South Carolina men's basketball failed to beat No. 5 Kentucky on Tuesday night's game after an inconsistent play, with a score of 76-48.
The first half was competitive with the leader of the game going back and forth between the Gamecocks and the Wildcats seven times in the first 14 minutes alone. However, South Carolina was never able to establish a comfortable lead as a result of inaccurate free throw shooting and poor rebounding performance.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the first half, South Carolina led Kentucky by a score of 24-22. However, just before the half ended, Kentucky went on a 17-4 offensive run to lead the game 39-28 at halftime. The final basket of the first half was a dunk from freshman Kentucky player E.J. Montgomery off Gamecock Keyshawn Bryant's turnover.
This wasn't Bryant's only turnover. The freshman racked up five, the most of anyone on South Carolina's team. Throughout the game, there were 19 turnovers total which resulted in 26 Wildcat points.
South Carolina continued to struggle during the second half as several members of the team were in serious foul trouble.
Freshman Alanzo Frink fouled out of the game in eight minutes, having only put two points on the board. Chris Silva was frustrated with his performance, committing as many fouls as points he put up — four.
This has become a rut that the Gamecocks have found themselves in this season along with poor offensive rebounding. Compared to Kentucky's 21 rebounds, South Carolina only had nine.
In addition, free throw accuracy is another area in which the Gamecocks lose a lot of momentum. Of 14 opportunities at the line, South Carolina managed to put away only five shots. On the other hand, Kentucky saw much greater accuracy, sinking 21 of their 27 attempts.
As a result of the Gamecocks inconsistency, the Wildcats came out on top with a score of 76-48. South Carolina's shooting accuracy over the entire game was less than 40 percent, the first time it has ever dropped that low in SEC play. Graduate student Tre Campbell and freshman A.J. Lawson were the sole Gamecocks to put up double-digit points on the board with 12 each.
The Gamecocks will be back in action for their tenth SEC game of the season against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Colonial Life Arena.