The South Carolina Gamecocks earned their third victory over a ranked opponent, upsetting #10 Auburn in an 84-75 victory at Colonial Life Arena Saturday.
With former Gamecocks Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier in attendance, USC didn’t trail past the opening hoops, opening up a lead that grew to as high as 26 points.
The first half ended with a thud, however, as Auburn forward Anfernee McLemore took an awkward fall to the floor. McLemore tweeted after the game doctors said he fractured his tibia, dislocated his ankle and torn some ligaments. Medical personnel needed to wheel McLemore off the floor, causing a lengthy delay.
Auburn made a second-half run, with a concerted effort on the offensive glass, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds and cutting the lead down to five with seven minutes remaining.
Frank Booker led the Gamecocks with 19 points, and Chris Silva added a double-double 14 points and 11 rebounds. Wesley Myers had his best game since before the losing streak, adding 13 points before fouling out in 29 minutes.
Silva credited Thornwell and Dozier, who practiced with the Gamecocks Friday, with injecting leadership and confidence into the team.
Chris Silva & Frank Booker
Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl reacted emotionally after the game when talking about McLemore’s injury, which ended his season.
Gamecocks Head Coach Frank Martin said this win gives him evidence that this team has the ability to beat high-level teams when they commit themselves on the defensive end.
After the game, Martin also addressed Kory Holden’s departure from the team, announced earlier Saturday afternoon. Martin said Holden is “taking a break” and that he’s going through a rough time as an athlete as his body is not responding to treatment for injuries.
Having ended a six-game losing streak, South Carolina (14-13, 5-9 SEC) looks to keep the momentum going at home on Wednesday when it hosts Georgia at 6:30 PM.