Senior center Maik Kotsar scored a team-high 20 points as the host South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs 83-71 in a Southeastern Conference game on Tuesday night at Columbia, S.C.
Redshirt freshman point guard Jermaine Couisnard added eight points, a game-high 10 assists and no turnovers for South Carolina (18-12, 10-7). South Carolina’s Keyshawn Bryant and A.J. Lawson also scored in double figures, with 12 points each.
It was “senior night” for the Gamecocks, making it appropriate that Kotsar had a big performance. Kotsar last week became the 46th player in South Carolina to reach 1,000 career points. He is averaging 20.5 points in four career games against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State (19-11, 10-7) started the night in fourth place in the SEC but is now tied with South Carolina. The top four seeds earn double-byes in next week’s SEC Tournament.
The Bulldogs, who had their two-game win streak snapped, were led inside by 6-10 sophomore forward Reggie Perry, who had 17 points and a game-high 16 rebounds; and outside by senior guard Tyson Carter, who had a game-high 24 points off the bench on 4-for-5 shooting on three-pointers. Sophomore guard Robert Woodard added 11 points for Mississippi State.
The first half was a wild ride. The Bulldogs led 11-5 when the Gamecocks put together a 20-0 run. But the Bulldogs closed the half on a 25-9 spree, cutting their deficit to 40-38 at the break.
Mississippi State made up nearly all of the 18-point lead South Carolina once enjoyed by getting to the foul line. Mississippi State made 16-of-18 free throws in the first half. South Carolina made 7-of-9.
“All we did was foul,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said when he was interviewed at halftime by the SEC Network. “We gave up dunk after dunk after dunk (during Mississippi State’s run). It was embarrassing.”
The Gamecocks came out with more purpose in the second half, controlling the final 20 minutes.
For the game, the Gamecocks were plus-seven on turnovers and held Mississippi State to just 39.3-percent shooting from the floor.
—Field Level Media