Jan. 13, 2015
Final Stats | Quotes | Photo Gallery
|SCORE BY PERIODS|
|Alabama (12-4, 2-1 SEC)||25||41||66|
|South Carolina (10-5, 1-2 SEC)||30||38||68|
|Michael Carrera & Tyrone Johnson|
COLUMBIA, S.C. – It would take all 40 minutes to decide, but the Gamecocks would earn their first SEC win of the season Tuesday night, beating Alabama 68-66. A shooting slump to start and end the game would be overcome to move Carolina to 10-5 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, while the Crimson Tide (12-4, 2-1) lost for just the first time in the conference season and saw a five-game win streak come to an end.
The Crimson Tide started the game on a 9-0 run as Carolina would miss on its first six field goal attempts. The offensive troubles were only made worse after leading scorer Duane Notice exited with his second foul of the half with 15:21 still to play. Rather than fold, though, the Gamecocks would rally back and went on a 12-2 run over the next 5:34 to turn the deficit into a 12-11 advantage.
The scoring was balanced throughout the half, as eight different players scored at least two points, and it wasn’t until a Mindaugas Kacinas layup with 6:12 to go that a Gamecock player had more than one field goal made.
A corner 3-pointer from Michael Carrera keyed a separation late in the half, as it gave the team its first two-possession lead of the night at 21-17. It was the beginning of a 10-2 run that led to the biggest lead of the half, 28-19. After 16 minutes of tough defense on both ends, the final stretch would be highlighted by offense. The Gamecocks hit five of its last six attempts before the final horn, and Alabama made three straight that included an end-to-end layup before the horn.
The Gamecocks took a 30-25 lead into the break, led by six points from Laimonas Chatkevicius and five apiece from Carrera and Kacinas. That trio also keyed a renewed effort on the glass for Carolina. After two straight games being outrebounded, the Gamecocks held an 18-10 lead after 20 minutes.
The return of Notice in the second half would be felt immediately, as the sophomore scored the game’s first six points to put Carolina ahead by double figures. The pace amped up as both sides tried to avoid effective half-court defenses, and the Gamecocks would take advantage. They would make more field goals than Alabama even attempted through the first nine minutes of the half.
Alabama’s Ricky Tarrant made sure the Tide would not fall out of the game, scoring six points on his own over a 40-second stretch to cut Carolina’s lead to 50-43 with 10:43 to play. While the Tide did not get as many attempts as the home side, it would be efficient, making 8-of-15 overall through the first 13 minutes.
The Tide would chip into what was a 13-point lead for the Gamecocks, and after a pair of free throws they would trail just 54-49. A pair of tough baskets would slow the rally down, with Tyrone Johnson and Demetrius Henry each getting fouled on made baskets in the paint.
A shooting slump would come at an inopportune time for Carolina, but a solid night at the free throw line would carry them. It would come up empty on eight straight attempts from the 6:31 mark until the final buzzer, but six makes from the charity stripe would make up the difference and led 68-66 with 30 seconds to play.
Up a basket with the ball, the Gamecocks would miss and leave the Tide 25 second to come up with the potential game-tying basket. They would instead hold for the win, attempting a 3-pointer at the buzzer that caught the back of the iron.
Despite going without a field goal for the final 6:31 of the game, the Gamecocks hit 6-of-8 free throws in that shooting slump to hold on for the win. Five of those makes came from Michael Carrera.
KEY STAT The Gamecocks scored 21 second-chance points on the night, the most it has scored all season. The previous high was 17 on two separate occasions. Mindaugas Kacinas led the team with five offensive rebounds and Michael Carrera had four, both coming off the bench to do so.
- The Carolina bench outscored its Alabama counterparts 27-16. The +11 margin is the largest in any game since a +23 performance in the win over Cornell.
- There was a combined 54 fouls called in the game. The 27 fouls on the Gamecocks were the second-most all season and the 27 from Alabama were the most committed against the Gamecocks all season.
- Laimonas Chatkevicius scored his 400th career point in the second half of the win. He is the fourth player to reach that milestone so far this season.
- Michael Carrera’s game-high eight rebounds matched a season high. He also set a new season-high in points (12) and free throws made (7).
- The win over Alabama is the third this season over a team currently in the NCAA Top 40 for RPI. The Tide came into tonight ranked 33rd, Iowa State is 21st and Oklahoma State is 27th.
QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
I’m real proud of our guys. Alabama is a real good basketball team, our fight today, we didn’t play great. Our ball screen defense has slipped in the last ten days and I’ve got to get that right again. We’ve done it well before, we’ve got to fix it again. But real proud of our guys.
The Gamecocks will end the Iron Bowl tour this weekend as it travels to Auburn to face the Tigers. Carolina earned a 74-56 win over Auburn in the opening round of the SEC tournament last season, a win that snapped a five-game losing streak in the series.
TWEETS OF THE GAME
Carrera played awesome tonight. Love the way he battles. #Gamecocks
— Lindsey (@lindsynthesis) January 14, 2015
Thank you students for your support @CLAmktg for @GamecockMBB tonight! #Gamecocks pic.twitter.com/icUw7OLWWL
— Gamecock Rewards (@GamecockRewards) January 14, 2015