Tshiebwe, No. 5 Kentucky top South Carolina 86-76 for 20th W
COLUMBIA (AP) – Oscar Tshiebwe posted his sixth straight double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds and TyTy Washington scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half as No. 5 Kentucky beat South Carolina 86-76 on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (20-4, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) reached 20 victories in a season for the 13th time in the past 14 years. But they had to recover after squandering an 11-point lead to the Gamecocks (13-10, 4-7) early in the final 20 minutes.
Kentucky had lost its previous two games at South Carolina and when Keyshawn Bryant’s bucket tied things at 43-all with 15 minutes left, it appeared the Wildcats might have to sweat out another at Colonial Life Arena.
Instead, Kentucky went on a 15-2 burst fueled by Tshiebwe and Washington, both who played limited first-half minutes due to foul trouble.
Washington broke the tie with a bucket, added a foul shot and then a nifty pass to Keion Brooks Jr. for a dunk. The 6-foot-9 Tshiebwe added a couple of inside baskets and when Washington nailed a 3-pointer, the Wildcats were up 58-47 and cruising to their fifth straight victory – and fourth in a row in league play.
Keion Brooks Jr. had 15 points for the Wildcats. Washington had 12 of his 14 points in the second half while Kellan Grady added 12. In all, Kentucky finished with six players in double-figure scoring.
For as good as Kentucky typically is everywhere else in the SEC, it’s had its troubles at South Carolina. The last visit, it was Jermaine Couisnard’s 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded that lifted the Gamecocks to an 81-78 victory over then then-10th-ranked Wildcats.
Kentucky came out ready to put away South Carolina in the first half and led 39-28 after eight consecutive points by Jacob Toppin.
But it was gone over the next seven minutes as South Carolina put together a 15-4 run.
The Wildcats had 10 turnovers by halftime and were outscored 14-5 off of miscues early on. They tightened up in the second half with only six more turnovers.
Bryant had 18 points and 14 boards while Couisnard added 17 points for South Carolina.
Toppin, Kentucky’s reserve forward, turned his ankle late in the first half and walked awkwardly into the locker room. He did not return to the game.
> Kentucky had six players score in double figures led by Oscar Tshiebwe with 18 points.
> After Carolina tied the game at 43 with 16:04 to play, Kentucky went on a 7-0 run to regain their advantage. Then the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run to extend their lead and were up 58-47 with 11:36 remaining.
> Kentucky shared the ball effectively on Tuesday night, dishing 25 assists as a team. The Gamecocks managed 15 assists on the night.
> The Wildcats got out in transition and had a 26-17 advantage in fast break points over the Gamecocks.
> Kentucky won the battle down low, outscoring Carolina 48-36 in the paint.
> Keyshawn Bryant notched fourth career double-double and his first of the season. Bryant scored 18 points and collected 14 rebounds. His 14 rebounds set a career-best mark in rebounds.
> Bryant’s double-double is the first from a Gamecock since Dec. 14 when Brandon Martin had a double-double against Allen.
> Wildens Leveque scored a career high 16 points on Tuesday night. He went 8-for-9 from the floor for his 16 points.
> Jermaine Couisnard matched his season high in points with 17. He shot 6-for-17 from the floor and drained three 3-pointeers.
> The Gamecocks forced 16 turnovers. They have forced at least 10 turnovers in all but one game this season (8 vs. Tennessee).
> The Wildcats shot 56.7 percent from the floor. It marks the highest shooting percentage against the Gamecocks this season. Kentucky’s 34 made field goals also marks the most allowed by Carolina this season.
> The Wildcats had 25 assists on the evening. It’s the first time this season Carolina has allowed more than 20 assists and the first time since Feb. 17, 2021, that a Gamecock opponent has had 20 or more assists.
> Sahvir Wheeler assisted on 11 buckets for Kentucky. It’s the most an opponent has had against Carolina this season and the second straight game where an opposing player has had 10 or more assists.
> South Carolina has back-to-back road games at Georgia (6-17, 1-9 SEC) and Ole Miss (12-11, 3-7 SEC). Tipoff in Athens is set for 2 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. Roy Philpott (pxp) and Mark Wise (analyst) will be on-site for the SEC Network broadcast at Stegeman Coliseum.