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Game preview: South Carolina faces LSU in battle of SEC unbeatens

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These two teams are perfect in conference play. One won’t be after tonight.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (9-7, 4-0 SEC) at LSU (13-3, 3-0)

Start time: 7 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

Live stream: watchespn.com

Last game

The red-hot Gamecocks continued their fantastic 2019, battling back from a 12-point deficit at Vanderbilt to wrestle an improbable 74-71 win away from the Commodores in the final seconds. Freshman A.J. Lawson led all scorers with 24 points, Hassani Gravett had 17 (including seven crucial ones late in the game), and Keyshawn Bryant posted 13 as he continues to bloom in conference play. Most impressively, South Carolina pulled this off without major contributions from veteran big men Chris Silva (two points, three rebounds, and fouled out) and Maik Kotsar (three points, four rebounds), who have been key to the recent run of success.

What to watch for

LSU joins the Gamecocks and third-ranked Tennessee at the top of the SEC standings with an undefeated mark of its own. These teams have been on somewhat parallel tracks — the Tigers are winners of six in a row, while the Gamecocks have racked up five straight. Both teams also allow around 71 points per game, and both have similar rebounding numbers (37.6 per game for USC, 36.8 for LSU) and blocks (5.1 and 5.2, respectively).

LSU boasts conference wins over Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, and also have a victory over surprising Furman to their name. The Tigers are 8-0 at home, where they’re averaging a robust 84.8 points per game, and are overall third in the SEC in field goal percentage (49.1). Point guard Tremont Waters makes the Tigers tick with his 13.6 points, 6.2 assists, and three steals per game, while Skylar Marys (13.3), Naz Reid (12.9), and Ja’vonte Smart (10.3) join him in double-figure scoring. This will be another tough road test for the Gamecocks, so we’ll see if they can grind another one out.