South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Ole Miss win

South Carolina basketball got back to its winning ways with a road victory over Ole Miss.

South Carolina basketball big man BJ Mack
South Carolina basketball big man BJ Mack / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Thumbs Down 1: Fouls

There were some really strange calls from the officials on Saturday afternoon, including a reach-in foul on Jacobi Wright in which the Carolina guard never came within 6 inches of touching Rebel guard TJ Caldwell. However, even with the questionable whistles in mind, the Gamecocks fouled too much.

Just 10 minutes into the game, Collin Murray-Boyles (3), Zach Davis (2), and Jacobi Wright (2) were all in foul trouble, and USC finished the game with 21 calls against them despite the relatively slow pace of the game.

On closeouts, the Gamecocks fouled jump shooters four separate times, including twice on 3-point attempts. They also fouled unnecessarily at the end of the 2nd half on multiple occassions, prolonging the game. Though the fouls were almost the only issue for the Gamecocks on defense on Saturday, they will need to be a little crisper next time out on Wednesday.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Thumbs Down 2: Meechie Johnson's Scoring Drought

Meechie Johnson scored at least 11 points in 15 of the Gamecocks' first 18 games. He scored at least 24 points in 5 of those games. Since then, he has scored more than 6 points just 2 times in 8 games. He's also shooting 26% from the field in those 8 games. He's in a scoring slump.

The latest edition of the slump saw him score just 5 total points on 1-11 shooting. He hit a 3-pointer in the 1st half and made 2 free throws but did not score any other points.

To Johnson's credit, in most games during this stretch, he has helped the team in other ways (assists, rebounds, good perimeter defense, etc.), but Coach Paris will need more from the most dynamic scorer on his team moving forward if Carolina is going to have any chance of making noise this March.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Thumbs Down 3: Forcing Live-Ball Turnovers

South Carolina has not been a high-turnover defense this season. That trend continued in Oxford as they forced the Rebs to commit just 9 turnovers. Only 5 of those 9 were steals. Now, the Gamecocks were insanely efficient, scoring 12 points directly off of those turnovers. However, the low steal total paired with their usually-low block count holds back at least a couple of transition scoring opportunities per game for Lamont Paris squad (they scored just 2 fastbreak points on Saturday).

The Gamecocks' chances of winning go up if they can force more giveaways (duh), but it could also save the legs of the team a bit by allowing them to have a possession in which they don't have to defend hard for a full 30-second shot clock.