COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Kenny George's dunk with 26.8 seconds left gave North Carolina-Asheville the lead for good as the Bulldogs scored the final 10 points to defeat South Carolina 61-58 Saturday night.
George, who at 7-foot-7, 360 pounds is the nation's tallest player, gave the Bulldogs a 59-58 lead. After Devan Downey missed a 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left, Bryan Smithson, an 81.8 percent foul shooter, hit two free throws to increase the lead to 61-58.Downey's desperation 3-pointer from just inside half court at the buzzer missed everything as the Gamecocks fell to 8-6 while the Bulldogs ran their record to 11-3 with only their second win in nine games against South Carolina.George, who doesn't start, led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 13 rebounds while K.J. Garland added 15. South Carolina was led by Downey with 18 while Zam Fredrick added 14.South Carolina extended its four-point halftime lead to 37-31 three minutes into the second half but back-to-back 3-pointers by Sean Smith and Garland tied it.Neither team led by more than three until Downey's 3-pointer gave the Gamecocks a 53-49 lead with 5:30 left. George sliced the lead in half with a hook shot.But Fredrick hit a 3-pointer and 6-7 Mike Holmes, who didn't play in South Carolina's last game because of poor practices, got inside George for a follow to give the Gamecocks their biggest lead at 58-51 with 3:57 left.From there, however, South Carolina went 0-for-5 from the field along with back-to-back turnovers in the final 1:26 while the Bulldogs scored on their final five possessions.Dominique Archie's 3-pointer -- only his second in his last 10 attempts over the past nine games -- with just nine seconds left in the half helped give South Carolina a 33-29 lead at the break. Neither team led by more than six in the first 20 minutes.The Bulldogs led 18-12 on a jumper by Garland, who had 10 points in the first half while South Carolina's biggest lead came at the half after shooting 53.6 percent. UNC-Asheville shot 38.2 percent.South Carolina shot 26.5 percent in the second half to finish at 38.7 percent while the Bulldogs hit 48.1 percent in the final 20 minutes to finish at 42.6 percent.