South Carolina's men's basketball program won 17 games all of last season.
The Gamecocks just tallied win No. 17 for this year in dramatic fashion on Jan. 19. A 77-74 overtime road win over Ole Miss Tuesday night perhaps signified just how far this program has come in the Frank Martin era.
His team seemed dead in the water for about 35 minutes of game action before coming alive and ripping a win from the heart of the Rebels. That wouldn't have happened three years ago. It wouldn't have happened two years ago or last year. Heck, it may not have even happened a month ago. Ole Miss led for the majority of the game in a hostile environment. This Gamecock team yet again revealed their resilient side and pulled a win out of their a**. That's what good teams do.
South Carolina started the game hitting just one of their first nine shots. They converted five of their next six, taking an early 13-12 lead with under 12 minutes left in the first half. That would be the last time the Gamecocks would lead in regulation. USC led for all of two minutes in the two 20-minute halves Tuesday night.
After the Gamecocks took their lead, Ole Miss scored six consecutive points and their offense became tough to handle. Stefan Moody was carving up the South Carolina defense and while he wasn't scoring in bunches like he's known to do, he was finding open teammates as Martin's players put all their effort into stopping the SEC's leading scorer. The Rebels held a 39-29 lead entering halftime.
Carolina found some life out of the locker room, trimming the Ole Miss lead down to three in the half's first three minutes. However, four minutes later, the Rebels built their lead to double-digits once again, 54-43.
The Gamecocks seemed destined to take another SEC road loss. Moody was continuing to find holes in the defense and South Carolina wasn't making gains on the offensive end. Martin's team never quit though and they ended up catching a break. Moody suffered a hamstring injury with five minutes to play. The senior would try to play but he was not 100 percent and his team would have to go several minutes without their leader on the floor.
South Carolina took advantage with a 13-2 run in the final five minutes to tie the game at the end of regulation. It included an 11-0 stretch over the final four minutes that started with a thunderous dunk from freshman Jamall Greggory. Greggory played a career-high 18 minutes Tuesday night and should be celebrated for his key role in the win.
USC rebounded a missed Ole Miss three-pointer with the shot clock turned off. Duane Notice drove to the bucket with six seconds to play for a contested layup in traffic. His attempt rolled off the right side of the rim and the game was sent to overtime.
Notice knocked down a trey to start overtime, giving South Carolina its first lead since the 11:36 mark in the first half. Greggory sunk a pair of free throws to give USC a two possession lead. Ole Miss rebounded tie the game with less than a minute left in overtime.
Michael Carrera was there to save the day - again. The senior forward scored four consecutive points tie the game in regulation then followed it with five points in the final minute of overtime to seal South Carolina's first win in Oxford since 2008.
Carrera scored a team-high 19 points in the win, with nine of them coming either in the last minute of regulation or overtime. Laimonas Chatkevicius posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Gamecocks have an opportunity to surpass last season's win total on Saturday when they again hit the road for an SEC road contest at Tennessee.