For the third straight game Saturday night, USC put together a dominating stretch in the second half to win a SEC game. First was Georgia. Then it was Vanderbilt. And now it’s Texas A&M in College Station. The Gamecocks used a 19-2 run starting five minutes into the second half to race past the Aggies 74-63 for their third straight win, their first Q1 win on the season and fifth straight win over A&M.
The Gamecocks trailed 42-37 with 15:05 to play when they made their move. Jermaine Couisnard tied the game at 43 with a three-pointer, then broke the tie a minute later with another three for the Gamecocks first lead of the game. AJ Wilson followed with a three-point play off a layup and the Gamecocks were up 49-43. James Reese V canned a three for a nine-point lead with 10:42 to play. And Brandon Martin and Erik Stevenson capped the surge with a pair of layups for a 56-44 lead with 8:37 left.
A&M went nearly seven minutes between buckets and managed just a pair of free throws during the USC run. The Aggies got to within six points on two occasions, the last with 1:52 to play. The Aggies went early to the foul strategy, a sound move considering the Gamecocks have been a poor free throw shooting team. But not on this night. The Gamecocks hit 11 of 12 free throws over the final 1:40 to seal the deal.
Reese led the Gamecocks with 20 points, his high mark in a Gamecock uniform. Stevenson and Couisnard added 13 each. USC made 9 of 19 three-pointers, 15-22 from the line, scored 21 points off turnovers and had 20 second chance points.
The win improves the Gamecocks to 13-7 overall and 4-4 in the SEC good for a sixth-place tie in the league. They will play Tuesday night at Mississippi State.