For the second straight season USC played Baylor to the final seconds but couldn’t make the plays to produce a victory. Last year the Gamecocks lost in Waco 66-64. Tuesday afternoon in Columbia the Bears held on for a 69-65 win. Baylor is 3-0 in the Colonial Life Arena.
The game turned late in the first half. USC led 27-24 with just over three minutes to play but the Bears finished with a flourish for a 30-27 lead.
They stretched the lead to 10 with 4:48 left before the Gamecocks made a closing charge. Ty Johnson had a shot at a three pointer and a tie but was off the mark. The Bears went back up five on a tipin by Johnathan Motley with :54 to play.
A Michael Carrera dunk with :32 left cut the lead to 66-63 before Baylor hit one free throw and Johnson made an uncontested layup for a 67-65 score with three seconds to play. The Gamecocks fouled on the inbounds and the Bears hit both shots to close out the win.
Johnson led USC wit 21 points and Sindarious Thornwell added 16. Kenny Chery led the Bears with 20 points.
The Gamecocks play Cornell Thursday night in Charleston.