South Carolina Basketball: Gamecocks' winning streak snapped in ugly loss to Auburn

South Carolina basketball had their 7-game winning streak snapped in an ugly loss to the Auburn Tigers.

South Carolina basketball forward BJ Mack
South Carolina basketball forward BJ Mack / John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris is the frontrunner for the national coach of the year honors as the Gamecocks entered their Wednesday night contest against the Auburn Tigers 21-3 and tied for 1st place in the SEC.

Auburn came into the game undefeated (and every win at home had been by at least 11 points). The Gamecocks had already ended a 20+ game home win streak earlier this season when they went into Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville to beat the Tennessee Volunteers. Ending a 15-game streak for Auburn would be just as difficult of a test.

The game started with two Johni Broome misses on Auburn's first possession, and BJ Mack drew a foul on Broome's frontcourt-mate Jaylin Williams and went 1-2 from the free throw line to open the scoring. Williams missed on the other end before Mack sunk an open pick-and-pop 3-point jumper.

A Williams make was followed by a 3-pointer from Meechie Johnson, and Carolina was up 7-2 early. Auburn bounced back after taking advantage of a couple of Carolina turnovers, and at the under-16 timeout, the score was tied 9-9.

The game became a foul fest over the next few minutes, but the Tigers' scoring run continued to 10-0 before another Meechie Johnson deep ball brought the score to 14-12. Another run from Bruce Pearl's team (this one 8-0) put the home team up 22-12 heading into the next media stoppage.

Chad Baker-Mazara slammed home the Tigers' third dunk of the game, and then Johni Broome scored another transition bucket to go up by 11 points. Collin Murray-Boyles did his best to keep USC in the game with 3 points over the next two possessions, but Broome knocked down a 3-pointer to keep the lead at 11.

The pace stayed friendly to Auburn as the Gamecocks couldn't slow things down over the next several minutes. Because of that, they couldn't cut into the lead. At the under-4 timeout, Carolina trailed 36-24.

After a loose ball, Jaylin Williams made a 3-pointer, and then he made another after an erroneous shot clock reset. Things were getting away from the Gamecocks.

A Chad Baker-Mazara buzzer-beater was the humiliating icing on the terrible-tasting cake that was the 1st half for Lamont Paris' team. For just the fourth time all season, the Gamecocks allowed a 40-point half, and for the first time, they allowed a 50-point explosion. Auburn led 50-28 heading into the break.

After halftime, Carolina cut the lead from 22 to 18 in the opening minute of the 2nd period, but a 3-point play from Tre Donaldson pushed the score to 53-32. The two teams traded scores (and fouls) over the next few trips down the court, and though the Gamecocks got within 17, Auburn kept answering. The score stood 60-40 with 13:44 left in the game.

A flagrant foul against Auburn allowed a short USC run in which Lamont Paris' team cut the deficit to 16 points, but the Tigers responded with 5-straight points.

The ridiculously quick pace continued, and Auburn's refusal to give any ground continued, as well. After a flagrant foul was called against Myles Stute, the lead ballooned to 26 points.

The final 8 minutes of the game saw Auburn coast to the finish line, but things were going so badly for the South Carolina Gamecocks that Meechie Johnson got a technical after a hard foul from Chad Baker-Mazara.

The pathetic showing continued to the final buzzer, and South Carolina basketball fell by 41 points.

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