January 16, 2020 / 2:21 AM / 14 days ago

South Carolina banks in game-winner vs. No. 10 Kentucky

EditorsNote: Adds SEC reference in lede, edits throughout

Jan 15, 2020; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Keyshawn Bryant (24) celebrates a dunk over Kentucky Wildcats forward EJ Montgomery (23) in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt freshman guard Jermaine Couisnard made the most of his first start, banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a career-high 26 points as South Carolina rallied for an 81-78 victory over No. 10 Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference game Wednesday night in Columbia, S.C.

Forward Keyshawn Bryant scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half as the Gamecocks (9-7, 1-2 SEC) outscored the Wildcats 56-45 in the half and 13-10 over the last 4:27.

Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley, whose baseline jumper tied the score at 78 with 4.1 seconds left, scored 20 points to lead the Wildcats (12-4, 3-1). Forward Nick Richards scored 15 points despite playing only 24 minutes because of foul trouble. The loss snapped Kentucky’s four-game winning streak.

The Wildcats build a 14-point lead early in the second half and were still up by 13 points, 54-41, before the Gamecocks went on a 9-0 run, capped by Couisnard’s 3-pointer with 10:35 remaining.

Tyrese Maxey’s back-to-back 3-pointers about five minutes later gave the Wildcats some relief, but the Gamecocks caught up at 68-68 on Couisnard’s driving layup with 4:25 left.

Justin Minaya’s five quick points — including a 3-pointer — gave South Carolina a 73-70 lead with 3:15 remaining. AJ Lawson followed with his first basket of the night to make it 75-70 at the 2:25 mark.

Lawson, who entered the game with a team-best 14.5-point scoring average, scored only five points for South Carolina, and top rebounder Maik Kotsar was hampered by foul issues and was scoreless with just four rebounds in 12 minutes.

The Gamecocks survived ongoing woes from the free-throw line, making only 16 of 30 shots.

The Gamecocks dug themselves an early hole by missing their first 10 shots. But they trailed only 8-4 after Bryant’s dunk as the Wildcats made just 3 of their first 9 shots. Kentucky led 33-25 at the half.

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