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Game preview: South Carolina travels to Missouri looking for a turnaround

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The Gamecocks will have to try snapping a two-game skid without A.J. Lawson.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (14-14, 9-6 SEC) at Missouri (12-15, 3-12)

Start time: 3:30 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

Live stream: watchespn.com

Last game

South Carolina suffered its second straight defeat when another rally fell short in a 68-62 loss to Alabama, a team the Gamecocks have been frustratingly snakebitten against of late. Even worse, USC lost star freshman A.J. Lawson, the team’s leading scorer, to an ankle sprain that will keep him out of at least two games.

Chris Silva was the silver lining, putting up a strong double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Hassani Gravett added 12 points. The Gamecocks’ woeful offense was the story in this one, as USC shot a season-low 30.8 percent from the field — at one point missing 14 straight field goals — and went just 4 of 19 from 3-point range. Yuck.

What to watch for

In the teams’ previous matchup back in January in Columbia, the Gamecocks came away with an 85-75 victory. The Tigers had butterfingers in that one, as USC scored 33 of its points off turnovers. Lately, Missouri hasn’t been faring much better — it’s lost four straight and six of its past seven, most recently coming off defeats to Mississippi State and Florida. Jordan Geist, who put up 14 points against the Gamecocks last time, leads the Tigers with 13.9 points per game, and Jeremiah Tilmon also averages double figures with 10.6. While South Carolina has to find a way to move on without Lawson, the Tigers have a notable injury of their own: Mark Smith, who was Mizzou’s second-leading scorer, is out with a bum ankle as well. This one could be a rock fight.