PJ Dozier scored a career-high 26 points against Clemson Wednesday night, but it wasn't enough to secure the win for South Carolina, as the Gamecocks fell 62-60 to in-state rival Clemson.
Dozier's performance marked his fifth straight game with at least 20 points, but he didn't get much help offensively. Duane Notice scored just four points on 1-for-9 shooting, putting him at 6-for-31 over the last three games.
Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar pitched in solid offensive games, combining for 24 points, but both were off the court in the final minutes, as Silva fouled out, and Kotsar sat with cramps.
Outside of Dozier, Silva and Kotsar, the Gamecocks scored just ten points and three bench points for the game. Poor guard play outside of the sophomore point guard became the story, as Notice, Rakym Felder, Justin McKie and Hassani Gravett made just three of their 20 shot attempts.
"We've got to find someone else to help on the perimeter right now," head coach Frank Martin said after the loss. "That's gonna be our mission as we go into Christmas."
The game featured 17 lead changes as neither team ever pulled ahead by more than four, and it came down to the final shot. After a Clemson missed free throw left the margin at two, and Dozier pulled up for three with a few seconds remaining, hitting the back of the rim, sealing a Clemson victory.
The last South Carolina possession upset fans, but the one before it didn't make them any happier, as Gravett and McKie hoisted contested corner threes with time left on the shot clock. Dozier didn't have a touch, and Clemson extended a one-point lead to two at the free throw line.
The Gamecocks led for the majority of the second half, but Martin stressed that the team played poorly down the stretch, committing bad fouls and not boxing out. Clemson finished the game with 11 offensive rebounds, two of which came in the last 2:13.
South Carolina was without All-SEC guard Sindarius Thornwell for the fourth straight game, as the senior is suspended. The Gamecocks are 2-2 in Thornwell's absence.
South Carolina will return after Christmas to host Lander on Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.