This is one time I’m glad to say it: I was wrong.
I predicted time and time again that unless something crazy happened, like a super good night for the Gamecocks or a super bad one for an opponent, the men’s basketball team had a good chance of not winning another game this season.
Granted, I didn’t say I was 100% sure they’d lose the rest of their games, but I was pretty confident. It’s a good thing I don’t gamble.
Georgia isn’t exactly lighting it up this year either, so I didn’t think this game was going to be a Kentucky-style blowout or anything, but I wasn’t convinced that Carolina could pull off a win.
It became a weird game tonight by the time all was said and done, but with just over two and a half minutes left, the teams were tied at 53. This season, that’s typically meant that the Gamecocks would fail to close it out and suffer another loss. Not tonight, though. Gerald Robinson hit a 3 to put UGA on top 56-55 with 37.1 seconds left. Malik Cooke made a beautiful shot from 3-point range, too, and South Carolina took back the lead.
What happened next was the really weird part: Bruce Ellington missed the first shot of a one-and-one, the Dawgs got the ball, missed a 3-pointer, and then were awarded a jump ball. The refs spent time figuring out how much time was left on the clock, and in the end, it was .2 seconds – barely enough for last-second heroics.
Fortunately, the inbounds pass from the Bulldogs was blocked by USC and the Cocks got it done. They clung desperately to a one-point lead, but that one point was enough to earn them their second SEC victory of the season and give them a record of 10-15 overall and 2-9 in conference play. They need to win all five of the remaining regular season games to avoid a third straight losing season.
The stat that sticks out most from tonight is that the Gamecocks were 14-15 from the free thrown line, with Ellington’s late miss being the only one. Damontre Harris was superb tonight, with nine points, eight rebounds, five blocks and the tip of the inbounds pass. Guard Brenton Williams also had a great night, coming off the bench to contribute 10 points, the second highest on the team. Cooke led all Cocks with 13 points. Robinson led Georgia with 11.
When asked if there were any similarities between tonight’s game and the game against Alabama, Coach Darrin Horn had this to say:
“I think they might be the only games where we didn’t get down by double digits.”
Let’s keep that up, shall we?
The next game for USC is scheduled for Saturday against LSU (15-10, 5-6). Tip off is at 1:30 ET at the Colonial Life Arena.