South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down vs. Alabama

South Carolina basketball had its worst half of the season against Alabama, turning a competitive game into a non-competitive one. The loss brings the Gamecocks to 13-2 (1-1) on the season.

South Carolina basketball wing Myles Stute
South Carolina basketball wing Myles Stute / Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Thumbs Down 1: 2nd Half Effort

The Gamecocks missed their first 10 shots of the 2nd half, and according to Lamont Paris' postgame comments, they allowed their offensive failures to ruin the rest of their game, as well. During the 2nd half swoon, the defense faltered, the effort wasn't consistent, and 'Bama owned the rebounding battle.

The ball screen defense was horrendous in the 2nd half, and the Crimson Tide's efficiency showed that fact. 52% shooting from the field and 50% shooting from behind the arc were the most obvious results, but Alabama also scored all of their 44 points in the 2nd half from layups/dunks, 3-point shots, and free throws.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Thumbs Down 2: Lack of Composure

As mentioned previously, the struggles shooting in the 2nd half contaminated the entirety of the Gamecocks' 2nd half effort. Dribble drives into heavy traffic, bad shot selection, and virtually no box out effort were direct results of players not handling the struggles well. There was also a small verbal exchange between Meechie Johnson and the Crimson Tide bench that resulted in off-setting technical fouls.

USC will have to be more mentally tough in the face of adversity to find themselves in the NCAA Tournament at season's end.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Thumbs Down 3: Struggling Starters

Only one Gamecock starter (Ta'Lon Cooper) had a decent overall game, and even he scored just 2 points after the first 4 minutes of the contest. Meechie Johnson had some good moments but also scored just 16 points on 18 shots and turned the ball over 4 times. Myles Stute and Stephen Clark were no-shows, scoring 0 points on 0-5 combined shooting and just 4 rebounds in 38 minutes.

BJ Mack continued his deep struggles. Since Thanksgiving, he has shot better than 50% just one time, and he scored less than 10 points in his last five games. Despite being the strongest player on the court at all times, he has just one game all year with double-digit rebounds and has averaged just over 5 per game in his last 5 contests. His game against Alabama was one of his worst as he shot 2-10 from the field (and 1-4 from outside), turned the ball over 4 times, and got beaten on defense over and over. He has to be better for the Gamecocks to win in SEC play.

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