South Carolina might have been caught licking its wounds from an embarrassing loss to Kentucky on Saturday when it paid a visit to Missouri on Tuesday night.
The result was the Gamecocks sustaining a more embarrassing defeat in Columbia, Mo.
South Carolina fell behind by double digits in the first nine minutes of action at Mizzou Arena and were upset by the lowly Tigers, 72-67. South Carolina coach Frank Martin didn’t offer up any excuses for his team’s second-consecutive loss.
“Give them credit,” Martin said according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter. “They just flat out beat us.”
Martin’s assessment was exactly right. The Gamecocks (21-5, 8-5 SEC) were forced to play from behind for almost the entirety of Tuesday’s contest. They managed to scrape back into the game and eventually took the lead on a Duane Notice jumper with 2:09 to play, but it was a short-lived advantage.
The teams traded baskets during the ensuing 46 seconds and were even at 67 before a 5-0 run in the final 1:23 sealed the deal for the Tigers (10-16, 3-10 SEC). The star of the night was Missouri senior forward Ryan Rosburg, who scored 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting while pulling down five rebounds.
The loss doesn’t endanger South Carolina’s NCAA tournament chances, but it certainly won’t help its seeding. Missouri entered the game ranked 198th in RPI and was playing without its second-leading scorer, Wes Clark, who was dismissed from the team hours before tip-off. Not to mention, the Tigers essentially have nothing to play for after self-imposing a postseason ban for this season.
Rosburg dominated South Carolina’s big men, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugas Kacinas for most of the game. Martin made sure to point that out after the game.
“I wish my senior center played with the same urgency he plays with,” Martin said according to Matter.
Rosburg wasn’t the sole reason for South Carolina’s ugly defeat. The Gamecocks were abysmal from the floor, shooting 33.3 percent on the night. South Carolina wasn’t much better from 3-point range either and shot 7-of-19 from deep. Notice led the Gamecocks with 21 points off the bench.
South Carolina could fall two games behind LSU (which plays on Wednesday) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament. Even worse, the Gamecocks could finish the night stuck in a cluster of teams vying for third place behind LSU and Kentucky. . Four teams entered Tuesday night at 7-5 in conference play and all four teams were in action after the Gamecocks’ loss.
Things won’t get any easier for South Carolina either, as it will welcome Florida to Colonial Life Arena this weekend.