Putting the ball through the hoop proved too difficult a task for the South Carolina men’s basketball team in Wednesday night's 69-48 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
South Carolina has now lost six straight games and falls to 5-12 on the year and 3-10 in the SEC.
South Carolina’s shooting put it in a double-digit deficit early. Five minutes into the game, the team was shooting 2-8 from the field and 1-5 from three while Mississippi State shot 3-5 and made a pair of three-pointers.
Mississippi State started the game playing physically, driving to the paint aggressively and forcing the defending Gamecock players to foul. The Bulldogs scored 5 of its first 8 points from the free-throw line.
South Carolina's shooting did not get better as the first half went on. With five minutes to go in the half, the Gamecocks' shooting percentage dropped to 20.8%. It was even worse from behind the three-point line, where the team shot 11.1% in the game's opening 15 minutes.
“I thought we played a pretty good defensive game, it just came down to us not making shots,” South Carolina junior forward Keyshawn Bryant said.
South Carolina managed to force 11 turnovers in the first half. The team did not capitalize off these mistakes, however, converting them into just 3 points.
Mississippi State was able to go into halftime up 15 thanks to its free-throw shooting and rebounds. Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were the worst free-throw shooting team in the SEC, but the team shot 11-11 from the line in the first half Wednesday night. It also outrebounded the Gamecocks 26-11 over that span, scoring 6 second-chance points.
Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart filled up the stat sheet for the Bulldogs in the first half. He had 12 points, three rebounds and five assists.
The Gamecocks shot a lowly 32.3% the rest of the way, ultimately failing to score at least 50 points for the first time this season. On the night, the team shot 29% from the field and an even worse 19% from three.
“Basketball is not really rocket science. When you shoot 29% from the field on the road in the SEC, you're not winning,” Martin said.
The Bulldogs controlled the game from start to finish. It used its size and physicality to keep the Gamecocks out of the game. The team shot 47.1% from the field in the game and went 17-22 from the free-throw line. It outrebounded South Carolina 49-24 and got 11 second-chance points.
Only two Gamecocks scored double figures: Bryant led the team with 14 and junior guard A.J. Lawson had 10.
South Carolina's next game is at Georgia on Saturday at 1 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network.