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Gamecocks gut out 80-78 victory against Chanticleers

Well, it wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Hassani Gravett’s 3-point play in the final seconds averted a crisis and lifted the Gamecocks to an 80-78 win over Coastal Carolina on Saturday.

Like many of South Carolina’s games so far this season, the Gamecocks put on an up-and-down performance against the Chanticleers. The teams went into halftime tied at 47, and whenever it looked like South Carolina might seize control and put the game away, the Chants responded with a big shot. The Gamecocks’ defense was out of sorts for long stretches, frequently collapsing on drivers and offering open perimeter looks to the Chanticleers — who obliged by making 42% of their 3-point attempts. Coastal also outrebounded South Carolina 33-31, and the Gamecocks — particularly their guards — were careless with 14 turnovers. More troubling, South Carolina hit just 22 of its 31 free throws.

But it wasn’t all bad for USC. Frank Booker led the Gamecocks (8-2) with 19 points, Chris Silva had 15 with nine rebounds, and Justin Minaya added 13 points.

Former South Carolina guard Jaylen Shaw paced Coastal Carolina (5-5) with 17 points, and looked to have scored the game-winning basket until Gravett came up with some heroics of his own. Shaw got one last chance at a wide-open look to force overtime, but his shot missed. That would’ve been a tough pill for USC to swallow, but fortunately, the Gamecocks remained perfect at home.

Up next: South Carolina takes a much-needed 10-day break before traveling to Clemson on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.