Jan. 28, 2017
COLUMBIA, Mo. — No. 23/24 South Carolina (17-4, 7-1 SEC) picked up its third road win in SEC play after downing Missouri (5-15, 0-8 SEC), 63-53, Saturday night. The Gamecocks are now tied atop the conference standings with No. 4 Kentucky (17-4, 7-1 SEC). Senior Sindarius Thornwell recorded his ninth career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the team. The 11 rebounds matched a career-high.
Carolina fell behind 7-0 after starting 0-for-5 from the field. The Gamecocks clawed back into the game with a 10-2 run, capped by a corner 3 by senior Justin McKie with 11:33 remaining in the first half. The long-ball just after the second media timeout gave Carolina its first lead of the game, 10-9.
The teams exchanged hoops the next several minutes, as the physical game remained tight with the score knotted up 19-19 at the final media timeout of the first half with 3:15 to go.
After trailing 22-21 with 1:11 to go, the Gamecocks ended the first half on a 5-0 run. Freshman Rakym Felder hit his third 3-pointer of the half to put Carolina ahead 24-22 with 51 seconds on the clock.
On the opening half’s final possession, TeMarcus Blanton missed a decent look from behind the arc. Freshman Hassani Gravett was able to corral the offensive board and hit a fade away jumper from the left baseline with three seconds left to give the Gamecocks some momentum heading into the locker room, up 26-22 at the break.
Both teams were unable to find their stroke offensively in the first half. South Carolina was 10-for-27 (37 percent) from the field and the Tigers were 7-for-21 (33 percent) from the floor. There was 20 combined turnovers, as each team had 10. The Gamecocks made five 3s and outscored Missouri’s bench 19-0. Felder led all scorers at the break with 12 (4-for-7), marking his sixth time this season in double-figures.
Just before the first media timeout of the second half, Thornwell found fellow senior Duane Notice spotting up behind the arc in transition. Notice knocked down the shot to put Carolina up by seven, 31-24, with 15:38 to go. Thornwell then scored five-straight to put the Gamecocks ahead by double-digits for the first time, 38-28, with 12:56 to play.
Back-to-back 3s for South Carolina by Notice and sophomore PJ Dozier gave the Gamecocks their biggest lead of the game, 46-33, with 10:10 remaining. The lead remained 13, 48-35, at the under eight media timeout with 7:49 to go.
The Tigers cut the lead to seven, but Notice knocked down his third 3 of the game to put the lead back to 10. Missouri answered on the other end with a bucket to make it 56-48 at the final media timeout with 3:18 to go. The Tigers would come within seven once more down the stretch as Carolina held on for the 63-53 victory.
Thornwell was perfect from the free throw line for the second-straight game, as he finished 7-for-7. The team shot 14-for-19 (74 percent) at the charity stripe overall Saturday night. Felder was the only other Gamecock to join Thornwell in double-figures with 13.
South Carolina, who came into the game leading the nation in 3-point defense, held Missouri to 1-for-17 (6 percent) from behind the arc. The Gamecocks went 9-for-25 (36 percent) from deep.
- With his 116th career start tonight, Thornwell is now tied with BJ McKie (1996-99) and Melvin Watson (1995-98) for the most starts in program history.
- Thornwell is 26-for-27 (96 percent) from the free throw line in the team’s last three games.
- Felder and Notice combined for six of the team’s nine 3-pointers.
- Tonight’s win was Carolina’s first ever at Mizzou Arena.
- The Gamecocks have now held 10 opponents to 60 points or less this season.
- South Carolina improved to 14-1 this season when leading at halftime.
South Carolina concludes its two-game road stretch at LSU next Wednesday, Feb. 1. The matchup will be televised on the SEC Network with Tom Hart (pxp) and Daymeon Fishback (analyst) on the call. The meeting marks the first in Baton Rouge since the 2015 SEC season.
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