The game could not have gotten off to a more frustrating start for the South Carolina Gamecocks but a late surge in the first half coupled with a better second half performance was enough to win on the road against the Missouri Tigers.
Carolina struggled from the opening tip, committing more travelling violations than baskets made in the first six minutes of the game. Even though the Gamecocks were struggling, they found themselves down only 7-0 after being held scoreless until the 14:48 mark. Carolina was able to mount a run to take a 10-9 lead. From there on, Rakym Felder took over the first half. The freshman guard scored 12 of the Gamecocks’ last 16 points before the break. He hit three of four from beyond the arc, including a long-range three at the end of the shot clock before later banking one in. His points gave the Gamecocks a 26-22 lead at the break.
The second half started out similar to the first. After about eight minutes, Carolina began to pull away and built a double-digit lead. They gained their largest lead at the midway point, going up 46-33. Missouri battled back, cutting the deficit to single digits often. But the Gamecocks answered every time it seemed Mizzou was going to make things interesting at the end. Duane Notice also found his shooting stroke in the second half. The senior hit a pair of big three pointers down the stretch.
The two teams continued trading baskets in the final minutes as Carolina held a 60-53 lead with a minute remaining. Mizzou failed to score again while Felder and Sindarius Thornwell combined for three free throws to give the Gamecocks a 63-53 win.
Thornwell led the Gamecocks with a double-double, scoring 16 and gathering 11 rebounds. He had a poor shooting night (4-15, 1-7 from three) but went 7-7 from the foul line. The only other Gamecock in double figures was Felder, finishing with 13 points. Notice (9) and P.J. Dozier (7) scored all of their points in the second half.
Missouri finished with a huge edge in the paint, outscoring the Gamecocks 36-12. Down low, they were led by Russell Woods as he scored a game-high 18 points. The Tigers were unable to get the three point shot going, finishing 1-17 from beyond the arc.
Next up for the Gamecocks is another road trip as they take on the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on Wednesday at 9 p.m.