- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Defense and rebounding have been the emphasis for Georgia as it has adjusted to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s exit to the NBA.

Finally, Nemanja Djurisic and the Bulldogs added a healthy supply of offense to the mix.

Djurisic shook a recent scoring slump with a career-high 22 points, and Georgia beat South Carolina 97-76 on Wednesday night, leaving the Gamecocks with their worst SEC start in 15 years.

Kenny Gaines had 14 points, Brandon Morris had 13 and Marcus Thornton had 12 for Georgia (10-7, 4-1 Southeastern Conference).

Djurisic, a former starter who has played behind Thornton and Donte Williams this season, scored nine of Georgia’s first 11 points and didn’t miss from the field all night. Djurisic made each of his six shots from the field, including three 3-pointers.

“I had a good feeling,” said Djurisic, who added he has accepted his role off the bench.

“It’s something I’ve accepted the whole season,” he said. “Some scoring from the bench is what the team needs and I’ve adjusted pretty well.”

South Carolina (7-11, 0-5 SEC) has lost its first five conference games for the first time since a 0-6 start in the 1998-99 season.

Coach Frank Martin said his South Carolina players were flat on defense from the start.

“We had no life,” Martin said. “We couldn’t guard them from the jump ball. We tried every defense we have, and that was our concern going into the game. Georgia just really attacks you and they drive you and we couldn’t keep the ball in front of us.”

Added Martin: “It’s hard to win if you can’t guard the basketball.”

Freshman Sindarius Thornwell led South Carolina with a career-high 26 points. Brenton Williams had 18 and Duane Notice added 14.

The Gamecocks are 0-6 on the road.

South Carolina’s starting forwards Demetrius Henry and Michael Carrera combined for one point while missing each of their eight shots from the field.

Georgia took a 39-27 advantage in rebounds.

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