Sam Muldrow’s triple double led USC to victory in its SEC opener against #22 Vanderbilt 83-75 at Colonial Life Arena Saturday afternoon. The senior filled up the box score with 16 points, 14 boards, and 10 blocks. Perhaps more important than his stat-line was the leadership he provided to his young teammates, who have been thrown right into the fire and are growing up in front of their fans’ eyes.
Darrin Horn has put a lot of trust in his freshman this season, continually inserting three into the starting lineup, and that faith is starting to pay off. PG Bruce Ellington scored 22 while grabbing 7 boards and dishing out 4 assists, and he did so against a tough Vanderbilt defense. He also tied his career best with six made 3-pointers.
Vanderbilt had its way with USC in the first half, leading by as many as 12, but the Gamecocks fought back in the second to send the game into OT. In the extra period it was all USC as the Gamecocks outscored the Commodores 11-3.
USC shot 44% from the field, 37% from beyond the arc, but continued to struggle from the line, shooting only 58%. USC out-rebounded the Commodores 48-41, and held a 12-1 advantage in blocked shots.
John Jenkins of Vanderbilt led all scorers with 27, while Ellington led the Gamecocks with 22.
USC (10-4, 1-0) hits the hardwood again January 12 at Alabama while Vanderbilt (11-3, 0-1) looks to bounce back January 12 at home against Georgia.