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
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Down 1: Meechie Johnson

Meechie Johnson had a bad game against Missouri. He only got off 6 shots and scored 5 points, and he gave the ball away with 5 turnovers. Coach Paris didn't feel comfortable playing his star much late in the game because of his struggles.

However, a huge positive from this negative was seen on Saturday. Even after his "benching," Johnson was actively involved in every huddle, encouraging his teammates and helping coach up the guys on the floor by sharing what he was seeing from the sideline. It was a beautiful show of his leadership of the Gamecock basketball team.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Down 2: Turnovers

The Gamecocks had 16 turnovers in CoMo, significantly more than they typically do. Making matters worse, 11 of them were live ball turnovers that led to 15 points for the Tigers. Meechie Johnson and Myles Stute combined for 8 of them, and the USC starters had 12. They also had a few more non-turnovers that were basically turnovers when they dropped rebounds out of bounds or fumbled would-be steal opportunities. Because of the more deliberate style of offense that Coach Paris likes to play, Carolina cannot afford to give away so many possessions.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Missouri Tigers
Thumbs Down 3: Over-Helping on the Perimeter

A bit of a nit-picky thumbs down from the Missouri game came inside the Gamecocks' perimeter defense. For the most part, Carolina played solidly near the arc, especially in the 1st half when they held the Tigers to just 1-12 shooting from 3-point land.

However, when Missouri started knocking down shots (4-10 from behind the arc after halftime), the Gamecocks started getting too aggressive helping their teammates on the perimeter. On several possessions in the 2nd half, Carolina defenders prematurely went for traps, came from down low for unnecessary and late closeouts, or struggled in ball-screen defense by arriving too late. It wasn't a terrible problem, but it is something that will need to be cleaned up a bit moving forward.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: National analyst has Gamecocks in NCAA Tournament field. South Carolina Basketball: National analyst has Gamecocks in NCAA Tournament field. dark