South Carolina’s hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament suffered what is likely a fatal blow Saturday afternoon in an 83-74 loss at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks were on The Bubble by the slimmest of margins going in. Now, it probably will take at least a run to the SEC Tournament championship game, if not the championship itself, for the Gamecocks to make the field of 68.
Inside the Gamecocks’ loss to Vandy
- Vanderbilt won back-to-back SEC games for the first time since February of 2018. The Commodores won earlier in the week at Alabama and finished the regular season with 3 league wins.
- The game turned in the last three minutes of the first half. USC held a 10 point lead but was outscored 9-1 and led only 35-34 at the break.
- The momentum continued for the Commodores into the second half. They hit their first 6 shots, half of them threes, and they built an 8 point lead four minutes in. With no three point shooting to speak of, inconsistency at the foul line, and continual breakdowns on defense, the Gamecocks could only get as close as 4 points the remainder of the game.
- The Gamecocks’ last gasp came with 2:04 to play when they cut an point lead to 4. Over the next 69 seconds Vandy pushed the lead back to 9 with 4 three throws and a driving layup.
- USC was just 1-13 from three. The Gamecocks did a nice job getting the basket. 20 of their 27 buckets were layups or dunks, and they scored 50 points in the paint, but they also missed 11 layup attempts.
- Once again the Gamecocks were murdered at the foul line. For them, they shot free throws well making 19-25. But Vandy went to the line 40 times and made 31. In the regular season of conference play, the Gamecocks attempt 434 free throws, their opponents 565.
- Jermaine Couisnard and Keyshawn Bryant shared scoring honors for USC with 13. Justin Minaya did return to action after missing time with a thumb injury and contributed 8 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes.
- The Gamecocks are 18-13 and 10-8 in the SEC. They will be the 5th seed in the tournament next week in Nashville and play in the 3:00 PM game Thursday if Mississippi State loses tonight at home to Ole Miss. Otherwise, the Gamecocks will be the 6th seed and play in the 9:00 PM game Thursday night.
- Final Stats
Frank Martin postgame press conference