NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sindarius Thornwell scored 18 points and tied his career-high with four 3-pointers as South Carolina beat Missouri 63-54 Wednesday night in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The 11th-seeded Gamecocks (16-15) have won three of their last four, and this gives them their best season since winning 21 in 2008-09. They will play sixth-seeded Mississippi on Thursday night.
Michael Carrera added 12 points for South Carolina.
Missouri (9-23) finishes the season having lost 16 of the Tigers' final 18 games. The 14th-seeded Tigers sure made it interesting not letting South Carolina run away. They got within a possession seven times in the second half, the last at 52-50 when Montaque Gill-Caesar hit two free throws with 6:42 to go.
Carrera answered with a jumper to start an 11-1 spurt as South Carolina pulled away.
Gill-Caesar finished with a team-high 10 points.
Carrera's lone 3-pointer was part of a strong offensive start that quickly separated the Gamecocks from Missouri. South Carolina made its first three attempts and eight of its initial 14, opportunities created by good energy and ball movement.
Missouri, meanwhile, began just 1 of 6 from the field and things didn't get much better in a first half. Though the Tigers were slightly less error-prone than the Gamecocks (8-7), they missed passes near the basket and seemed out of sync for the most part.
South Carolina took advantage to build its biggest lead at 30-17 before Missouri regrouped for a 7-0 run over the final two minutes to trail by just 30-24 at the break. The Tigers' task was containing Carrera and Duane Notice, whose 13 combined points symbolized the Gamecocks' 45 percent shooting.
Missouri: The Tigers finish with their fewest wins since 1966-67. ... Missouri won the first three games against South Carolina and now has lost two straight, both this season. ... The Tigers hit only one of their final six shots. ... They outrebounded South Carolina 35-26.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks came in with six SEC wins, their most since 2010. ... They now are 19-23 all-time in this tournament and won their opener for a second straight year. ... The Gamecocks made Missouri's mistakes hurt with a 20-4 scoring edge off turnovers. ... Thornwell tied his season-high with six assists.
Missouri: Season finished.
South Carolina: Ole Miss on Thursday night.