A loss at Missouri a season ago proved detrimental for South Carolina basketball when NCAA Tournament time rolled around. The Gamecocks came through on their expectation of not allowing history to repeat itself on Saturday night in Columbia, Mo.
No. 23 South Carolina (17-4, 7-1) kept rolling along, beating Missouri 63-53 for its first win at Missouri in school history.
Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, who came in averaging more than 25 points in his past 3 games, had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He willed the Gamecocks into a double-digit lead midway through the second half with a pair of free throws and a 3-point play after a slick transition layup through contact.
The Gamecocks kept opening the game up after Thornwell’s stretch when Duane Notice and PJ Dozier hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Both were welcome signs, as Notice hit three 3-pointers a game after hitting 6 against Auburn and it was Dozier’s first field goal of the game. Dozier played sparingly against Auburn after sitting out against Kentucky a week ago with back spasms.
Dozier took 13 shots, making 3 of them and scoring 7 points in 23 minutes.
Missouri cut the lead to single-digits multiple times with less than 10 minutes to play, but the Gamecocks had an answer each time. Chris Silva’s putback off a Dozier airball led to a three-point play to push the lead back to 11.
Notice’s third 3-pointer of the night extended the lead from 7 to 10 with less than 4 minutes to play.
The Gamecocks, who lead the nation in 3-point defense, held Missouri to 1 of 16 from behind the arc.
Player of the game
Freshman guard Rakym Felder sparked the Gamecocks in the first half, scoring 12 points. He hit three 3-pointers before halftime, including two late in the shot clock, in a first half where points were largely hard to come by for the Gamecocks.
Duane Notice hit his first 3-pointer of the night early in the second half, pushing South Carolina ahead by 7. The Gamecocks opened up the lead from there – led by a flurry of 3-pointers — and kept Missouri at a distance for the rest of the game.
What’s next for South Carolina basketball
South Carolina heads to LSU for a game at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday