A scoring drought of over seven and a half minutes down the stretch doomed USC in its upset bid at LSU Saturday night. The Gamecocks, who had not played in 10 days due to a Covid shutdown, fell to the Tigers 85-80. The Gamecocks were without head coach Frank Martin, assistant coach Chuck Martin, and players Alanzo Frink and Jalyn McCreary due to Covid issues.
The Gamecocks, who led for nearly 34 minutes, took a 72-64 lead with 7:47 left on a three-pointer by Keyshawn Bryant. Then their offense hit a wall and allowed LSU to take control of the game. The Gamecocks did not make another field goal until 0:13 was left on the clock missing 11 consecutive shots. LSU went on a 20-6 run during that stretch for an 84-78 lead.
A dunk on an offensive rebound by Wildens Leveque cut the deficit to 84-80. LSU added a free throw for the final five point margin.
The Gamecocks shot 45% for the game, their second best shooting performance of the season. They hit 8-29 three pointers, but were only 3-15 in the second half behind the stripe. And they were outscored at the foul line 24-10.
Bryant, who was playing in his first game since December 5th. scored a career high 26 points. He also had 7 rebounds and 4 of the team’s 6 blocked shots. AJ Lawson scored 18 first half points, but he cooled off in the second half making just 1 of 7 field goal attemps to finish with 22 points. And Leveque had one of the best games of his career with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
The loss drops USC to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC. The Gamecocks are scheduled to play at Missouri on Tuesday night.