South Carolina basketball fans were out in full force again on Tuesday night as the Gamecocks welcomed in the Ole Miss Rebels for an SEC contest. USC was looking for their 6th-straight victory and their 20th win of the season. A win would move Lamont Paris past George Felton for the most wins in a Year 2 in South Carolina basketball history.
The Gamecock Faithful were loud and proud on Tuesday night. A "white out" was in effect for the near-sellout, and the fans were a factor all night.
The game started with Ole Miss winning the tip, and Allen Flanigan lit up the scoreboard first with a silky smooth jump shot. After a BJ Mack make came courtesy of goaltending, Matthew Murrell made another Ole Miss midrange, and Collin Murray-Boyles answered with a make at the rim.
When the Gamecocks forced a stop, they took their first lead with a Meechie Johnson 3-ball. A couple of traded 2-point buckets kept the home team ahead, but the Rebels stayed close after making their 3rd and 4th contested jump shots of the early goings.
A Zach Davis banked-in 3 and a CMB 2nd chance bucket put Carolina up by 6 points at the delayed media timeout. After the break, the Gamecocks stayed hot on offense with two Myles Stute 3-pointers, and after another timeout, Jacobi Wright canned another shot from outside to go up 25-12.
JuJu Murray made a 3-pointer for Chris Beard’s team, but Stute answered with his 3rd make from downtown. Even after Murray made two more shots, the Gamecocks led 30-21. When the dust settled from the blazing fast pace, the two teams had combined to knock down 12 of their last 15 shots.
The Gamecocks went up 37-23 after a BJ Mack 2nd chance bucket, but a 3-point play from JuJu Murray cut the deficit back to 11. The scoring slowed from there as neither team made shots or took care of the basketball. An Allen Flanigan make shook the dust off the scoreboard lights, but USC’s scoreless drought extended to almost 3 minutes, allowing Ole Miss to claw back within 9.
The steady right hand of Ta’Lon Cooper put a layup off the glass to get the Gamecocks going in the right direction again, and the halftime buzzer sounded with Lamont Paris’ South Carolina basketball team leading 43-31.
Collin Murray-Boyles became the first Gamecock to reach double-figures in scoring, and he followed it up with a nice post win to get his 11th and 12th points. After a few points from Ole Miss, Ta’Lon Cooper joined his freshman in the land of double-figures, and at the under-16 timeout, the Gamecocks led 53-36.
The two teams traded scores and misses over the next few minutes, but after starting 7-13 on 3-pointers, the Gamecocks couldn’t buy an outside shot (made just 1 of their next 10), and Ole Miss used the stops to chip away at the lead until it shrunk back to 3 points on the back of Allen Flanigan mid-range jump shots (now 10-11 from the field for the game).
After some scoring back and forth between the two offenses, Matthew Murrell cut the score to 62-60 in favor of South Carolina basketball, but a Myles Stute 3-pointer (his 4th) got the Colonial Life Arena crowd back into the game. Flannigan finally missed a jumper, and Meechie Johnson went 1-2 from the free throw line to push the lead back up to 6.
After another Murrell 3-pointer, a pass from Josh Gray to fellow big Collin Murray-Boyles resulted in a post make that put Carolina up 68-63 with 3:38 left in the game. The Gamecocks' elite defense held the Rebels scoreless for over 4 minutes, and when Chris Beard called a timeout with 1:30 left, the score was still 68-63.
The ATO play led to a dunk attempt from Jamarion Sharp, but Collin Murray-Boyles met him at the apex and swatted it away. The Gamecocks' only scoring drought continued after Meechie Johnson was blocked on the other end, and the lead was cut to three quickly after Murrell scored for the Rebels.
With 38 seconds left and the ball in their possession, South Carolina basketball inbounded and nearly got a 10-second violation, but Ta'Lon Cooper just got the basketball across the timeline before the automatic turnover call.
After a miss at the end of the shot clock, the Gamecocks elected not to foul, and the gamble paid off as Murrell missed, ending the game. The Fighting Quarter Zips held on for the win to move to 20-3 and 8-2 in the SEC.