After winning five straight games to rebound from an 0-2 start to SEC play Georgia played its worst game of the season Saturday against South Carolina. Mark Fox’s Bulldogs shot 22 percent from the field, making just eight of their thirty-three two point attempts in the 67-50 loss, and the absence of starting forward Marcus Thornton contributed to their struggles.
Thornton (13.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, remained home after suffering a concussion (he hit the floor hard as a result of a flagrant foul) in Georgia’s win over Vanderbilt last Tuesday night. The question now is whether or not Thornton will be available when the Bulldogs visit No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday.
In a story written by Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thornton’s father wasn’t sure as to whether or not Marcus would be able to return to the lineup for that game.
“I just don’t know,” Billy Thornton said. “It’s day-by-day. I just don’t have a good sense about it. It wouldn’t surprise if he wasn’t available for that game; it wouldn’t surprise me at all. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Rebounding wasn’t an issue for Georgia in their loss at South Carolina, but when you shoot as poorly as they did there are bound to be plenty of opportunities to grab offensive rebounds. But without Thornton the other options at the four struggled mightily, with freshman Yante Maten getting the start and playing just 18 minutes before fouling out.
Given the front court firepower that Kentucky will counter with, having Thornton would clearly help the Bulldogs slow down the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein. But at 14-6 overall and 5-3 in SEC play the bigger concern is making sure that Thornton is at full strength for the stretch run, with Georgia aiming for its first NCAA tournament berth since 2011.