South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from SEC Tournament loss to Auburn

South Carolina basketball couldn't solve their "Auburn problem" again on Friday as the Tigers knocked off the Gamecocks 86-55 in the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina basketball point guard Ta'Lon Cooper
South Carolina basketball point guard Ta'Lon Cooper / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Down 1: Offensive Stagnation

The Gamecocks did not play "Gamecock offense" on Friday.

The normally heavy-on-ball movement Carolina attack had just 9 assists (on a putrid 16 shot makes) for the game. Ta'Lon Cooper had 0 before leaving with an ankle injury in the 2nd half. Zach Davis had 4 assists, and he has passed the ball better of late, so that could be something to monitor. Meechie Johnson and Jacobi Wright combined for just 3 dimes in 52 minutes.

They took too many quick shots, as well. Normally, the only quick shots the Gamecocks ever take are wide-open 3-pointers or wide-open drives to the bucket. On Thursday, Jacobi Wright and Meechie Johnson both took quick, contested midrange shots, and Collin Murray-Boyles and BJ Mack both took blanketed post-up fadeaways early in the shot clock.

USC also only took 12 3-pointers for the game, which is low.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Down 2: Perimeter Defense

The Gamecocks, just like they did in the first matchup between these two teams, really struggled to guard the perimeter.

Auburn shot the ball well from outside, finishing the game 9-19 from 3-point land, but the poor defense was bigger than just that.

On multiple occasions, Carolina defenders were slow to close out on shooters or didn't even put their hands up to make things more difficult.

They also surrendered a ton of open dribble drives. When Auburn screened, Gamecock guards got lost. When Auburn guards went 1-on-1, Gamecock guards got their ankles broken.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
Thumbs Down 3: Not meeting the moment

After Tennessee lost earlier in the day, a win over Auburn would have meant that South Carolina would have played Mississippi State (a team they swept in the regular season) for a chance to play in the SEC Tournament Final. Instead, they laid an egg. Sure, Auburn is a tough matchup for the Gamecocks, but they really weren't competitive most of the game.

They were down 14-15 after about 8 minutes, and things seemed to be playing out about like the Gamecocks' would have drawn them up. Then, Carolina surrendered a 13-0 run over 4 minutes.

Later, when Ta'Lon Cooper hit a 3-ball to cut the deficit to single-digits, the Gamecocks immediately gave up an 11-0 run in less than 3 minutes.

There were also several "emotional immaturity" moments in the game. The most notable were a few Zach Davis encounters with Chad Baker-Mazara, one of which resulted in a flagrant-1 foul for pushing CBM down right in front of a referee.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Lamont Paris named semifinalist for National Coach of the Year. South Carolina Basketball: Lamont Paris named semifinalist for National Coach of the Year. dark