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Gamecock women outlast Texas A&M; men falter at Ole Miss

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South Carolina’s basketball teams split their conference openers this weekend.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 South Carolina 61, No. 22 Texas A&M 59

The Gamecocks came out on top in another nailbiting thriller against the Aggies, lifted by A’ja Wilson’s game-winner with 1.3 seconds left on Sunday.

South Carolina, which trailed by 11 points late in the third quarter, went on a 15-2 run to take a 51-49 advantage, and after hitting a few free throws, looked to be home free. But Texas A&M (11-4, 0-1 SEC) wouldn’t quit, and with the game tied at 59, appeared to have the game-winner when Danni Williams went streaking down the court for an uncontested layup. Incredibly, she double-dribbled, and Wilson’s bank shot in the lane allowed South Carolina to grab the victory.

Wilson powered the Gamecocks (12-1, 1-0) with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Joining her in double figures were Doniyah Cliney (16) and Ty Harris (11). Lindsey Spann returned to the lineup after sitting out with a knee injury, but played sparingly.

Up next: The Gamecocks hit the road to Oxford on Thursday to tangle with Ole Miss.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi 74, South Carolina 69

The Gamecocks couldn’t withstand a late Rebels run and Ole Miss made 20 of its 23 free throws, including a critical batch of them in the game’s final minutes, to give South Carolina an SEC-opening loss on Sunday.

Chris Silva was the Gamecocks’ top performer, scoring 21 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, but ran into foul trouble, a familiar nemesis. Frank Booker joined him with 21 points of his own, shouldering the load in the backcourt after Hassani Gravett was unable to play. (Yes, South Carolina’s guard situation has somehow become even more perilous.) While the Gamecocks won the battle on the boards, 43-30, free-throw shooting continues to be spotty (17 of 26) and South Carolina shot just 38% from the floor. Even still, the Gamecocks had a chance to come away with a victory on the road, but just couldn’t turn back a 16-6 Ole Miss run as the clock started winding down.

Up next: The Gamecocks (9-4, 0-1 SEC) host Missouri on Wednesday.