USC capped off its home schedule with a hard fought 73-69 win over Missouri Tuesday night at the Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks had a 14-point second half lead, but the Tigers fought back and closed to within a point with 1:34 left. That’s when Gamecock freshman guard Devin Carter changed the trajectory of the game.
Following a timeout, Carter executed a called play in which he fed Wildens Leveque in the post. The other motion in the play drew the defenders from the middle. Carter cut into the lane, took a feed from Leveque, made a difficult shot and drew a foul. He made the free throw to complete a crucial three-point play for a 63-59 lead with 1:20 left.
After a Missouri turnover, Jermaine Couisnard knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead to six. From there the Gamecocks made their free throws and got a dunk from Carter to squash any comeback attempt by the Tigers.
Neither team could consistently find the mark from the field. The Gamecocks shot 38%, the Tigers 40%. The Gamecocks helped themselves by going 17-21 from the line and by outscoring the Tigers 16-8 in fastbreak points.
Couisnard and Carter led USC with 17 points each. Carter also led the team in rebounds with eight. Mizzou’s Javon Pickett led all scorers with 23 points.
The Gamecocks improved to 18-11 overall and 9-8 in the SEC with one regular season game left. That’s Saturday at Auburn. The Gamecocks and Florida are currently tied for sixth in the league standings following Tuesday’s games, but the Gators hold the tiebreaker over the Gamecocks.