South Carolina Falls Late to Alabama, 68-62
Chris Silva finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the 2018-19 season
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Kira Lewis Jr. had 17 points including the go-ahead foul shots with 3:34 to play as Alabama lost a double-digit lead before rallying late to beat South Carolina 68-62 on Tuesday night.
The Crimson Tide (17-11, 8-7 Southeastern Conference) looked to have an easy one after opening a 28-15 lead. But the Gamecocks (14-14, 9-6) came all the way back and were up 54-49 after Tre Campbell’s 3-pointer with 7:15 to go.
That’s when Alabama found its touch in a 14-3 run over the next five minutes to take control.
South Carolina’s last lead came on Chris Silva’s foul shot with 3:53 to go. Lewis, though, followed that next time down with a pair of free throws to put the Crimson Tide ahead for good.
Donta Hall had 15 points and 10 rebounds as Alabama won its second straight after three consecutive defeats as it fights for that fourth seed in the jumbled SEC standings that would bring two days off before starting league tournament play.
Riley Norris had 11 points, all in the second half as the Crimson Tide won its fourth straight over the Gamecocks.
Silva led South Carolina with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
South Carolina didn’t look like a team that had risen to fourth in the stacked SEC, missing 14 straight shots at one point to fall behind 28-15. Alabama, though, has struggled to score at times this season and that kept things tighter than it should’ve been given the Gamecocks inability to make shots in the first half.
When South Carolina hit three straight shots, the Crimson Tide were up just 29-25 with 10 seconds left in the half. Lewis, though, took an inbounds pass and raced the length of the court for an easy jumper as time ran out.
Lewis was about the only player the first 20 minutes who managed to score. He had 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
South Carolina’s frustrations were evident. Hassani Gravett was just 1 of 8 the first half and Keyshawn Bryant was 1 of 6. Even Silva, typically reliable down low, missed several easy chances early on.
The Gamecocks finished shooting just 30.8 percent for the game including going 4 of 19 from behind the arc.
> South Carolina finished the game 1-for-8 from the field after it was tied, 56-56, with 5:12 to go.
> Alabama was 14-of-22 at the charity stripe, making 12 of its 15 foul shot attempts in the second half.
> Senior Chris Silva had 23 points and 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double (24th career) of the 2018-19 season.
> Silva was 11-of-13 at the foul line, his fourth game this season with 10 or more free throw makes. Tonight marks the ninth time in his career to accomplish the feat (had five games with 10-plus free throws last season).
> Redshirt senior guard Hassani Gravett had 12 points in 31 minutes off the bench. Prior to tonight’s contest, Carolina was 8-1 in league play when he scored in double-figures.
> Standout freshman A.J. Lawson left the game in the second half with an injury and did not return. He scored nine points and dished out five assists vs. the Crimson Tide.
> The Gamecocks were just 4-for-19 from 3 after coming into tonight T-3rd with Florida for made 3s in league action (118).
South Carolina hits the road for back-to-back SEC games, first at Missouri this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Kevin Fitzgerald (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network. The Gamecocks then have a quick turnaround, traveling to College Station for a Tuesday matchup against Texas A&M.