Frank Martin has been telling the media the last couple of weeks that his young team was getting better. A win at Florida last Saturday to open SEC play seemed to support that. A win Tuesday night at home against 14th ranked Mississippi State proved it. The Gamecocks won it in overtime 87-82 to move to 2-0 in the league for the first time since 2017. They’ll have a chance to go to 3-0 Saturday afternoon at home against Missouri.
There were a lot of major contributors to the victory but none more than junior forward Maik Kotsar who turned in arguably the best game of his career. Kotsar scored a career high 25 points and added 9 rebounds. He was 10-18 from the floor and 5-5 from the line.
This was a tight game throughout with a dozen lead changes, and the largest lead by either side seven points. State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon tied the game at 75 with 1:50 left in regulation, and both teams missed their chances to win down the stretch. Hassani Gravett fired up a halfcourt prayer at the buzzer that hit the rim but bounced away.
Gravett gave the Gamecocks the lead for good in overtime with a pair of free throws for an 81-79 lead. After a steal, Kotsar followed up a Tre Campbell miss for a four point lead . After the Bullies cut it to one, Kotsar nailed a baseline jumper for an 85-82 lead. A steal and dunk by AJ Lawson in the final seconds sealed the verdict.
Besides Kotsar, four other Gamecocks scored in double figures. Hassani Gravett had 17 points off the bench along with 7 rebounds and 2 assists, and Chris Silva had 11 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
The Gamecocks, after a slow start, won the rebounding battle 47-40, including 16 on the offensive glass which they converted to 15 points.
After losing four in a row, the Gamecocks have won their last three and are back to .500 overall at 7-7.
Frank Martin postgame press conference
Maik Kotsar and Hassani Gravett