Late Wednesday night in a hallway of the Colonial Center, Bulldogs’ leading scorer Billy Humphrey was talking about sitting out the rest of the season to rest his injured left knee. Missing 11-of-12 3-point shots and losing 62-56 to South Carolina, the worst team in the SEC, can make all sorts of things go through your head.
“I hate to make excuses, but this week has probably been the roughest week I’ve had with my knee,” Humphrey said. “I think about from time to time if I want to sit down and rest it.”
Humphrey, who suffers from a persistent condition known as “runner’s knee” would have to rest his leg six weeks to do any good, he said.
“I couldn’t really see myself doing that at this point,” he said. “I don’t know man. I’m just doing the best I can.”
All the Bulldogs are going to have to tough it out from this point forward. Wednesday’s loss, Georgia’s first in the last five games against South Carolina, dropped the Bulldogs to 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the SEC.
“Even though South Carolina is a good team, we felt like they couldn’t compete with us, so we felt like if we had come out and played or made some shots, we would have gotten this win,” said Georgia’s Terrance Woodbury, who led the Bulldogs with 15 points and nine rebounds. “The loss really hurts us. We really felt like we needed this win.”
Humphrey wasn’t the only regular having an off night against the Gamecocks. Point guard Sundiata Gaines, Georgia’s second-leading scorer, had seven points, and he and Humphrey combined to go 1-for-16 from behind the 3-point line and 4-for-22 overall.
“I thought we had a hard time making a good number of makable shots,” Bulldogs head coach Dennis Felton said. “I thought we competed very hard. We defended well. just didn’t make enough shots.”
Georgia was 4-of-27 from behind the 3-point line and shot 36.9 percent overall for the game.
Promising freshman forward Jeremy Price could have had a big game against the Gamecocks, who are the SEC’s smallest and least post-oriented team, but he had just two points and didn’t start the second half.
“The last couple of games, he has been in a little bit of a funk, and that doesn’t make things any easier,” Felton said.
The Gamecocks (10-10, 2-4) were led by Georgia Tech transfer Zam Fredrick, who had 23 points and six rebounds.
With Humphrey off his game, the Bulldogs had no answer. Humphrey had scored in double figures in six of the last seven games.
“Some nights you have those nights where the net is as small as an apple or whatever,” Woodbury said. “Nothing can go in. The lid is closed on it. It’s tough for him to come out of great game like he had last game and not shoot as good this game because we definitely needed it.”
The game turned on a two-and-a-half minute stretch in the second half in which the Gamecocks turned a 30-28 lead into a 42-28 margin for Carolina when Fredrick scored with 14:13 left to cap a 12-0 run.
“Georgia’s a team that on certain nights has had trouble scoring,” said South Carolina coach Dave Odom, who got his first victory since announcing his retirement 11 days ago. “Tonight was one of those nights. Billy Humphrey going 2-for-12, you have a chance.”