Some nights it feels like South Carolina is on the verge of being a competitive SEC basketball team. Other nights you wonder if they've ever seen a basketball. Wednesday night's SEC road contest against Auburn fell into the latter category.
The Gamecocks hung with the Tigers early but a scoring drought late in the first half -- headlined by the complete disappearance of Sindarius Thornwell -- dug a hole that South Carolina does not have the offensive firepower to climb out of. The Gamecocks made a late surge on the strength of a series of bizarre technical fouls to cut Auburn's largest lead of 20 in half, but it was too little, too late. USC lost 83-67, falling to 10-18 overall and 3-12 in conference play
Brenton Williams got his points, as Brenton does, draining five of nine shots from beyond the arc on his way to a 26-point showing against the Tigers. Mindaugas Kacinas' 10 points made him the only other Gamecock in double digits; no other South Carolina player scored more than eight points. Sindarius Thornwell finished the with just two made field goals in 13 attempts, four rebounds, an assist and five turnovers. As ChickenHoops foresaw, K.T. Harrell and Chris Denson combined to put up almost 50 percent of Auburn's shots, and the pair combined for 33 points.
Ultimately, the Gamecocks shot the ball too poorly (team shooting percentage dipped to 29 late in the first half), turned the ball over far too often (20 times) and sent Auburn to the free throw line far too much (the Tigers had 35 free throw attempts) to have a chance to pull this one out.
With tonight's loss, USC has clinched a spot in one of the two Wednesday night games in the SEC Tournament next month in Atlanta.— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) February 27, 2014
South Carolina hosts No. 17 Kentucky on March 1. Yikes.