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March 12, 2015

Final Stats | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

Team 1st 2nd Total
Missouri (9-23, 3-15 SEC) 24 30 54
South Carolina (16-15, 6-12 SEC) 30 33 66
Sindarius Thornwell, Michael Carrera and Coach Martin
Missouri Post-Game Press Conference
Bonus Highlights

NASHVILLE, TENN. – The Gamecock men’s basketball team weathered its first test of postseason play late Wednesday night, holding off Missouri for a 63-54 win in the first round of the SEC tournament. Though it would lead by as much as 13 in the game, Carolina needed a stout defense in the final five minutes to seal the win and move to 16-15 overall this season The Tigers see their season end with a record of 9-23.

Carolina allowed Missouri to score on its first possession of the game before reeling off the next seven points to begin a lead that would carry for the rest of the half. The Tigers missed the next five shots from the field before hitting a second field goal at the 16-minute mark, then went 0-of-5 again in another four minute span.

A quick 7-2 burst from Mizzou drew it within one possession of the Gamecocks, 17-14, before an 8-0 run by Carolina put the lead back to double digits, highlighted by an and-one layup from Duane Notice and Marcus Stroman hitting all three free throws after being fouled from deep. The first half lead would go as high as 13, 30-17, in favor of the Gamecocks before Missouri ended the half on a 7-0 run. Four Carolina players scored five points or more in the half, led by Michael Carrera’s seven.

The strong end to the first half sparked the 14th-seeded Tigers, who played a similar game at Colonial Life Arena just a month ago in a 65-60 loss. It would apply constant pressure to the Carolina lead early on in the second half, cutting it to 35-32 and forcing out Carrera with foul trouble less than four minutes in.

Every scoring spurt from the Gamecocks would be answered, as the lead would wax and wane from as high as nine points to as low as two with under seven minutes to go in the game. Carrera would re-enter the game after missing eight minutes, and made an instant impact with a key steal and, later, a basket to put Carolina back up by four after Missouri had cut it to 52-50.

That basket by Carrera keyed a quick but important hot streak for the Gamecocks, who made baskets on three straight possessions to extend the lead back out to 59-51 before the under-four media timeout. After it cut the lead to one possession with 6:42 to play, Missouri went without a field goal until a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to play to make a 63-54 final.

Sindarius Thornwell would save one of his best performances of the 2014-15 season for postseason play, leading all scorers with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Four of those makes came from 3-point range, and he added six assists. Of his total, 12 points came in the second half, where he played every minute. Carrera also finished with double digits in scoring, posting 12 points and six assists as he continues his strong month of March.


After Missouri cut the lead to one possession, 52-50 with just 6:42 remaining, three straight field goals coming from Michael Carrera, Tyrone Johnson and Sindarius Thornwell helped squash the comeback attempt. The defense also held the Tigers without a field goal until eight seconds remained in the game.

KEY STAT Despite a close margin in turnovers (Missouri 16, Carolina 11), the Gamecocks outscored the Tigers in points off turnovers by 14, 20-6. It was the second-widest margin all season for Carolina, second only to a +21 performance in a win at home over Georgia.


  • The 16 wins this season are the most since winning 21 in the 2008-09 campaign.
  • This is the team’s first-ever SEC tournament win at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. It was also the first tournament meeting between the two schools. Only two schools remain that the Gamecocks have not faced in tournament play (Texas A&M, Vanderbilt).
  • Missouri owned a 36-26 advantage in rebounds, 15-7 in offensive rebounds alone. The disparity in offensive rebounds is the largest Carolina has seen all season, and it is the team’s fourth win of the year when being out-rebounded overall.
  • The 18 points for Sindarius Thornwell are the most by the sophomore since scoring 20 at Kentucky on Feb. 14. He has led the team in scoring ten times this season.
  • Michael Carrera has come in to the month of March like a lion. The junior forward is averaging 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in three games so far and has as more double-digit scoring games (4) since Feb. 21 than he had in the previous 26 contests.
  • UP NEXT The Gamecocks advance to the second round and will face No. 6 seed Ole Miss Thursday night. The game will begin at the conclusion of the 7 p.m. EST game between Tennessee and Vanderbilt and will air on the SEC Network. In the previous meeting this season, the Rebels won at home, 65-49, behind 20 points from Jarvis Summers. Carolina was tied at 33 early in the second half, but multiple scoring slumps slowed the comeback attempt in the loss.