GREENVILLE: After trailing by as many as 21 points, South Carolina rallied and closed the gap to seven before running out of steam and falling to East Carolina 64-56 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Saturday, as part of the Greenville Winter Invitational. The Gamecocks dialed up the defensive intensity in the second half but couldn’t mount enough offense to track down ECU as their outside shooting never came around.
Hayden Brown led the Gamecocks with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half. GG Jackson added 13 points despite playing much of the second half with four fouls. Meechie Johnson joined Brown and Jackson in double figures with 13 points.
The Pirates had their way with the Gamecocks in the first half, knocking down 7 of 13 3-pointers (53.8%) on their way to a 37-18 halftime lead. USC (5-6) couldn’t keep pace and shot just 27% from the field in the first half and 38% for the game. Despite the offensive struggles, Lamont Paris’ club wouldn’t quit. South Carolina trimmed ECU’s lead to 53-46 with an 18-4 run. But the Gamecocks came up empty on their next two possessions and their fate was sealed.
USC continues to struggle away from home, losing all four of its neutral site games, so far. South Carolina returns home to face Western Kentucky, Thursday. Tipoff between the Gamecocks and the Hilltoppers is set for 7 p.m.