Gamecocks falls short at Missouri, 72-67

COLUMBIA, MO. – No. 23 South Carolina lost 72-67 at Missouri Tuesday night. The Tigers (10-16, 3-10 SEC) built an early first-half lead on the Gamecocks (21-5, 8-5) and held off three second-half rallies to secure the home win. Duane Notice led the team with 21 points, and Michael Carrera added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds for South Carolina.

After being dominated inside in the first meeting between the two teams exactly one month ago, Missouri flipped the script early on South Carolina. The Tigers hit the glass with abandon, picking up two more offensive rebounds in the first half (7) than they had for the entire game in January. That would put the pressure on a South Carolina offense that was ice cold through the first 10 minutes of action.

The Gamecocks missed their first seven shots in the game and trailed 6-1 after the first four minutes. Back-to-back makes from Laimonas Chatkevicius and Sindarius Thornwell gave the team a brief respite but Missouri went off on a 17-3 run for the five minutes after that to take the game’s largest lead at 23-8 with 9:40 still to go. The early rebounding edge for the home side wouldn’t lead to many second-chance points (just nine points off the seven offensive boards), but it would give them extra possessions. Those extra chances would lead to foul trouble for South Carolina, who saw four post players sit early with two fouls. The Tigers would also attempt 17 free throws to just eight for Carolina

As the first period wore on Missouri’s offense would slow down, hitting just one field goal in the final five minutes. The Gamecocks could not take full advantage late and trailed 33-25 at the half. Duane Notice led the team with seven points, but as a whole Carolina made just 9-of-37 field goals (24 percent). The big factor in the half would be how quickly the Gamecocks took their shots, and their impatience would only strengthen Missouri’s resolve on the boards.

A 3-of-3 start from the field to start the second half appeared to re-energize the Gamecocks, and a 3 from Notice cut the deficit down to 35-32. Missouri answered with a 7-0 run in a span of just 57 seconds, with consecutive run-outs by Ryan Rosburg forcing a South Carolina timeout. Despite the setback, the Garnet and Black would not shy away. A run of five-straight made field goals sparked a 7-0 run that brought the deficit down to just 52-49 with 10 minutes to play, but Missouri punched back with another 7-0 run that forced another Carolina timeout just two minutes later.

The Gamecocks had to pull themselves off the mat one more time, and used a six-minute stretch without a field goal by Missouri to make their move. Trailing 62-54, South Carolina went on a 9-0 run in just under two minutes to take its first lead of the night with 2:57 to play. The lead would be traded back and forth for the next few minutes, but Missouri was able to get a stop and score with 35 seconds to go to take a 70-67 lead. South Carolina turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and the Tigers split on two trips to the free throw line to salt away the game.

GAMECHANGER

South Carolina cut Missouri’s lead to a single possession on two occasions early in the second half, but on both occasions, the Tigers answered immediately with a run to squash the early comeback hopes.. First, a 7-2 start out of intermission made it 35-32, but the Gamecocks missed the next three shots and turned the ball over. Later, thanks to a 9-0 run, the Gamecocks cut the deficit to 52-49 with 10:24 to go but missed their next four shots and committed two turnovers.

KEY STAT

The Tigers put an emphasis on nullifying South Carolina’s interior advantage, and won on the back of that success. Missouri finished with a 46-39 advantage in rebounds and earned 14 second-chance points off 13 offensive rebounds. This is just the fifth time all season the Gamecocks have lost the rebound battle, and they are just 1-4 when it happens.

UP NEXT

Following Tuesday’s matchup at Missouri, the Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena to host Florida on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd. Game time vs. the Gators is set for Noon ET with the matchup set to be broadcast on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call. The Gamecocks look to snap a seven-game Florida win streak in the series on Saturday.

NOTABLE

  • The team has lost back-to-back games for just the first time since February of last season, a span of 32 games. The loss also snaps a three-game win streak against the Tigers, but the Gamecocks are still winless in three attempts at Missouri.
  • Duane Notice’s 21 points were a new season high, and his five 3-pointers tied a career high.
  • Missouri’s 46 total rebounds tied USF for the most rebounds by a Gamecock opponent this season. The Tigers also attempted 38 free throws, another season high for an opponent.

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