The South Carolina Gamecocks pushed past a tremendous shooting drought, using defense and rebounding to pull out a 76-68 win over the #18 Kentucky Wildcats, Tuesday night in Columbia.
The Gamecocks went 10:31 of the first half without a field goal, missing 0-of-15 in that stretch to undo a start where they led by as many as nine points.
That shooting slump bled into the second half, with Kentucky taking its largest lead at 57-43 with 11:34 to play in the contest.
On the very next possession, Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo committed a Flagrant-One Foul against Maik Kotsar which sparked the Gamecocks.
USC outscored UK 33-to-11 from that point forward, leading South Carolina to its first regular-season win over a ranked opponent in almost a year, a 57-53 win over #19 Florida on January 18th, 2017.
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari said his team looked like freshmen for the first time this season:
Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 27 points, grabbing eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
South Carolina out-rebounded Kentucky 40-35, and dominated the offensive glass with 14 boards to the Wildcats’ six.
Frank Booker scored 18 points for the Gamecocks, and he credited the fans and the infusion of new blood in Brian Bowen and Rakym Felder which sparked their practices this week:
Booker and Silva
Wes Myers scored nine points including six in the final 4:02 of play, hitting the game-tying layup and the basket that gave South Carolina the lead for good with 3:25 left in the ballgame.
Head Coach Frank Martin said they won because of the leadership of Silva, Booker and Myers:
The win brings South Carolina (12-6, 3-3) back to the .500 mark in SEC play, with a couple of days off to prepare for #21 Tennessee. The Gamecocks play the Volunteers at 6 PM Saturday night at Colonial Life Arena.