December 22, 2019 / 10:22 PM / a month ago

South Carolina solves No. 9 Virginia's defense in upset

Jair Bolden scored a season-high 22 points and South Carolina snapped No. 9 Virginia’s 22-game home nonconference winning streak with a 70-59 victory on Sunday in Charlottesville, Va.

Dec 22, 2019; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Justin Minaya (10) dribbles the ball as Virginia Cavaliers forward Mamadi Diakite (25) defends during the first half at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Lawson had 14 points, Justin Minaya scored 12 and Keyshawn Bryant added 10 for the Gamecocks (8-4), who have won four of their last five games.

The Cavaliers (9-2) had not lost a non-ACC game at John Paul Jones Arena in more than three years, going back to a 66-57 setback against West Virginia on Dec. 3, 2016.

Senior forward Mamadi Diakite had a career-high 21 points to lead Virginia, who committed a season-high 19 turnovers and surrendered a season high in points. Kihei Clark had nine points, seven assists and seven turnovers.

South Carolina shot 55.1 percent (27 of 49) and tallied 14 steals. Bolden was 8 of 13 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.

With 15:42 left in the game, the Gamecocks matched their largest lead at 42-29 on a layup by Bryant.

The Cavaliers clawed back in it with a 16-3 run, tying the score at 45-45 on Braxton Key’s free throw with 11:09 to play.

The Gamecocks later regained control with a 12-2 run, seizing a 63-52 lead with 4:28 to play on Lawson’s layup.

South Carolina came out firing against a Virginia team that entered the game leading the nation in scoring defense (44.2 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (32.1). The Gamecocks shot 56.0 percent in the first half and held a 33-24 advantage at the intermission.

Bolden knocked down his first five field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, to push South Carolina to a 25-13 lead with 8:36 remaining in the first half.

Bolden’s jumper with 3:39 left gave him 15 first-half points and gave the Gamecocks their largest lead of the half at 31-18.

Diakite scored 10 points in the opening half to pace Virginia, whose last lead was at 3-2. The Cavaliers hurt themselves with uncharacteristically careless play, with 12 first-half turnovers leading to 12 points for South Carolina.

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