Most USC basketball fans obviously had something better to do on Valentines Day than watch their team play LSU. And the Gamecocks played like they’re hearts where elsewhere, too, as the Tigers delivered a bouquet of beatdown 64-46 before a sparse crowd well below the announced attendance of 7486 at The Colonial Life Arena. LSU avenged an earlier loss to the Gamecocks in Baton Rouge to improve to 14-8 overall and 5-6 in the SEC. The Gamecocks dropped their fifth in a row and are 12-12 and 2-9 in the league.
LSU broke up a close game early in the second half and never let up outscoring the Gamecocks by 16 points over the final 20 minutes.
The Tigers, who led 26-24 at halftime, scored the first six points of the second half and went on from there to build their lead to 20 at 62-42. LSU dominated the Gamecocks on the glass winning the rebounding battle 49-34 including 18 offensive boards.
The Gamecocks never could find their shooting touch and finished the night making just 28% (18-64) of their shots. Conversely, the Tigers warmed up in the second half shooting 54% and finished the night at 44% .
Gamecock coach Frank Martin, who has held back harsh criticism of his team in his first season, cut loose on his players after this performance. “I’ve been doing this for 28 years, 9 of which was a junior varsity high school coach,” Martin said while grinding on a piece of hard candy. “That means I dealt with 14 year olds. I’ve never been more embarrassed to call myself a basketball coach than I am today.”
Lakeem Jackson was the only Gamecock to score in double figures with 10 points. He also grabbed 7 rebounds. Johnny O’Bryant III had a huge night for LSU with a career high 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
The Gamecocks return to action Saturday at Alabama.