Darrin Horn may not want to admit it, but his USC basketball team is running on fumes. It was evident the Gamecocks are running out of gas in Saturday night’s 76-63 loss to Mississippi State at the Colonial Life Arena. That’s five straight losses and just like that Carolina is tied for last place in the SEC East with Georgia. The Bulldogs have the tiebreaker so technically the Gamecocks are holding down the basement in the Eastern division.
Darrin Horn postgame audio
Further evidence the Gamecocks are worn down is the play of senior point guard Devon Downey. He was held to just 12 points against the Bulldogs. That is his second lowest output of the year and his lowest in league play. He only made 5 of his 14 shots and was 0-7 from three point land. Horn will never admit it, and neither will Downey, but we all know what happens to your jump shot when you get mentally and physically fatigued. You can see it in Downey’s face and hear it in his voice. He knows his final season of college basketball is coming to a disappointing end and its taking a toll.
Devon Downey postgame audio
On the bright side, freshman Lakeem Jackson continues to show signs of improvement. He scored 10 points, led the team with seven rebounds, had two assist and two steals. His progress is very encouraging for Horn and the Gamecocks. Also, fellow freshman Ramon Galloway led the Gamecocks in scoring with 14 points. He made 6-15 from the floor and although he was just two of 11 from 3, his confidence and play is clearly on the rise.
Ramon Galloway postgame audio
The loss drops the Gamecocks to 14-14 and 5-9 in the conference. They will play their final home game Wednesday night against Alabama. They close out the season on the road at Vanderbilt and then it is on to the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
USC better find a win a game or two in that stretch or they could end up finishing last in the SEC East and missing out on even an NIT bid. Even with the losses of Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes that would be a tough pill for a lot of Gamecock fans to swallow.