USC spoiled Murphy Holloway’s homecoming and snapped a six game losing in the process with a dramatic 63-62 win over Ole Miss Wednesday night at Colonial Life Arena. Eric Smith hit the big shot, a three, with 27 seconds left to give the Gamecocks the lead and they hung on from there to pick up a win Frank Martin’s program needed desperately.
“I am extremely proud of our guys,” Martin said. …I feel good for our kids because they have been in a grinder for three weeks and league play is unforgiving.”
Ole Miss appeared to have control of the game with a six point lead with just 3:39 left. USC finished the game on a 7-0 run and held the Rebels scoreless over the final 5:07. The final thirty seconds were full of drama. After Smith’s 3 the Gamecocks got a stop of defense and secured the rebound. With eight seconds left Smith went to the line and missed the front end of the 1-and-1. Ole Miss rebounded and pushed the ball down the court but Lakeem Jackson blocked the Rebels shot out of with .9 left. That gave Ole Miss one more crack on the inbounds play, but sharp shooter Marshall Henderson’s last second shot was blocked and the Gamecocks had their third SEC win of the season.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who worked with Martin at Cincinnati, gave his former co-worker credit for having the Gamecocks ready to play. “For a team that has lost 10 league games and six straight for them to continue to battle shows they have a great deal of pride which is a reflection of their coach.”
Freshman forward Michael Carrera led the Gamecocks with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Smith ended up with 12 points and five assist. Bruce Ellington scored nine points.
As for Holloway, the Rebels senior forward did his part in his first game at Colonial Life Arena since he transferred back to Oxford last season. The former Dutch Fork High star scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the losing effort.
USC moves to 13-13 and 3-10 in the SEC. They will play at Georgia Saturday.