South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from demolition at the hands of Auburn Tigers

South Carolina basketball got smacked around by the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday night.

South Carolina basketball wing Myles Stute against Auburn
South Carolina basketball wing Myles Stute against Auburn / John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Down 1: Defensive Effort

One of the country's top defenses did not look like one of the country's top defenses against Auburn. The Gamecocks were slow on their rotations, kept their hands down on shot attempts, and gave up 60% shooting from the field and from behind the 3-point line.

For the first time all season, the Gamecocks lost cutters, and it happened over and over again. Auburn had 18 layups and dunk attempts, and it felt like 15 of them were wide open.

Speaking of wide open, Carolina allowed Auburn to make 12 3-pointers, 9 of them coming from Jaylin Williams and Johni Broome. The game plan seemed to be to allow those players to shoot (no one really closed out on them), and the plan didn't appear to change despite the shots falling.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Down 2: Playing into Auburn's Hands on Offense

South Carolina is at their best when they slow things down and play an under-control style of basketball. That is not what they did against Auburn.

Instead, the Gamecocks tried to match Auburn's pace (fast) and style (uber-aggressive and quick-shooting). It didn't work as USC shot 35% from the floor and 20% from outside, turned the ball over 13 times, and never looked comfortable. Carolina had just 5 assists on 18 made baskets, and most of their offense was isolation ball. All in all, except for a great night of making free throws, the Gamecocks were pathetic on offense as a team.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Down 3: Shrinking in the Face of Pressure, Crowd, and Adversity

For the first time all season, the Gamecocks looked completely unpoised. Sure, there were tough moments in the team's losses against Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia, but those games didn't look like this one.

Meechie Johnson, Collin Murray-Boyles, and (somewhat) BJ Mack looked ready for the big stage against Auburn. The rest of the team combined for 6 points on 18 shots in 123 minutes. Many of the team's turnovers came as Auburn pressured the ball near halfcourt, and they surrendered 25 points off of those turnovers

The bench scored just 1 points, pulled down just 5 rebounds, and had more fouls (9) and turnovers (4) than assists (2), steals (2), and blocks (3).

"Lack of composure" was a phrase that the broadcast crew used to describe the Gamecocks against Auburn, and it felt appropriate. The crowd clearly impacted Lamont Paris' team, and they allowed four 8-0 runs while having six 2-minute scoreless stretches.

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