A career-high seven 3-pointers from Brenton Williams and a double-double from Michael Carrera wasn’t enough on the road as Missouri (15-4, 3-3 SEC) held off South Carolina (7-12, 0-6 SEC) for an 82-74 win at Mizzou Arena.
Williams posted 32 points as he set career highs in made 3s (7) and 3’s attempted (14). Carrera recorded his first career double-double with a season-high 16 points and 11 rebounds. Missouri was led by its scoring duo of Jordan Clarkson (22) and Jabari Brown (24) who were above their season average with 46 combined points.
The Gamecocks struggled against Missouri’s defense in the early going as the Tigers ran out to an 11-0 run, bookended by 3s from Earnest Ross and Brown. Carolina scored its first points of the game just over four minutes in as Sindarius Thornwell hit a pair from the foul line.
Despite Williams hitting his first 3-pointer of the game at the 12:47 mark, the Tigers were able to push the lead back to 11 with under 10 minutes remaining after a layup from Brown. Another 3 from Williams though started a 9-2 run from Carolina that brought the team within four at 22-18 with just over six minutes remaining the half.
The Gamecocks went cold from that point on as Ross poured in a nine points during a 16-0 run for the Tigers that gave them a 38-18 advantage with a minute and half remaining until the break.
Carrera ended the four-plus minute scoring drought with a jumper, and Williams added two from the foul line just before half, but Missouri held a 38-22 after the opening 20 minutes, shooting 13-26 (50 percent) from the field compared to Carolina’s 7-27 (25.9 percent).
After Brown opened the second half with a 3 for Missouri, Williams answered and the Gamecocks were able to climb back to within 11 two minutes later after a four-point play from Carrera. The Tigers had another answer though in the form of back-to-back 3’s from Clarkson and Brown.
Trailing 50-31 with 15:34 on the clock, Carolina went on an 8-2 spurt with 3s from Thornwell and Brian Steele to get within 13.
Down 15 with 9:25 Thornwell, the team’s second-leading scorer at that point with nine, was called for his fourth foul and subsequently sent to the bench. Williams continued to try and keep the Gamecocks in the game as he knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers in four Carolina possessions. The third one was the senior’s seventh on the day, passing his previous career high of six he tied earlier this season against Akron.
After a layup from Brown with 5:05 remaining gave the Tigers a 71-55 advantage, Carolina went on a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to six with just over a minute to go. The Tigers converted 9-12 from the line down the stretch as they held on for the 82-74 victory.
After only making seven field goals in the first half, South Carolina made 16 in the second half as they shot 50 percent during the final 20 minutes, but its 39 percent (23-59) for the game was not enough as Missouri shot 26-48 (54.2 percent). The Tigers controlled the paint, outscoring the Gamecocks 34-16.
Thornwell recorded 14 points and collected four rebounds and four assists before fouling out late in the game for South Carolina. Ross added 14 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Tigers.
**STORY FROM USC SID**