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 vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Thumbs Up 1: No Quit

Frankly, the Gamecocks didn't play particularly well against Tennessee. However, because USC's style of play made Tennessee uncomfortable and because Caroline never quit, they were never out of it.

Despite being down by 14 in the 2nd half, Lamont Paris' team cut the lead to 3 points. Meechie Johnson, Ta'Lon Cooper, and Collin Murray-Boyles played especially hard during the late-game comeback. They scored 21 of the team's final 25 points.

The late-game rebounding was much better. Tennessee owned the glass for much of the game, but Carolina pulled down nearly every board down the stretch and won the rebounding battle for the game because of that.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Thumbs Up 2: Post Defense

Other than BJ Mack, the Gamecock frontcourt defended the post at an elite level. Collin Murray-Boyles and Josh Gray were big-time obstacles at the rim. For the game, Tennessee shot just 2-10 on layups and made just 2-4 of their dunk attempts. Even wings Myles Stute and Zach Davis were involved down low at times, as well.

That type of post defense will be needed for the Gamecocks to win in March, and they've shown the capability of doing it. If Mack can play a little better on defense (especially against the pick and roll) to with Gray and Murray-Boyles, Carolina will be an outrageously difficult team to score against over the next several weeks.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Thumbs Up 3: 2nd Chances

Lamont Paris' team fights hard on the offensive glass, and they did so again on Wednesday. While cleaning up 12 of their own misses, the Gamecocks tallied 15 2nd chance points for the game (and nearly had 17, but the refs waved off a dunk at the buzzer).

They did well defending against 2nd chance points, too. Tennessee only scored 3 points on 10 offensive rebounds.