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Game preview: South Carolina’s road trip continues with tough stop at No. 5 Kentucky

Another week, another top-five team on the schedule.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (11-10, 6-2 SEC) at No. 5 Kentucky (18-3, 7-1)

Start time: 7 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

Live stream: watchespn.com

Last game

The Gamecocks got their road trip off to a good start with a wire-to-wire 86-80 win over the rival Georgia Bulldogs, although as the score would imply, the game was not without some drama. Despite South Carolina building a lead as large as 15 points, UGA refused to go away, and made the Gamecocks work for it until the bitter end. Hassani Gravett’s late 3-pointer gave USC the breathing room it needed, and his 13-point effort off the bench joined big performances from A.J. Lawson and Chris Silva (19 points reach). Offensively, it was a great night for the Gamecocks, as they shot 56.9 percent from the field and a smoking 68.8 percent from 3.

What to watch for

Fifth-ranked Kentucky is on an absolute tear right now, the winners of eight straight after opening SEC play with an uninspiring loss to Alabama. While the Wildcats are still looking up at Tennessee in the conference standings, they’re clearly getting hot at a good time and look poised to challenge the Vols. UK is, of course, absurdly talented as usual, with four players averaging double figures: Keldon Johnson’s 14.2 points per game paces the Wildcats, and he’s complemented by Tyler Herro (13.5), PJ Washington (13.5) and Travis Reid (12.0). Washington, in particular, has come on lately, putting up 20.5 points and 12 rebounds across both of UK’s wins last week. This looks like a very different squad than the one that got embarrassed by Duke early in the season, and the Wildcats are currently undefeated at home. It’ll be another tall task for the Gamecocks.