No overtime was needed this go around.
After Tuesday’s historic win over No. 6 Kentucky, South Carolina had to follow up its win and face Missouri. It was the first time this year USC was facing a repeat opponent. South Carolina came back to force overtime and win it in Missouri just two weeks earlier, but a few quick runs and a high-scoring day Saturday from BJ Mack negated the need for extra play.
South Carolina finished its monumental week with a 72-64 win over Missouri in Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks are now 17-3 and 5-2 in conference play.
USC takes advantage
USC won the turnover battle and rebound battle, outscored the Tigers in the paint and off the bench. The final few minutes of the first half had the Gamecocks shooting 56% from the arc.
South Carolina walked into the locker room with a 10-point lead. Ta’Lon Cooper, who nailed the last USC bucket, celebrating the much-needed bucket as they trekked into the locker room. Missouri shot less than 30% from three, while USC was nearing 50%.
There were certainly some less-than-stellar moments. Missouri tried putting together a second-half comeback that gave it the lead three minutes in. Sean East II and Tamar Bates both scored double digits for the Tigers. Connor Vander, Missouri’s lone seven-foot big, led the Tigers in rebounds.
But when USC found the right play, it worked. Paris’ job was to keep the Gamecocks’ heads cool, despite the Tigers’ visible frustration creeping in.
Mack leading the way
BJ Mack has led South Carolina’s offense in SEC play, and he’s now scored 15 points in four of the last five games. Against Missouri two weeks ago, Mack scored 21 points in the overtime win. At Colonial Life Arena on Saturday, Mack scored another 20 points against the Tigers.
Mack’s sharp-shooting made him the leading scoring, with Cooper, Morris Ugusuk and Jacobi Wright all scoring double digits.
USC didn’t have Meechie Johnson’s offense working, however, as he struggled to hit any shot to fall favorably. It was the first time Johnson hasn’t scored in a game for USC, and the second time this year Missouri has held the Gamecocks’ leader to less than six points in a game.
Johnson finished the game with a plus-8 rating, despite not making any field goals, and he had two assists and a steal.
Next four games
Tuesday at No. 5 Tennessee, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Feb. 3 at Georgia, 1 p.m. (SEC Network)
Feb. 6 vs. Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Feb. 10 vs. Vanderbilt, 1 p.m. (SEC Network)