South Carolina basketball fans had a good weekend beating up on Mississippi State. Both Lamont Paris' men's team and Dawn Staley's women's team beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs inside Colonial Life Arena, winning 68-62 and 85-66, respectively.
The men's victory came with the Gamecocks beating Mississippi State at their own game, playing more physical than the Bulldogs after a rough start. USC won the rebounding battle and held their own defending the paint despite most of the Gamecocks' post players being smaller than the MSU forwards.
The driving force behind the South Carolina basketball offense in the SEC victory was guard Meechie Johnson.
Johnson scored 24 points (on just 12 shot attempts!!!!!) and added 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. His steal came in the closing moments of the game, and he sealed the Gamecock victory with four free throw makes in the final 7 seconds.
For his efforts, Meechie Johnson was named SEC Player of the Week. He shared the honor with LSU guard Jordan Wright who had a double-double in a win over Texas A&M.
The former Ohio State Buckeye transferred to South Carolina before the 2022-2023 season, but he has taken his game to a new level this year. He is averaging over 18 points, almost 5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 45% from the field, 37% from behind the arc, and 82 % from the free throw line.
Johnson's emergence as the Gamecocks' best player has been a major factor in South Carolina basketball's turnaround this year. After tying the program record for losses last season (21), the Gamecocks are 13-1 and 1-0 in the SEC, and the NCAA Tournament is a realistic goal.
#5 and his surging Gamecocks will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night.