The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Men's basketball suffers blowout loss in season finale against Kentucky

<p>Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant goes for a layup in South Carolina's loss to Kentucky on Saturday. The Gamecocks fell to 6-14 after the loss.</p>

Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant goes for a layup in South Carolina's loss to Kentucky on Saturday. The Gamecocks fell to 6-14 after the loss.

In its final game of the regular season, the South Carolina men’s basketball team got blown out by the Kentucky Wildcats 92-64.

South Carolina’s defense could not stop Kentucky from scoring. Letting teams score easy points has been a consistent issue for the Gamecocks this year. Saturday's game marked the sixth time the team allowed at least 90 points in a game this season.

“We lost our fight defensively,” head coach Frank Martin said. “If you don’t have fights when you play teams in the SEC, they are going to score at will.” 

Freshman guard Brandon Boston Jr. came out hot for the Wildcats. He scored 8 of the team’s first 12 points to start the game. 

Kentucky held a 36-28 lead at halftime. The Gamecocks were still shooting better than the Wildcats at the half, but only slightly. Kentucky continued to make 3-pointers, getting its total up to five. South Carolina could not hit any. 

South Carolina lost its rebound advantage by halftime and turned the ball over 10 times. This allowed the Wildcats to score 9 points off of turnovers.

Once again, South Carolina was looking to make a second-half comeback. Once again, one didn't materialize.

The second half couldn’t have started worse for the Gamecocks. The team came out of the locker room shooting cold — 1 for 5 to start the half. 

The team was shooting 4-12 five minutes into the half, while Kentucky’s shooting started to heat up. Graduate student guard Davion Mintz drilled four 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the half for the Wildcats. The team shot 7-11 from the floor during this stretch, putting South Carolina in an even bigger hole. 

Kentucky continued to expand its lead as the half went on. With nine minutes left in the game, the Wildcats were shooting 12-19 from the floor and 6-8 from three in the 2nd half. Kentucky controlled the boards 16-8, giving themselves more opportunities to score. 

The Wildcat lead kept growing from there. South Carolina lost the will to keep fighting and Kentucky extended its lead to 33 points at one point late in the half. The team outscored the Gamecocks 56-36 overall in the half. 

“The second half was embarrassing,” Martin said. “The resolve, the lack of fight, was disappointing."

South Carolina finished the game shooting 38.2%. The bench gave the team a slight boost on offense, scoring 30 points.

The Gamecocks' inability to hit three-point shots cost the team dramatically. South Carolina hit just 2 of its 17 attempts. Meanwhile, on defense, the team allowed Kentucky to hit 13 of 27.

Boston finished the game strong for the Wildcats, scoring 21 points and adding four rebounds and three assists. 

Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant led the way for South Carolina with 16 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Jalyn McCreary added a career-high 14 points off the bench. 

The Gamecocks wrap up what was an unusual and rocky regular season with Saturday's tough blowout loss. The team will be back on the court during the 2021 SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee next week. 


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