One week ago USC turned in its worst performance of the season in a blowout home loss to Auburn. But Saturday night at Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks surpassed that level of futility losing 93-81 to a Commodore team that was winless in the SEC and riding a six game losing streak. It took a 16-2 run over the final 3:43 by the Gamecocks just to make the score look respectable. They trailed by 26 before their final surge.
Vandy put the Gamecocks on their heels early in the game bolting to a 17 point lead eight minutes in. USC turned turned the ball over 6 times in the first eight-and-a-half minutes and finished with 11 first half turnovers that Vandy converted into 15 points. The Gamecocks did respond with an 18-3 run to climb to within 33-31. But the Commodores closed the half with a 19-6 run for a 52-37 halftime lead.
Twelve points was as close as USC could get in the second half. They moved to within a dozen at the 16:34 mark after a 6-0 spurt. Vanderbilt gradually expanded the lead to 26 points at 91-65 with 3:58 left. The Gamecocks outscored the Commodores 16-2 the rest of the way to cosmetically improve the final score.
In their last four losses, the Gamecocks have allowed an average of 92 points.
Postgame, Frank Martin said he new from the opening basket his team was not locked in defensively, and he sensed a problem was coming after a horrible Friday practice. Vanderbilt scored its season high in points shooting 49% for the game and nailing 13 three-pointers. The Gamecocks did shoot 50% and made 10 threes, but much of that offense game when the game was well out of reach.
Maxwell Evans, who came in averaging 4 points per game, scorched the Gamecocks for 29 points. He hit five three-pointers. Scottie Pippen Jr., the SEC’s second leading scorer, added 23 points. AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks with 21 points. Four other Gamecocks scored in double figures. Guard Jermaine Couisnard was not one of them. His shooting woes continued with a 2-15 night from the floor. He’s made just 41 of 136 (30%) field goal attempts this season.
The Gamecocks fall to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the SEC. They will play at Florida Wednesday night.
Frank Martin postgame
AJ Lawson postgame
Final Game Stats