South Carolina men's basketball (14-12, 9-4 SEC) recovered after a slow defensive start with a 16-0 run to secure a conference win over Ole Miss (18-8, 8-5 SEC) with a score of 79-64 on Tuesday night at Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks struggled early on with shooting as they shot 1-8 from the field compared to the Rebels’ 5-6. This and Ole Miss’ success from downtown by shooting 3-3 from beyond the arc helped the Rebels jump out to a 13-2 lead in the first five minutes of the match.
But South Carolina's shooting improved. The Gamecocks began a 16-0 run, forcing Ole Miss into a scoring drought that lasted more than eight minutes.
During the 16-0 run, Gamecock senior guard Hassani Gravett contributed two three-pointers and senior forward Chris Silva posted five points. Silva said the team's chemistry is what makes it able to recover in these situations.
“The way we are as a team, coaches and players. We all fight as one,” Silva said.
South Carolina's stayed dominant on the court late in the first half as the Gamecocks went on another 14-9 run that made it a 33-22 lead for South Carolina.
“We definitely had to pick up the intensity,” freshman guard AJ Lawson said. “And just lock in and focus in and getting stops and making baskets.”
South Carolina ended the half with a shooting percentage of 45.5 percent after only shooting 12.5 percent in the first nine minutes of the game. The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Rebels 26-16 in the first half.
The beginning of the second half was not as successful for the Gamecocks shooting-wise, as they only made three of 12 shots from the field in the first five minutes.
Despite this, South Carolina's defense forced Ole Miss to sink only three of nine shots, maintaining the Gamecocks' lead. The Gamecocks had a 14-2 run over three minutes with the help of Gravett scoring eight points and Silva scoring four.
“I thought when the second run happened, we started to attack the screening, spacing,” head coach Frank Martin said. “I thought we played a lot better, obviously, from that frame of mind in those last five minutes of the game or so.”
This is South Carolina's ninth SEC win and also serves as another quadrant one win to add to the team's tournament resume.
The Gamecocks will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. The game can be seen on the SEC Network and tipoff is set for 6 p.m.