The South Carolina Gamecocks were dealt a double-whammy on the hardwood on Wednesday night, falling 84-70 to the Ole Miss Rebels and learning that starting forward Justin Minaya, who had been playing really well of late, is out indefinitely.
The junior, who was averaging 8.9 points per game on 43% shooting, dislocated his thumb against Missouri and was hoping to avoid the need for surgery. Unfortunately, the injury curse has once again derailed another Gamecock basketball season that looked like it was pulling out of a nosedive, and Minaya will miss an undetermined amount of time as he recovers.
The on-court news wasn’t much better for South Carolina last night, as the Gamecocks — who had been consistent on the road in SEC play thus far — finally turned in a dud in Oxford. The Rebels led wire-to-wire, starting things off with an emphatic 8-0 run, and built an advantage as high as 19 points while South Carolina struggled to get it going. Breein Tyree went off for Ole Miss, posting a game-high 38 points, and the Rebs snapped what had been a promising three-game streak for USC.
Jermaine Couisnard did the heavy lifting for South Carolina, scoring a career-high 28 points, and Maik Kotsar added 19 points and eight rebounds. The Gamecocks posted one of their best marks from the free-throw line (78%) and shot a respectable 41% from the floor, but were out-rebounded 39-29 and got just eight points from their bench while Ole Miss shot 47% for the game and made half of its 3-point attempts (6 of 12).
South Carolina (13-9, 5-4 SEC) hosts Texas A&M on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Gamecocks took down the Aggies on the road earlier this season in an 81-67 romp.