South Carolina started well with Sindarius Thornwell scoring the team’s first 10 points to give them an early eight point lead. After a lot of quick whistles at the start, Mississippi State grew into the game, led by the three point shot. Freshman Tyson Carter had the hot hand, scoring 16 points in the first half. He hit four of the Bulldogs eight three point shots at the break. After going down 31-24, the Gamecocks finished the half on a 12-5 run, capped by a Just McKie three before the buzzer to tie the game at 36 at the break.
Chris Silva started the second half strong, scoring six points in the first three minutes to hit double figures. Silva’s run gave Carolina a seven point but the Bulldogs were quick to respond. They would re-take the lead mid-way through the second half on a run led by Xavian Stapleton that was capped off by a pair of free throws from Silva’s fourth personal.
It was back and forth until a 9-0 run by Carolina put them up eight under three minutes to go. Duane Notice and Maik Kotsar started the run and Thornwell provided and exclamation point with lay-up coming from a steal at mid-court. Silva then fouled out as Mississippi State cut the lead back to five with 1:22 remaining. Thornwell then put the game away with a tough finish at the basket to go up seven under a minute remaining. After some foul shots in the final forty seconds, Carolina was able to leave Starkville with a 77-73 win.
Thornwell led the way for Carolina with 28 points on 9-15 shooting. Chris Silva fouled out with 15 points, good enough for second on the team. Maik Kotsar was the third and final Gamecock in double figures with 10. He had yet to hit 10 points in SEC play, having failed to do so since the December win over Lander. Carolina struggled at the foul line again, shooting 17-29. They did however win the battle in the paint 36-24.
Carter led the Bulldogs with a career-high 22 points. Mario Kegler (16) and Stapleton (11) were the only other Bulldogs in double figures. Quinndary Weatherspoon came into the game averaging 17.3 but he was held to just five points. State hit 11 three pointers, matching Texas A&M for the most South Carolina has given up all year.
Next up for the Gamecocks is a home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.