USC forced overtime on a Hayden Brown layup with 0.3 left in regulation, but the Gamecocks could not keep up with Vanderbilt in the extra five-minute session and fell to the Commodores 84-79 Tuesday night in their SEC opener in Nashville. The Commodores broke a 71-71 tie in overtime with 4 straight points and led by at least three points the rest of the way in breaking a two-game losing streak to the Gamecocks.
Vandy protected their lead down the stretch of overtime from the line. Over the final 2:24 the Commodores went 8-9 from the line on a night in which they outscored the Gamecocks 23-10 from the stripe. Vandy went 13-14 from the foul line in an overtime in which they scored 17 points.
The Gamecocks owned a 7-point lead at 45-38 after Meechie Johnson nailed a three-pointer with 13:15 to play. They held the lead until the 4:04 mark when Vandy tied things up at 61. The ‘Dores were up by 4 with 1:03 to play, but Johnson hit a layup with :50 left, and after a Vanderbilt miss, the Gamecocks got the final shots with Hayden Brown putting back an offensive rebound for the tie at the buzzer.
Four Gamecocks scored in double-figures led by Chico Carter Jr. with 24 points. Johnson had 18 points and GG Jackson added 13 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Ezra Manjon led Vanderbilt with 24 points and Liam Robbins added 22 points and 7 boards. They were part of a 64-point output by the Vandy bench.
The Gamecocks are 7-7 and 0-1. They will host Tennessee Saturday afternoon.