Unable to solve the hot shooting and defensive pressure of No. 9 Oklahoma State (8-1) in the first half, South Carolina (2-3) fell tonight, 79-52, at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Gamecocks were led by a strong performance in the second half from freshman guard Jaylen Shaw, who posted 13 points, going 4-5 from the field went 3-4 from 3-point range. Junior Tyrone Johnson chipped in 12 points as well. The combined 25 points though was not enough as the Cowboys’ starters, led by Le’Bryan Nash, who had a game-high 16 points, combined for 60 points as all five were in double figures.
Forward Demetrius Henry opened up the game by giving the Gamecocks an early 2-0. Oklahoma State though clamped down on defense after the early bucket holding South Carolina to only one point over the next five-plus minutes as the Cowboys when on a 16-1 run led by the guards Marcus Smart and Markel Brown.
Duane Notice ended the run with a lay-up to make it 16-5 just before the under-12 media timeout. Out of the timeout though, Cowboy center Michael Cobbins had a put-back dunk off of a missed 3-pointer and Oklahoma State’s run was back on.
The Cowboys pushed their lead to 27-5 before Johnson hit a 3 with 7:30 remaining in the half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Smart and Phil Forte minutes later through increased the home team’s lead to 35-9.
The Gamecocks held OSU to 1-7 from the field during the final minutes of the half as the Cowboys took a 39-15 lead into the break as the scoring trio of Smart, Brown and Nash combined for 29 points.
Oklahoma State took advantage of 13 South Carolina turnovers, scoring 21 points off of them as the team hit 13-26 (50 percent) from the field and were 10-14 (71.4 percent) from the line. The Gamecocks went 4-20 (20 percent) from the field.
Despite the halftime deficit, the Gamecocks continued to battle over the second half. Shaw kick-started a spurt midway through the half as he connected on a 3-pointer and followed that up with a dunk 30 seconds later to cut the lead to 50-28. Johnson followed that up with a lay-in and pair of free throws before Oklahoma State’s Brian Williams responded.
With under nine minutes remaining in the game, Shaw was back it from beyond the arc as he hit his second and third 3’s of the game just minutes apart, with the second making it 70-44 game.
Throughout the final 20 minutes, Oklahoma State outscored South Carolina by three as the Gamecocks found a better rhythm, shooting 12-25 (48 percent) in the second half after going 4-20 (20 percent) in the opening half. The Cowboys though scored 14 points from the free throw line as they maintained their lead.
Guard Bruce Ellington rejoined the team this week after competing with the football team throughout the season. He saw his first game action, playing 17 minutes.
South Carolina will be off until Dec. 17 when it hosts Manhattan at Colonial Life Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., ET.
Story by USC Sports Information