 4-6) scored just nine points in the first half, shattering their previous low of 13 for a half in SEC play. But they ended a game on a 32-13 run to nearly pull this one out.
Sam Muldrow had four blocks, setting a career record at South Carolina with 251 blocks. He also scored 13 points, all in the second half.
Georgia's six SEC wins eclipses last year's total. South Carolina is heading the other direction. After starting SEC play 3-1, the Gamecocks have lost four of five.
The Gamecocks made just 4-of-28 shots in the first half, but shot 45.2 percent in the second half and made 14 straight free throws at one point to get back into this one.
The Bulldogs looked to have put this one away with an 11-2 run after South Carolina cut its deficit to 14 points with 15:22 left. Dustin Ware and Leslie hit 3s, then Thompkins added a lay-up and another 3-pointer to put Georgia up 47-24 with 11 minutes left.
But South Carolina then went on a 23-7 run that started with a layup by Malik Cooke and three free throws by R.J Slawson. By the time Muldrow hit his second 3-pointer of the game and Bruce Ellington made his first bucket, the Gamecocks were only down 54-47 with just under five minutes to go.
Cooke hit a layup and Muldrow hit two free throws and Georgia was just 57-55 with 1:26 to go. But Jeremy Price answered with two free throws and South Carolina never had a chance to tie until Ellington's 3 was blocked.
Ellington, South Carolina's leading scored at 14.7 points a game, scored just two points, but seemed hobbled for most of the game with a hurt calf. Cooke added 15 points and Slawson added eight points.
Travis Leslie scored 13 points and Price added eight for the Bulldogs.
Georgia dominated the first half, scoring the first eight points of the game before Lakeem Jackson's fastbreak layup with 13:22 to go in the half cut the Bulldogs lead to 8-2. Jackson would be the only starter for the Gamecocks to score in the first half.
It kept getting uglier, and a layup by Chris Barnes with 4:49 to go in the first half put Georgia ahead 24-5.
The Gamecocks had a chance to hit double-digits in the first half, but Ramon Galloway missed the front end of a one-in-one with 2.5 seconds left.
Muldrow picked up the Gamecocks career block record when he stuffed Barnes on a dunk attempt with about eight minutes to go to beat Brandon Wallace's record of 249 blocks and move into the top 10 in the SEC career list. He won't be able to catch league and NCAA leader Jarvis Varnado's 564 blocks.