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Gamecocks come up just short of upsetting Bears, lose 64-66

South Carolina came up less than a tenth of a second short of an opportunity at two free throws to tie the game against Baylor on Tuesday afternoon.

Cooper Neill

Michael Carrera grabbed an offensive rebound and went back up, was fouled on the shot, but the referees ruled the play occurred barely after the final horn blew.  That left Baylor the winners in a hard-fought, foul-prone contest, 66-64.

The teams combined for 55 fouls and 79 free throws on the afternoon thanks to the new rules and some tight whistles in Waco.  South Carolina stayed in the game by winning the turnover battle (eight to Baylor's 15) and hitting their free throws (shooting 69% versus the Bears' 51% effort).  Had Baylor shot the same 69% from the stripe, they would've won by 10.

The teams played a torrid first half, with Carolina coming out ahead 39-38 with help from the foul trouble that Baylor's big men, Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson found themselves in.  But they weren't able to hold it as Baylor worked its way back to finally take the lead in the middle of the second half.  While Carolina never trailed by more than five in the final 10 minutes, and tied it up at 64 with 4:20 to go, the final minutes were marred by a sequence with two Gamecock turnovers, a missed lay-up, and a shot clock violation.

The player of the game for South Carolina was Sindarius Thornwell, who scored 20 points on 6-13 shooting (7-10 from the line) to go with five rebounds.  Tyrone Johnson also played a major role in keeping South Carolina around - although he shot a frustrating 1-7 from th efield, he chipped in 8 assists against only 2 turnovers, which gave the Gamecocks badly needed ball security at the point.

Up next for South Carolina is a trip to the upstate on Sunday to take on the Clemson Tigers.  The game tips at 5pm and can be watched on ESPN3.