South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from win at Missouri

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has his team at 14-2 (2-1) and looking like a real NCAA Tournament contender.

South Carolina basketball guards Meechie Johnson and Jacobi Wright
South Carolina basketball guards Meechie Johnson and Jacobi Wright / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Up 1: Bounce Back BJ

There's no denying that BJ Mack has not been at his best for a while. He had not shot better than 50% since December 1st and was averaging under 10 points per game on more than 10 shots per game during that same stretch. Saturday looked much different.

Mack had 21 points on 7-13 shooting (including 6-8 from inside the arc) and shot a perfect 6-6 mark from the free throw line. He also scored most of his baskets in isolation as no Missouri Tiger could match his strength and footwork combination. If he can continue to play like this, the Gamecocks will continue winning games in the SEC.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Up 2: Clutch 'Cocks

In the last 1:04 in regulation, the Gamecocks had two players step up in a big way. Josh Gray pulled down an offensive rebound, drew a foul, and hit two free throws (!!!!!) after subbing in for BJ Mack, and then Ta'Lon Cooper hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in regulation. Cooper then had a marvelous defensive effort to stop Sean East, utilizing the Gamecocks' final "free" foul and then forcing a bad shot for a miss at the buzzer.

Then, in overtime, Jacobi Wright made a tough, contested jumper to put the Gamecocks ahead with 13 seconds left in the game. On Missouri's final possession, Zach Davis played such tight defense that Noah Carter's shot from the top of the key had no chance of going in, sealing the Gamecocks' victory.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Up 3: Extra Energy from the Freshman

Collin Murray-Boyles got his first start on Saturday, taking over for Stephen Clark in the opening 5. He didn't light up the box score (6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists), but he did a little bit of everything for the Gamecocks. He also provided a lot of juice as a defender who could battle down low and challenge players on the perimeter. When USC got out to its early lead, much of it was because of CMB as he scored a basket, assisted on another, and caused problems with his athletic and aggressive defense.