USC falls to Georgia for 13th straight road loss
DEC 22, 2012 11:26a ET
But the Bulldogs’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope brought Georgia out in front and kept them there, handing USC its 13th straight road loss, 64-56, Saturday morning at the Stegman Coliseum in Athens.
Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs (4-7) on a furious second-half run, scoring 12 of his game-high 25 points within the first five minutes. Caldwell-Pope also added five rebounds, a steal and a block in a game that he proved to be the biggest difference-maker on the floor.
Although the Trojans shot 40 percent from the field, they only managed five threes on 19 attempts. Poor shot selection in the final minutes of a close game kept them from tying it up.
Omar Oraby had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for USC. Eric Wise had 12 and Jio Fontan scored eight with four assists.
USC was able to take a first half lead and keep it when an Oraby dunk midway through the first started a 10-4 run. The lead was slim, the Bulldogs trailed by just four with nine minutes to play, but USC managed to hold the advantage throughout the half.
A few minutes later, the Bulldogs started to catch up. With 7:10 left, Charles Mann split the defenders and slipped a screen to pass off low to John Cannon. Oraby got a hand in Cannon’s face but he made the contested layup to tie the game at 18.
Wise then countered with a spinner in the paint and Oraby dropped in a jump hook to make the score 22-18.
But two missed free throws by Oraby would open the door for the Bulldogs. Although USC never let them take a first-half lead, the Trojans went into the locker room holding just a 28-27 lead.
Georgia head coach Mark Fox instructed his team to be more physical in the second half, and Caldwell-Pope came out with a renewed sense of intensity.
The sophomore guard picked up a screen and hit a fallaway jumper on the wing. On the next play, Mann swiped one from Dewayne Dedmon and fed Caldwell-Pope under the basket. Caldwell-Pope missed the layup but tipped in his own miss, giving Georgia a 31-28 lead.
USC made just two field goals in the first four minutes and were then forced to catch up with both Fontan and Dedmon limited with foul trouble. Caldwell-Pope would score 15 more points in the second half. The Bulldogs only remained ahead by five points with just 3:00 left on the clock, but Georgia made key free throws in the closing minutes and Mann put the cap on the win with a running layup with 11 seconds left.