Down two points with less than a minute to go, South Carolina needed to make a stop. Instead, Jarvis Summers drove to the basket, drew contact, and sunk the free throw to effectively put the game out of reach. This capped a late-game surge from Ole Miss in which the Rebels overcame a double-digit second half deficit to hand the Gamecocks their seventh conference loss and likely renew concerns over South Carolina's ability to close out close games.
Turnovers killed the Gamecocks yet again in Oxford, and it was the usual suspects handing the ball over to the other team. Duane Notice had an incredible first half. He was driving to the basket, finding open teammates down low, and playing great defense on the other end. When he was doing all of these things, it was easy to overlook the turnovers--he finished with eight of the team's total of 18. But in the second half the bad far outweighed the good and that, combined with the fact that USC's hot first-half shooting cooled off, doomed the Gamecocks to their seventh conference loss in eight tries.
I despise turnovers with a passion. Valuing the ball is a must. Gotta stop letting my team down #MentallyStrong— Duane OFT Notice (@DuuTakeNotice) February 1, 2014
Brenton Williams and Sindarius Thornwell led Carolina with 23 and 18 points, respectively. The Gamecocks' star freshman also pulled in five rebounds and had six assists but, like Notice, had issues handling the basketball. Thornwell turned it over to the Rebels on six different occasions on Saturday.
Check back later for more thorough analysis from ChickenHoops. In the meantime, the outcome is disappointing, but let's keep in mind that Ole Miss was an NCAA tournament team last year and will likely be one again this year. This program is still headed in the right direction.
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