South Carolina finally overcame its road struggles on Saturday afternoon, despite the absence of Frank Martin, when it beat Mississippi State 74-62.
Brenton Williams led the Gamecocks with 40 minutes played and 27 points on 8-15 shooting from the field (7-14 from 3), including 4 steals. Sindarius Thornwell added 22 points on 9-19 shooting with 11 rebounds (and an impressive 7 on offense), though his 6 turnovers nearly negated that effort along with his 4 assists and 2 steals.
The biggest surprise was Mindaugas Kacinas' going 6-7 from the field for 13 points with 9 rebounds and 2 steals as well. Those three players combined for 62 of the Gamecocks' 74 points in Starkville, and led Carolina to 1.14 points per possession.
Carolina scored 1.14 points per possession in large part thanks to rebounding 55% of its misses, with its 21 offensive rebounds giving them 15 extra field goal attempts on the evening. Despite the extra 9 free throw attempts for State (as well as the better shooting, with State going 17-25 from the line compared to Carolina's 8-16), the Gamecocks' significant advantage from the field mooted its other issues.
The win gives the Gamecocks a lock on 13th place in the SEC, which means they'll face off with the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the SEC tournament at 7pm ET. The winner of that first round game will face Arkansas on Thursday at approximately 3:30pm ET.