Home woes continue for #Gamecocks in 66-51 loss to Mississippi State (AUDIO)

Josh Gray grabbed a career high 14 rebounds in the loss to Mississippi State (Chris Gillespie)

Colonial Life Arena: Turnovers and poor shooting have been a theme for South Carolina and that continued Tuesday night in a 66-51 loss to Mississippi State at the Colonial Life Arena. The loss completed an 0-5 month for the Gamecocks at the CLA.

South Carolina committed 18 turnovers and was limited to less than 35 percent shooting to fall to 8-14 overall and 1-8 at the halfway point in the SEC season. It’s the sixth straight loss overall and the eighth loss in the last nine games for the Gamecocks.

GG Jackson scored 15 points and Meechie Johnson added 13 but the Gamecocks two leading scorers were a combined 8-of-26 from the field with 12 of South Carolina’s 18 turnovers. Mississippi State scored 21 points off those turnovers.

Josh Gray added 14 rebounds to go along with six points for USC, but the Bulldogs won the battle of the boards by a 33-27 margin.

Mississippi State (14-8, 2-7) got 22 points from Shakeel Moore and 15 points from Tolu Smith. Those two helped the Bulldogs hold a 42-16 advantage on points in the paint.

“A lot of that was on us,” South Carolina coach Lamont Paris said of the turnovers. “This isn’t to take anything away from them at all, the do it to a lot of people. Some of it is us growing in our game and attacking and making the decision that is there.”

Things looked promising early. South Carolina hadn’t held a lead at home in SEC play this season but scored early and often enough for a while. Johnson, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half, was keeping the Gamecocks close and they had a 22-21 lead with 4:25 remaining in the half on a Johnson 2-pointer.

But much like has happened all season, a scoring lull by the Gamecocks opened things for their opponent and MSU was right there to pounce when it happened.

This time it was a 17-5 run sandwiched around the halftime break that doomed South Carolina. That allowed the Bulldogs to turn a 22-21 deficit into a 38-26 lead with 17:56 remaining. The Gamecocks got whittled the lead to six points a few minutes later but that as close as it would get the rest of the way.

“Nobody wants to lose, especially six games in a row, and you’re right there to win those games,” Johnson said. “But we know we have a lot of young players, new faces (and) with that being said, just got to lift a brother up.”

Chico Carter only played 12 minutes for the Gamecocks but only two minutes in the second half because of a tendinitis injury. The Gamecocks third leading scorer on the season didn’t attempt a shot.

Freshman Daniel Hankins-Sanford missed the game due to a family issue. He should be available for the next game.

South Carolina returns to action Saturday afternoon with a 3:30 p.m. home contest against Arkansas.   

Story by Chris Dearing

Final Stats

GG Jackson led USC with 15 points but did not grab a rebound (Chris Gillespie)

Lamont Paris postgame press conference

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