South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Tennessee loss

South Carolina basketball fell to the Tennessee Volunteers after a fierce late-game comeback attempt.

South Carolina basketball wing Zach Davis defending Tennessee's Dalton Knecht
South Carolina basketball wing Zach Davis defending Tennessee's Dalton Knecht / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has led his Gamecocks to the best turnaround in college basketball, and Wednesday's loss to Tennessee doesn't diminish that.

Carolina trailed by as many as 14 points in the 2nd half but rallied to cut the deficit to just 3 points. In the end, Tennessee was too good to beat in a game in which the Gamecocks played far from their best.

The 1st half saw USC play strong defense until a late run from the Vols. Unfortunately, poor shot selection doomed the offense early as the Gamecocks shot 4-17 from outside as they settled for long perimeter jumpers, sometimes early in the shot clock.

An 11-point halftime deficit came about thanks to a 11-2 run by the Vols to end the 1st half. Dalton Knecht got loose around some screens, and as Coach Paris put it in his postgame comments, the Gamecock defenders "didn't chase well enough."

After halftime, Tennessee stayed comfortably ahead for most of the final 20 minutes (ahead anywhere from 6 points to 14 points until the last 2 minutes). Meechie Johnson, Ta'Lon Cooper, and Collin Murray-Boyles scored 21 of South Carolina's final 25 points as they led a fierce comeback. The margin was pushed all the way down to just 3 points, but Tennessee held on for what was the clincher for the Volunteers to win the SEC regular season championship.

Final. 66. 534. South Carolina Basketball vs. Tennessee Volunteers. 59. 533