Entering a matchup against the SEC-leading and tenth-ranked Auburn Tigers while mired in a six-game losing streak, the South Carolina Gamecocks weren’t a likely candidate to spring the upset. But that’s exactly what they did, shocking the Plainsmen with an 84-75 win on Saturday afternoon in Columbia.
Under the watchful eyes of program greats Sindarius Thornwell, Justin McKie, and Duane Notice, who were in town to collect their Final Four rings, the Gamecocks dominated Auburn in the first half and took an outlandish 46-25 lead to the locker room. (The celebration was tempered when Auburn’s Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome lower-leg injury and had to be carted off the court.) South Carolina’s lead had swelled to as many as 26 points in the first half, and the Gamecocks were owning the boards, forcing turnovers, and generally playing focused, error-free basketball.
It was inevitable, then, that the second half wouldn’t be quite so easy. Auburn started to chip away at South Carolina’s advantage, whittling the lead down to more manageable 12- and 13-point deficits before finally narrowing the margin to 64-59 with just under seven minutes left as the Gamecocks seemed to start cracking under pressure. But South Carolina responded with a seven-point spurt to keep the game safely out of Auburn’s reach and hang on for the upset. With the win, the Gamecocks notched their third victory over a ranked team this season.
Frank Booker led South Carolina with 19 points, Chris Silva collected his sixth double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Wes Myers added 13 points off the bench. This season continues to be a tale of two teams, but for now, at least, things are back to trending in a positive direction. We’ll see if the Gamecocks can continue channeling this level of play in the final weeks of the season.
Up next: South Carolina hosts Georgia on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.