Dec. 30, 2016
MEMPHIS, TENN. — The South Carolina men’s basketball team dropped a 70-54 decision at Memphis (10-4) Friday night in its final game of 2016. Three Gamecocks reached double figures in scoring, but a season-low shooting percentage and a season-high 30 fouls stunted the offense. PJ Dozier led the team with 13 points in 24 minutes of action.
Both teams battled self-inflicted woes in the opening 10 minutes of the game, as South Carolina (10-3) shot well from the field but were held back by foul troubles and nine turnovers, and Memphis hit just four of its first 17 attempts. A jumper by PJ Dozier made it 15-12 in the Gamecocks’ favor with 11:23 to play, but the Tigers countered with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes for their first lead of the night. Following the Dozier basket, Carolina ended the half just 3-of-14 from then on, but took advantage of a Memphis scoring spell late in the period to cut what once was a 10-point deficit down to five points at the buzzer.
Memphis took a 33-28 lead into the break, powered by 11 points from Markel Crawford. The guard accounted for almost half of his team’s total field goals (five out of 11), as the Tigers shot 39 percent from the floor but made up for that with 10 free throws. South Carolina was led by six points from Chris Silva and five points from Hassani Gravett and Dozier, but were unable to keep a consistent lineup on the floor thanks to 13 team fouls that saddled four different players with two fouls in the period.
The Gamecocks were able to trim the lead back to one possession, 39-38, eight minutes in to the second half thanks to a 7-1 run. Memphis struck back with an 11-3 run over the next three minutes to ward off the Gamecock momentum, using five straight missed field goals from South Carolina to maintain the lead.
Foul trouble started to weight heavily on the Gamecocks as the final period wore on. Leading rebounder Chris Silva picked up his fifth foul with six minutes to go, and leading scorer Dozier took a seat as well just two minutes later. The Tigers pulled away late from the free throw line and took its largest lead of the game to the final buzzer, 70-54.
Memphis finished the game with 29 made free throws, 14 more than South Carolina attempted for the night. Both the free throws made and attempted (37) are a season high for a Gamecocks’ opponent.
- The Gamecocks were whistled for 30 fouls, six more than the previous high for this season (24 vs. Michigan).
- With his 13 points, PJ Dozier led the Gamecocks in scoring for the fourth time in the last five games and now has scored in double digits for eight straight games.
- Memphis outscored South Carolina 32-14 in the paint. It was just the second time all season that the Gamecocks were bested inside, the last coming against Monmouth.
South Carolina begins SEC play when it travels to face Georgia next Wednesday in Athens. at game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Carolina returns to Columbia the following Saturday for a matchup with Texas A&M. Tip time will be either 1:30 or 4:30 on CBS vs. the Aggies.