Taking advantage of frequent Missouri fouls and turnovers, South Carolina won its fourth straight game and improved to 3-0 in the SEC on Sunday with an 85-75 win at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.
Five players reached double figures for the Gamecocks (8-7), led by 15 points from Keyshawn Bryant. Chris Silva scored 14, while Felipe Haase added 14 points off the bench. Hassani Gravett kicked in 12, all at the foul line, and A.J. Lawson tallied 11 points.
Freshman guard Javon Pickett scored a game-high 21 points for the Tigers (9-5, 0-2), going 7 of 11 from the field. Mark Smith added 14 and Jordan Geist contributed 14 points, plus five assists.
But Missouri often acted as its worst enemy in a game delayed a day after it wasn’t able to get out of Columbia, Mo. on Friday due to Winter Storm Gia. The Tigers committed 20 turnovers that South
Carolina cashed in for a whopping 33 points, and also fouled 26 times. The Gamecocks sank 29 of 35 at the line.
Missouri got just 13 minutes out of 6-10 center Jeremiah Tilmon, its third leading scorer at 10.2 point per game, before he fouled out on an offensive foul with 12:55 left in the game. The Tigers were also outscored 33-13 off the bench and allowed South Carolina to make 51 percent of its field goal tries.
Pickett drained a 3-pointer with 3:13 left in the game that pulled Missouri within 73-70, but the Gamecocks answered with consecutive 3-balls from Haase and Lawson for a nine-point lead with 2:06 left. They sank six straight free throws to put the game away.
South Carolina took the lead for good on two free throws by Haase with 8:43 left in the first half. That started a 12-0 run that Silva capped with two more foul shots with 3:45 remaining, giving it a 33-22 lead.
The Tigers made minor inroads into that margin over the half’s remainder, using a Geist jumper with 10 seconds on the clock to make it 42-36 at intermission.
—Field Level Media