Nov. 26, 2011
LAS VEGAS – The South Carolina men’s basketball team (2-4) suffered a 63-60 loss to Southern California (3-4) in the final round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris led the Gamecocks with a season high 15 points, while the Trojans were paced by sophomore guard Maurice Jones with a game high 28 points.
Led by Harris’ 15, three Gamecocks registered double-digit points, as senior forward Malik Cooke added 10 and sophomore guard Brian Richardson contributed a season high 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Harris collected a team high six rebounds. The Gamecocks were out-rebounded in the contest for the first time this season.
Jones led all scorers with 28 points, hitting a perfect 7-of-7 from beyond the arc, while adding two layups and three from the foul line. He played 39 minutes in the contest. Sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon chipped in 15 points and junior forward Aaron Fuller led the Trojans with 10 rebounds.
A Richardson 3 gave South Carolina a 26-23 upperhand with just under four minutes remaining in the first half, but the Trojans would connect on three layups before halftime to hold a 30-26 advantage at the break.
Back-to-back layups by Harris and Cooke to open the second half knotted the score at 30-30 with 18:48 remaining.
The teams would trade baskets through the middle of the half, with neither team holding more than a five-point advantage. A 3 by Cooke with 8:39 remaining gave the Gamecocks a 48-44 edge, but Jones would bury three 3s over the next five minutes to give Southern California a 58-53 lead with 3:09 remaining.
The score stayed close during the final minutes of play. The Gamecocks found themselves down three with 43 seconds to go, but another clutch jumper by Cooke would pull Carolina within one at 60-61 with 33 seconds remaining.
A Gamecock foul would give Jones a one-and-one opportunity with 25 seconds to go. Jones scored both at the line and the Gamecocks were unable to connect on a 3 late in the set, as Southern California won 63-60.
South Carolina returns home to host Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge next Thursday, Dec. 1, at Colonial Life Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m. with the contest to be televised on ESPNU.