Georgia hits the road again on Saturday as they get set for a match up against South Carolina without their leading scorer and rebounder. The Bulldogs are riding a five-game winning streak after Tuesday's 70-62 win over Vanderbilt at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia is 5-2 in conference play and currently tied for second with three other teams.
Senior center Marcus Thornton will miss the game due to a concussion that was sustained in Tuesday's win over Vanderbilt. Thornton suffered the injury during the first half when he crashed to the floor after he was fouled on a dunk attempt. He made both free throws and stayed in the game but later developed concussion related symptoms and was entered into Georgia's concussion protocol.
Georgia has been bitten by the injury bug throughout the conference season. Juwan Parker has missed four games with an Achilles injury and reserve forward Kenny Paul Geno was lost due to a broken wrist. Freshman Yante Maten missed a game with a concussion. The loss of Thornton however, will be the most difficult for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Replacing Thornton on the court will likely lead to an increase in minutes and role for Maten and Houston Kessler. Maten finished with three points and three rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench in the win over the Commodores. He's played a key role as a reserve for most of the season and seems like a good bet to replace Thornton in the starting lineup.
Kessler has saw his role increase of late and has been a bit of a mixed bag defensively. He played just three minutes in Tuesday's win after picking up three quick fouls. Georgia will need solid minutes from Kessler and Maten on Saturday if they hope to pull out another victory.
Its been a tough season for the Gamecocks so far but the Bulldogs need not take them for granted. South Carolina is 1-6 in conference play and has lost four straight but three of those were games decided by less than six points. They faltered late in a 64-58 loss at LSU on Wednesday when they were held to just two points over the last four minutes of the game.
The Gamecocks have played a tough schedule and in many ways qualify as a desperate opponent. The loss of Thornton will be tough to overcome and the Bulldogs will need great guard play from the likes of Charles Mann, J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines if they hope to pull off another victory.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, January 31, 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina
Radio: Bulldogs Radio Network