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South Carolina sweeps regular-season series vs. Mizzou

28 days ago
South Carolina Athletics

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - B.J. Mack scored 21 points to help South Carolina hold off a Missouri team and earn a 72-64 win Saturday to sweep the regular season series.

South Carolina came into the game on a high after beating No. 6 Kentucky, 79-62 on Tuesday. Mack led South Carolina with 21 points in its 71-69 overtime win over the Tigers January 13.

Mack scored 15 of his points in the first half as the Gamecocks built a 10-point lead, 39-29, at the break. South Carolina forced 12 Missouri turnovers in the first half, turning them into 10 points, but managed just five points off a dozen second-half Missouri turnovers.

Missouri grabbed the lead three minutes into the second half on a layup by Tamar Bates, but Mack answered with a three-point play and the Gamecocks did not trail again. The Tigers tied the game twice, but South Carolina answered each threat. Josh Gray hit the first of two free throws and Jacobi Wright and Ta'Lon Cooper each buried a 3-pointer to make it 53-46. Bates dunked and followed it with a layup with 2:28 left to make it 67-62. but the Tigers were able to add only a layup by East in the final minute.

Meechie Johnson, who averages 43.4% from the field and just under 17 points per game, did not score for the Gamecocks, going 0-for-9 from the field and 0-7 from 3-point range.

Mack hit 6-of-11 shots from the field, including 2-of-5 from distance, and hit 7-of-11 from the free throw line to lead South Carolina (17-3, 5-2 Southeastern Conference). Cooper added 12 points, Wright chipped in 10 and Morris Ugusuk was a perfect 3-for-3 off the bench, hitting two 3-pointers and knocking down both free throw attempts to add 10 points off the bench.

East finished with 21 points and seven assists to lead Missouri (8-12, 0-7). Bates contributed 16 points and seven rebounds.

South Carolina travels to face No. 5 Tennessee Tuesday. Missouri returns home to play host to Arkansas Wednesday.

KEY STAT

South Carolina knocked down 10 triples, shooting 40.0 percent (10-for-25) from deep. Under head coach Lamont Paris over the past two seasons, Carolina is now 10-3 when making 10 or more 3s. All three losses have come on the road.

NOTABLES

  • Graduate forward B.J. Mack led all Gamecock scorers with 21 points on an efficient 6-of-11 from the floor. Mack has scored in double-figures in four of his last five games and today marked his sixth game of the season leading the team in scoring. The team is 4-0 this season when he scores 20 or more points this season.
  • Four Gamecocks scored in double-figures: Mack (21), Ta'Lon Cooper (12), Jacobi Wright (11), and Morris Ugusuk (10).
  • Freshman forward Collin Murray-Boyles led the Garnet & Black in rebounds (8) and blocks (2). The big man added seven points and two assists in his fifth consecutive start.
  • Graduate guard Ta'Lon Cooper led Carolina with four assists. Cooper entered today's game sixth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio 4.10:1 and third in the SEC in assists averaging 4.3 per game. He had three turnovers today, tying a season high. Cooper entered today's contest with 15 games this season with one or no turnovers.
  • The Gamecock defense forced 12 Missouri turnovers and held the Tigers to just 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. Carolina entered today first in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 64.5 points per game.
  • With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 14-0 on the season when scoring 70 or more points.
  • The victory marks the ninth 5-2 start or better in SEC action for the Gamecocks since joining the conference in 1991-92.
  • The win also marks the first 17-3 or better start for South Carolina since the 2015-16 season when the team started the year 19-3.

UP NEXT

Carolina (17-3, 5-2 SEC) hits the road for a difficult road matchup at No. 5/5 Tennessee (14-4, 4-1 SEC) on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. (ET). Tom Hart (pxp), Dane Bradshaw (analyst) and Alyssa Lang (reporter) will be on the call for the SEC Network broadcast.