David Chen / The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina falls to Alabama in final five

The South Carolina men's basketball team dropped a crucial SEC loss to Alabama on Tuesday night after playing a close game, further slimming their NCAA tournament chances.

The Gamecocks shot from a season low of 30.8 percent, resulting in a 68-62 loss to the Crimson Tide. 

Redshirt senior Hassani Gravett said South Carolina's limited shooting and inability to not finish in the final five minutes allowed Alabama to carry a 14-3 lead. 

"I think it is the matter of execution. First half hurt us. We shot like 7 for 30...we got to hit our shots,"  Gravett  said. 

South Carolina shot 21.2 percent as a team in the first half. At halftime, the Gamecocks were only down six points. Head coach Frank Martin said that going into half time he was optimistic thinking that the Gamecocks couldn't shoot any worse, but he was disappointed that his team didn't close out the game after tying it up 56-56.

Senior forward Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Silva reiterated that team had a problem executing against Alabama. 

South Carolina almost doubled their field goal percentage in the second half, but it wasn't enough to secure the late comeback and win a key game at home.

Freshman A.J. Lawson scored nine points for the Gamecocks until he suffered an ankle injury late in the second half and his absence was made known.

"It is difficult...a man goes down, I guess somebody has to step up," Silva said.

Martin is not upset by a lack of effort shown by the Gamecocks, he said, and he couldn't ask them to practice or play harder than they already do.

"We lost. We are not going to dwell on it," Silva said. "We just gotta get up tomorrow and go to the gym and win the rest of the games."

South Carolina is looking to make a push to possibly sneak into the NCAA tournament, but it won't be easy with two of the last three games on the road. The tournament starts against Missouri on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The Gamecocks are also looking to end the season by clinching a double bye going into the SEC tournament.   

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