Silva's 32 lead Gamecocks to 80-77 win over No. 16 Auburn
Carolina now 5-1 in the SEC after another top-25 win
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) –– Chris Silva had a career-high 32 points, and Felipe Haase’s 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left put South Carolina ahead for good in an 80-77 victory over No. 16 Auburn on Tuesday night.
The Gamecocks (10-8, 5-1) continued their improbable SEC run. They entered league play with a 5-7 preconference mark, but have won five of their first six, beating a pair of ranked opponents in Mississippi State and the Tigers.
The Tigers (13-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) used a late 12-0 run to wipe out South Carolina’s 71-61 lead. They were still ahead 77-75 after Jared Harper’s two foul shots with 56.3 to go. That’s when Haase nailed his long-range, go-ahead basket from the right corner.
Chuma Okeke missed a 3-pointer and Danjel Purifoy couldn’t connect on a driving basket on Auburn’s next possession before Silva came down with his 14th rebound and got fouled with 2.5 seconds to play.
Silva made both, and Auburn threw away the pass on its final possession to lose its second straight heartbreaker following an 82-80 loss to Kentucky last Saturday.
Auburn appeared to be finished after Hassani Gravett’s floater went in just as the shot clock expired for a 71-61 lead with 6:33 to go. But the explosive Tigers shot their way back in it, making five of their next six attempts in a two-minute span.
Okeke’s 3 from the left front put Auburn ahead 73-71 with 4:01 remaining, capping a 12-0 surge.
Silva bettered his previous high of 27 points, accomplished twice against Kentucky. He made 11 of 12 shots and 10 of 11 free throws, and had four of South Carolina’s eight blocks.
Brown and Harper scored 17 points each for Auburn.
Silva got the Gamecocks going early on both ends of the court. He scored the first four points and had two early blocks. When Hassani Gravett hit two straight 3-pointers and Haase made an open jumper, South Carolina was ahead 25-14 with 9:20 left in the half and Auburn hurting from cold shooting and foul trouble.
Auburn rallied when Brown heated up. After missing his first three shots, Brown scored 10 points as the Tigers closed the half on a 24-12 run.
> South Carolina held Auburn’s potent offense with no field goals for the final 4:01.
> The Tigers came into tonight’s contest leading the SEC (fifth in the nation) in 3-point field goals per game with 11.1 – tonight the Gamecocks held them to 7-for-25 (28%) from behind the arc.
> Senior Chris Silva had a night to remember with career-highs in points (32), rebounds (14) and field goals (11). He was also 10-for-11 from the free throw line and had four blocks.
> The Libreville, Gabon, native, became the first Gamecock to score 30 or more in a game since Sindarius Thornwell had 44 against Alabama on February 7, 2017.
> Per the SEC Network following tonight’s win, Silva is just the second player in any conference in the last 20 seasons to have 30 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks on 90 percent shooting in a game – he was 11-for-12 from the field
> Senior guard Hassani Gravett has now connected on a trio of 3s in each of the past three games. He has hit 9-of-16 (56%) from behind the arc during the stretch. The Villa Rica, Ga., native, also had a team-high six assists.
> Junior forward Maik Kotsar was efficient in 25 minutes, finishing with nine points (4-for-8 FG), five rebounds and two blocks.
> Sophomore big man Felipe Haase had nine points, six rebounds and three assists. He made the game-winning 3 – his only attempt from deep – in the corner with 31 seconds left.
> Tonight marked head coach Frank Martin’s 123rd victory as head coach at South Carolina. He is now tied for the fourth most wins by a head coach in program history with Eddie Fogler.
Carolina travels to face Oklahoma State on Saturday for the Big 12/SEC Challenge in Stillwater at historic Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys are coached by Gamecock great, Mike Boynton Jr. Tip time for the matchup is set for 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU with Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Robbie Hummel (analyst) on the call.