You could be forgiven for being down on the South Carolina’s men’s basketball team entering Wednesday night.
Coming into a matchup against traditional SEC bully and tenth-ranked Kentucky, the Gamecocks had dropped both of their only other league contests: first, a frustrating affair against Florida that saw the Gators ultimately run away with it, then a heart-breaking, one-point loss to Tennessee on the road when the Vols drew a game-winning charge call.
Thankfully, Jermaine Couisnard and the Gamecocks were still plenty fired up despite those defeats, handing the visiting Wildcats an 81-78 loss with Couisnard’s bank-shot, buzzer-beating 3-pointer, finally giving the Columbia crowd something to cheer about.
Couisnard was the obvious star of the show for South Carolina, pouring in a career-high 26 points en route to his game-winner. He wasn’t the only Gamecock to put on a show, though — four others reached double figures, with Keyshawn Bryant leading the way with 15 points and Justin Minaya adding 11 and T.J. Moss contributing 10 off the bench.
The Gamecocks were within striking distance at the half, down 33-25, but were extremely fortunate in that regard. The ice-cold offense we’d suffered through against Stetson and Tennessee had once again reared its ugly head, with South Carolina missing its first several attempts from the field and closing the half with a miserable 25% shooting performance.
But thankfully, there are two halves to a basketball game, although the second started much like the first, with Kentucky eventually building a 14-point lead. The Gamecocks ststarted to put together a comebackrted to put togethera, though, and took an improbable 76-71 advantage with 1:46 left.
That’s an eternity in basketball time, however, and the Wildcats battled back to knot things up at 78 when A.J. Lawson — who’s been mired in a really unfortunate sophomore slump — missed two free throws that could’ve iced the game. Fortunately, Couisnard was there to pick up the slack and give South Carolina the victory.
At the risk of being That Guy, I’m not gonna sit here and say all is well. The Gamecocks are still a bad shooting team, whether it’s from the field or the free-throw line, and they’ve got quite a hole to dig themselves out of if they’re going to turn this season around. But tonight was a huge, and most importantly, extremely fun win. Let’s enjoy it and celebrate a top-10 upset!