South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock hold on for last-second win over Texas A&M

South Carolina basketball pulled off another road win in SEC play, this one over Texas A&M.
South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson
South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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After busting out of their two-game losing streak with a comfortable win on the road over Ole Miss, South Carolina basketball stayed on the road for a Wednesday night affair with the Texas A&M Aggies.

A&M entered the game needing a win as Buzz Williams' squad is fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives. The Gamecocks likely had already secured their place in the March Madness field, but a win could ensure that they stay out of the play-in in Dayton.

Collyn Murray-Boyles won the opening tip for the Gamecocks, and BJ Mack opened the scoring with a paint bucket. The Reed Arena crowd was not happy on the next possession as former Gamecock Wildens Leveque missed two bunnies at the rim. A Mack 3-pointer put Carolina up 5-0 before Leveque made his next opportunity.

Some sloppy basketball ensued, and when the under-16 timeout came around, Lamont Paris' group led 9-4. After the short break, A&M cut the deficit to 9-8 after owning the glass turning over Carolina a couple of times. Stephen Clark scored down low to end a 3-minute scoring drought for the Gamecocks, and then the two teams traded baskets.

Meechie Johnson scored 5 straight for the Gamecocks to keep them ahead, but a foul discrepancy (7-3 in the first 10 minutes) allowed A&M to tie the game 16-16 as they made 6 of 8 free throws. Johnson responded with his 2nd 3-pointer, and Jacobi Wright backed him up with another one to give Carolina a 22-16 advantage.

The Aggies didn't make a field goal for over 5 minutes, but when they finally got a bucket from Tyrece Radford, the score was only 26-21 in favor of South Carolina because of the free throw advantage.

Ebrima Dibba scored his first points of the season on a drive into traffic, and then a 1-3-1 zone from the Gamecocks caused some problems for the A&M offense. An Aggies scoring drought that lasted over 2 minutes ended with a Henry Coleman layup, and then Wade Taylor IV made his first shot from the field after starting 0-4.

The Gamecocks' own scoring drought down the stretch (no points in the final 2:31 of the half) let Texas A&M make things closer than the game felt as halftime began with the scoreboard leading 32-29.

After halftime, Zach Davis attacked the basket aggressively with a baseline drive on the first possession, converting a reverse layup for the score. The Gamecocks kept their foot on the gas as Meechie Johnson scored his 11th and 12th points on a pull-up jumper, and Zach Davis moved into double-figures with a dunk after a nice find from Ta'Lon Cooper.

In less than 1 1/2 minutes, Carolina had its largest lead of the game at 38-29. A&M scored after a timeout, but Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to put his team up by 10 points. A questionable offensive foul call from the officials hit Collin Murray-Boyles with his 3rd of the game. Meechie Johnson picked up his 3rd shortly after CMB did.

Both teams missed 4 shots in a row before a Ta'Lon Cooper triple put USC up by 13 points. A&M got back-to-back buckets from their two best players as Wade Taylor and Tyrece Radford cut the deficit to 9 points. The scores were part of a 6-0 run that should have ended with a Zach Davis layup, but Davis was mugged without a whistle.

The Gamecocks' scoring drought lasted over 4 minutes, and Texas A&M was able to cut the lead to just 3 points. During the Aggies' 10-0 run, BJ Mack picked up his 3rd foul, and Collin Murray-Boyles was whistled for his 4th. BJ Mack earned his way to the foul line to end the run, but he only made 1 of 2. Just a minute later, and Manny Obaseki tied the game with 4 straight points.

Reed Arena was alive, and the roof almost came off the building when Solo Washington canned a 3-pointer to put the Aggies up 50-47. It was A&M's first made 3-pointer of the game and first lead of the game, and Lamont Paris was forced to call a timeout in hopes of ending the 17-1 run.

The Gamecocks quickly retook the lead as Meechie Johnson and Ta'Lon Cooper scored 5 straight points. Then, Jacobi Wright was called for a foul for boxing out, and A&M was gifted two more free throws from the officials. The score was tied 52-52 with 7:20 left in the game.

Collin Murray-Boyles got a putback dunk while playing with 4 fouls, but Tyrece Radford canned a 3-pointer to put A&M back on top. adford scored again to go up 3, but Cooper made another long ball to tie the score. Quietly, Cooper was on triple-double watch as he had 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists at that point in the game.

Several possessions later, Carolina went up by 4 after a Meechie Johnson fastbreak layup, and the score stood 63-59 with 3:11 left on the clock.

A solid stop earned the ball back for the Gamecock offense, and Ta'Lon Cooper found Meechie Johnson for a layup. #5 was fouled, as well, and he knocked down the and-1 free throw to put his team up by 7. BJ Mack's 4th foul came on the next trip down the floor, and then Zach Davis responded by tying his career-high in scoring with 14 points (a number he set last game against Ole Miss).

With 1:22 left in the game, A&M had the basketball down by 5 points. Buzz Williams drew up a simple inbound to Manny Obaseki, and when Obaseki drove, Collin Murray-Boyles was whistled for a phantom foul, and all of a sudden, it was a 2-point game again.

Ta'Lon Cooper missed a 3-pointer on the next possession, but Meechie Johnson got a long offensive rebound. With 28 seconds left, BJ Mack missed a jumper, but the ball went off Anderson Garcia as it went out of bounds. After an inbound, Cooper was fouled but missed the front end of the 1-and-1 opportunity.

Wade Taylor made a clutch layup with 10 seconds left, but Meechie Johnson drove the entire length of the floor and dumped the ball off to Zach Davis for the easy bucket. With 3 seconds left, USC led 70-68. A&M couldn't get off a shot on the final possession, and the Gamecocks emerged victorious.

535. Final. 70. 533. South Carolina Basketball vs. Texas A&M Aggies. 68