There were very few signs of any hangover from the Gamecocks’ loss to Mizzou on Sunday. South Carolina took care of business in College Station, knocking off Texas A&M 80-64 to improve to 23-4 on the season. Coupled with Mississippi State’s loss to Kentucky, they are now tied with Mississippi State at 13-2 in the SEC and can clinch a share of the league title (and the top seed in the SEC Tournament in Greenville) with a victory over the Wildcats at CLA on Sunday.
This one was a little tight to begin with as the Aggies held a 30-27 lead with 5:27 left in the second quarter before the Gamecocks ended the stanza on a 14-5 run to go up 41-35 at the break. The end of the second and beginning of the third was where they really began to take control as their fast pace and press defense frustrated A&M, forcing them into seven third quarter turnovers. Along with a 7-0 run to start the frame and an 8-0 run to end it, they would ride their way to a 60-41 lead with ten minutes remaining. The Aggies would not get closer than 14 as the Gamecocks rode their way to a comfortable win to spoil A&M’s final game at Reed Arena this season.
The game was notable due to the absence of Alaina Coates (ankle sprain), but you wouldn’t have known she wasn’t there if you were to look at the scoreline. A’ja Wilson had a double-double at halftime (12 points, 10 rebounds) and ended with a game high 21 points and 16 boards. With Coates injured, the Gamecocks saw several players step up. Bianca Cuevas-Moore had a strong game at both ends with 16 points on 6-11 shooting to go along with six steals. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan enjoyed a solid performance off the bench with 13 points, while Kaela Davis chipped in 11 rebounds to go with her seven points on the night. The Aggies saw four players hit double figures (led by Curtyce Knox’s 19), but got absolutely no help outside of that as only one other player scored.
This was a great bounce back win for the Gamecocks going into Senior Day against the Wildcats (2pm, ESPNU). If they play like they did tonight against Kentucky in a few days and are able to ride the momentum to yet another SEC championship, they’ll be tough to take down in March.