The Gamecocks walk into Lexington and leave with the upset victory over Kentucky 71-68. This game was by far the best South Carolina has played all season, and is a great way to get the Gamecocks back on track for more SEC play ahead.
This was such a fun (and scary) game to watch. From top to bottom, both teams going back and forth with neither willing to give an inch of space to the other provided us the best 40 minutes of Gamecock basketball we have seen this season.
One of the main asterisks of this game was Cason Wallace’s injury midway through the first half. With Wallace being one of Kentucky’s key players, this was obviously an advantage for the Gamecocks heading forward with the game. However, even with Wallace on the court, the Gamecocks still held their own and showed no signs of slowing down.
Oscar Tshiebwe had his usual duty, scoring a team high of 19 points as well as grabbing a team high 12 rebounds, including some crucial offensive boards when the game was coming down to the wire. CJ Frederick also contributed with some good bench play, scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting.
Everything had to go right for the Gamecocks to pull off this upset, and it basically did. South Carolina shot an incredible 55% from beyond the arc, which is easily a season high. The Gamecocks also improved tremendously at the free throw line, shooting 6-7 from the charity stripe, including some key free throws with just seconds left on the clock.
Meechie Johnson Jr. was absolutely electric for the Gamecocks tonight. Johnson put up 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists on the night, which made Johnson the first Gamecock to record a 25-5-5 statline since 2017. Johnson did tend to get a little excited throughout the game, posting 5 of the 15 total turnovers for the Gamecocks, including one late-game turnover where he straight up dropped a wide open inbound pass that proceeded to go out of bounds with under a minute to go. Overall, it was a spectacular performance from Johnson, and one of the best in recent Gamecock history.
GG Jackson had a good bounce back from his 0 point outing against Tennessee. Jackson posted 16 points, shooting a season high 60% from the field. Jackson also knocked down both of his three-point attempts. But what really capped this game off was Jackson waiving goodbye to the Lexington crowd as the buzzer sounded with the Gamecocks on top.
South Carolina will take on Texas A&M on Saturday 14th at home at Colonial Life Arena.