South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and his team looked to bounce back from an ugly loss on the road to Alabama as they took on the Missouri Tigers on Saturday in the "other Columbia."
For the first time in college career, Collin Murray-Boyles drew the start in the game, taking over for Stephen Clark. Missouri tried to attack the freshman on the first possession, but the youngster prevailed, forcing a stop to open the game. He scored the game's first points the next time down the floor, as well.
A Myles Stute 3-pointer and a BJ Mack layup (off a nice CMB assist) pushed the Gamecocks out to a 7-0 lead in the opening two minutes of the game. Missouri responded with a 6-2 run before both teams combined to miss four straight shots to send the game to the first media timeout.
After the Gamecocks subbed in three players, the offense was ugly. Missouri tied the score 13-13 after Carolina made just 2 of their next 8 shots.
A few minutes later, Collin Murray-Boyles scored off of a Meechie Johnson dime, but 7'5" giant Connor Vanover answered with a dunk in which he didn't really have to leave his feet.
The two teams traded baskets before a 2nd foul sent Murray-Boyles to the bench. Coach Paris sent in Josh Gray and Stephen Clark for their first action of the game. The forwards looked good with a little big-to-big passing display as Gray found Clark for an easy bucket. After a really nice defensive play from Clark was wasted when the Gamecocks let the subsequent loose ball roll out of bounds, the score stood 21-19 in favor of USC with 6:20 left in the half.
Up to that point, neitehr star guard had scored as Mizzou's Sean East and Carolina's Meechie Johnson had combined to go 0-5 from the floor.
East finally got in on the action with his first bucket, and Noah Carter scored to give the Tigers the lead. East scored again with Missouri's first make from downtown, and the home team took a 4-point lead after a Nick Honor free throw. East added two freebies of his own to push the lead to 29-23 in favor of Missouri.
The Gamecocks were cold from the floor as a 1-7 stretch (including a scoreless stretch near 3 minutes) was finally ended by two BJ Mack free throws and a Meechie Johnson 3-pointer (his first points of the afternoon). After two Tamar Bates free throw makes, Johnson scored again, and a Ta'Lon Cooper drunk gave USC the lead. It lasted for just one possession, however, as Bates got away with a 3-second (more like 7-second) pivot session in the lane before scoring.
The half ended with a 1-point Missouri lead 33-32.
After the intermission, both teams came out shooting quickly. Missouri made more 3-point jumpers in the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half than they did in the whole 1st, and the Gamecocks made 4-5 free throws to keep the game within one possession.
Noah Carter blew by Myles Stute for a layup to move the lead to 4 for Missouri, and the lead stayed there for a while until Jacobi Wright ended a 4 1/2 minute-stretch without a field goal with a 3-pointer. A Sean East bucket and an Anthony Robinson 3 (after an egregious Nick Honor travel that wasn't called) sent the score to 48-42.
BJ Mack hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 3, and after two Missouri shots from the charity stripe, Collin Murray-Boyles had a really nice post score over the 7'5" Connor Vanover. Missouri then stifled the Gamecocks (1 field goal over the next 3 1/2 minutes), largely on the back of extremely physical play that was not allowed on the other end of the court by the refereeing crew.
A needed 3-pointer from Myles Stute cut the lead to just 2 points, but Missouri got an offensive rebound, leading to a Sean East bucket to make the score 56-52 with 6:30 remaining in the game. Two free throws from BJ Mack brought him to 17 points on the day, but the officials let Nick Honor get away with another awful travel, leading to a layup from Tamar Bates.
Meechie Johnson, who seemingly was playing with Vaseline on his fingertips, had his 5th turnover of the game to give Mizzou the ball back heading into the final media timeout with his team down 58-55.
BJ Mack ended a 4-minute bucketless stretch for USC when he hit his patented driving post spin to get into position for a layup off the glass. Big Josh Gray went to the line for two shots with 64 seconds left, and #33 knocked them down to cut the lead to one. Sean East answered with two of his own, but a massive Ta'Lon Cooper triple tied the game.
It was 62-62 with 19 seconds remaining in the game when Missouri took a timeout. After what felt like an eternity, Ta'Lon Cooper put a really smart foul on Sean East (on the floor), but it was just the 6th team foul. After the ensuing inbound, East took a contested shot, but Cooper played tight D, and the miss sent the game into overtime.
In the extra stanza, Myles Stute got called for a reach-in that led to a missed front end of a 1-and-1, and then Noah Carter also missed the front end after a loose ball foul. When Jacobi Wright went to the line on the next possession, he made both of his shots. The free throw line success continued after Ta'Lon Cooper made his freebie after fouling out Jesus Carralero Martin on a layup through contact.
After the Cooper 3-point play, South Carolina basketball led 67-62 with just under 2:30 to play in the game. A nice Noah Carter bucket cut the USC lead to 3, but BJ Mack answered with another make off of a post spin. With a 5-point margin, Carolina was 1:27 away from an SEC road win.
Noah Carter made 2 free throws after a foul on Jacobi Wright under the basket, and the Gamecocks couldn't get anything on an ugly possession. Thankfully for Carolina fans, Lamont Paris' team used up the entire shot clock on the possession, leaving just 53 seconds on the clock. A Noah Carter 3-pointer tied the game at 69-69 with 36 seconds left, sending Mizzou Arena into a frenzy.
Jacobi Wright hit a tough jumper over the giant Connor Vanover with 13 seconds left. Missouri advanced the ball past halfcourt, and Tigers coach Dennis Gates called his final timeout. Over the outstretched arms of Zach Davis, Carter got off a 3-pointer, but the ball clanked off the rim, giving South Carolina basketball a big win on the road in CoMo.