USC played well for much of the first half in Starkville, MS Saturday night building a 16 point lead on Mississippi State, but the Gamecocks could not sustain their play while the Bulldogs raised their’s in the second half of a 76-61 victory. The loss dropped the Gamecocks to 14-13 overall and 9-4 in the SEC. They fall back into a tie with Ole Miss for fourth in the SEC but they do own the tiebreaker.
USC led 30-14 with 4:00 left in the first half after back-to-back three-pointers by Felipe Haase. But from that point, the game started to shift in the Bulldogs’ favor. State went on a 15-6 run to end the half to make it a 36-29 game. The Gamecocks scored the first five points of the second half to go up a dozen, but the Bulldogs responded with a 29-7 run that included a nearly five minute dry spell for the Gamecocks.
AJ Lawson’s layup with 5:24 to play got the Gamecocks back to within six but that was their last hope. They hit another drought of three minutes while Mississippi State extended the lead to 13.
Mississippi State shot 65% in the second half including six three-pointers. USC was just 8-25 from the floor int he second half for 32%.
Lawson led the Gamecocks with 18 points and Maik Kotsar added 13. But the Gamecocks got very little from their other top scorers. Chris Silva managed just five points and a single rebound in 19 minutes. And Hassani Gravett had just six points. The Bulldogs’ Reggie Perry led all scorers with 21.
USC returns to action at home Tuesday night against Alabama.
USC postgame press conference