Gamecocks Fall in Regular Season Finale at Kentucky, 92-64
Jalyn McCreay scored a career-high 14 points off the bench for South Carolina
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Davion Mintz and Brandon Boston Jr. both set career bests with six 3-pointers apiece and Kentucky beat South Carolina 92-64 on Saturday in a regular-season finale.
Mintz finished with 20 points and seven assists with five of his 3s coming in the opening five minutes of the second half, including three straight to boost the Wildcats (9-15, 8-9 Southeastern Conference) to a 19-point lead, 55-36. Boston scored 21 points. Olivier Sarr added 15 points and Isaiah Jackson 13 points with 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.
Kentucky, which finished with its first losing record in the SEC since 1989, will open conference tournament play on Thursday. It’s the first time Kentucky hasn’t had a double bye since the tournament expanded in 2013. The Wildcats would need an amazing run in the conference and NCAA tournaments to avoid their first overall losing record since going 3-13 in 1926-27.
Kentucky outscored the Gamecocks 16-6 over the final nine minutes of the first half with Sarr scoring six points during the run. Boston had a trio of 3-pointers and 12 points in the half and Sarr 11. Kentucky scored nine points off turnovers and didn’t give up any itself on its way to a 36-28 halftime lead.
The 28-point win was the largest margin of victory for the Wildcats since a 36-point triumph over Morehead State in their season opener.
Keyshawn Bryant scored 16 points and Jalyn McCreary 14 points for the Gamecocks (6-14, 4-12), who haven’t won at Rupp Arena since 2009. Leading scorer AJ Lawson (18.1 ppg), scored six points on 2-of-10 shooting. Third-leading scorer Jermaine Couisnard missed the game with a rib injury suffered in practice.
This game was previously scheduled to be the SEC opener for both teams on Dec. 29 but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues at South Carolina.
> Kentucky made 13 3s as the Gamecocks were just 2-for-17 (12 percent) from behind the arc. The Wildcats were also plus-10 on the glass, 46-36.
> Sophomore forward Jalyn McCreary scored a career-high 14 points off the bench in just 14 minutes of action. He was 6-for-9 from the floor and it marked his second-straight game in double figures (fourth career).
> Junior wing Keyshawn Bryant had a team-high 16 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes.
South Carolina travels to Nashville for the 2021 SEC Tournament next week at Bridgestone Arena. The final bracket will be revealed tonight with the conclusion of this weekend’s games.