South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

South Carolina basketball is 13-1 and 1-0 in the SEC after knocking off the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Colonial Life Arena on Saturday.

South Carolina basketball star Meechie Johnson alongside rising star freshman Collina Murray-Boyles
South Carolina basketball star Meechie Johnson alongside rising star freshman Collina Murray-Boyles / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Thumbs Up 1: Meechie Johnson

When thinking of the positives from the Gamecocks' victory over Mississippi State, one has to start with Meechie Johnson. The USC shooting guard took just 12 shots from the field but still scored 24 points. Shooting 6-12/3-7/9-11, Johnson took over in the second half and wanted the ball in the game's biggest moments. He also had a key defensive play, stealing the ball from Dashawn Davis late in the game, leading to more free throws down the stretch. 6 rebounds also tied for the team lead.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Thumbs Up 2: Myles Stute

Mississippi State led for most of the 1st half, but a Myles Stute 3-pointer gave the Gamecocks a 2-point lead right before halftime. The sharpshooting wing then scored the first 11 points of the 2nd half, meaning he had 13 of his 15 points in one stretch of Gamecock scoring. Stute shot 3-5 from outside and 6-11 from the field, including several finishes at the rim that came off of aggressive back cuts. Stute tied with Meechie Johnson and BJ Mack for the team lead in rebounding (6), and he played good defense on Mississippi State's bigger forwards.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Thumbs Up 3: Ramping Up the Physicality

The Gamecocks got physically dominated in the early few minutes of this game. DJ Jeffries, Jimmy Bell, Cameron Matthews, and Tolu Smith shoved around BJ Mack and Stephen Clark until Coach Paris yanked his starting forwards out of the game. Josh Gray and Collin Murray-Boyles came in and instantly played with toughness.

Gray wasn't great in his three minutes, but he played hard, and Murray-Boyles did the same and had some more success. The tone was set, and the rest of the Gamecocks began playing with increased toughness. For the game, South Carolina ended up winning the rebounding battle (35-26), drew more fouls (23-15), and had 10 more second-chance points (16-6).