USC saw an 11-point second half lead dwindle to two in the final seconds, but the Gamecocks came up with a defensive stop on Vanderbilt’s top player Scott Pippen Jr. and left Memorial Gym in snowy Nashville with a 72-70 win. The Gamecocks improved to 10-4 overall and 1-1 in the SEC in bouncing back from their loss at home to Auburn Tuesday night.
The Gamecocks led 64-53 with 7:18 to play. It was a two-point lead with 6.3 seconds left and Vanderbilt had the ball out of bounds at the far end following a timeout. The Commodores got the ball to Pippen. He rushed down the right side of the court, but instead of trying to get up a shot, the SEC’s leading scorer threw a pass back across the floor to no one as time expired.
The Gamecocks shot 55% from the floor and showed balance with 11 players in the scorebook, but only two in double figures. James Reese V led the Gamecocks with 13 points and Wildens Leveque added 10.
USC did most of their damage inside the three-point line. They were only 3-17 behind the arc while Vandy was 8-22, but the Gamecocks outscored the ‘Dores 34-20 in the paint.
The Gamecocks did commit 22 turnovers, and they were outscored at the foul line 26-13.
USC continues on the road in the Volunteer State Tuesday night with a 6:30 PM tipoff against 18th ranked Tennessee.