For the second time this week, USC surrendered 93 points, this time at home against 20th ranked Missouri, and the Gamecocks’ losing streak is now at five after a 93-78 loss to the Tigers. Wednesday night the Gamecocks lost at Tennessee 93-73. Just like in that game, USC was in contact with the opponent in the second half but could not sustain enough of a quality offense/defense mix to rally for a win.
The Gamecocks cut a 19 point late first half deficit to 7 with 10:32 to play. But as has been the case most of the season, and not just thru this stretch of 9 losses in 11 games, the Gamecocks did not make enough defensive plays, as in stops and collecting turnovers, to complete the rally.
The Tigers went on a 9-2 run to re-establish control of the game 68-54 with 9 minutes left. The lead eventually grew to 20, and the Gamecocks could get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
Missouri’s 6-10, 250 pound postman Jeremiah Tilmon, who missed the previous two games due to a death in his family, was unstoppable in the second half hitting all four shots from the floor and all four foul shots. As a team in the second half, the Tigers shot 66% from the floor and 100% from the line. They finished the game with 46 points in the paint compared to 32 for USC.
And they needed that performance because the Gamecocks shot 59% in the second half and made 13-16 from the line. USC outscored Missouri in the second half 49-48 but that wasn’t nearly enough considering the 16 points halftime deficit. During this five game losing streak, the Gamecocks have allowed 81 or more points in four of the losses.
AJ Lawson made just 5 of 16 shots, but 4 were three-pointers, and he was 8-10 at the line to lead the Gamecocks with 22 points. Keyshawn Bryant and Trae Hannibal each had 15 points, and that’s a career high for Hannibal.
The Gamecocks fall to 5-11 overall and 3-9 in the SEC. They next play Wednesday night at Mississippi State.