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March 2, 2013

Aggies wallop Gamecocks; USC clinches losing regular season


At College Station, Texas, after being tied 32-32 at the half, South Carolina (13-16, 3-13 SEC) fell to Texas A&M (17-12, 7-9 SEC) 74-56 on Saturday. Freshman forward Michael Carrera scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Gamecocks.

Junior guard Bruce Ellington was the only other Gamecock to reach double figures, scoring 10 in the contest. Junior guard Brenton Williams added nine points in the road matchup. Freshman forward Brian Steele earned his first career start. The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Aggies 38-28. The Gamecocks were 18-of-47 from the floor, hitting 38.3 percent of their shots.

USC clinched its fourth straight losing regular season.

Scoring a game-high 28 points, senior guard Elston Turner led Texas A&M. Senior forward Ray Turner registered 16 points and a team-high six rebounds and junior guard Fabyon Harris scored 12. The Aggies shot 53.7 percent in the game, hitting 29-of-54 shots from the floor, including a 7-of-15 performance from behind the arc.

The Aggies took an early 7-0 lead, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Carrera and Ellington quickly saw the Gamecocks trail by just one with 15:04 to play in the opening half.

The teams traded baskets through the middle portion of the half, before a move underneath the basket from Jackson tied the contest at 14 with 11:18 to play before the break.

Texas A&M would score seven of the next nine points in the game to hold a 21-16 lead with 7:40 remaining in the first half, with Harris scoring all points during the stretch.

Two made free throws from Carrera at the 6:20 mark broke a four-minute scoring drought for USC, putting the score at 24-18 A&M. Ellington would follow with two from the line and TAMU's Elston Turner connected on a jumper before Carrera added a layup at the 4:19 mark to put the score at 26-22 Aggies.

Williams and Ellington would add two each from the line to hold the score close the remainder of the half. The Aggies held a 32-29 upper hand with under 30 seconds to play, but Steele would hit his first career basket, a 3 on an assist from Smith with 16.1 seconds on the clock to knot the score at 32, which held through halftime.

Both teams shot well in the opening stanza, with the Gamecocks hitting 47.8 percent (11-23) and the Aggies 50.0 (14-28). South Carolina was stellar from the charity stripe, hitting 7-of-8 attempts, compared to a 0-3 mark from TAMU. The Gamecocks held a 17-11 upperhand in the rebounding column in the first half as well.

South Carolina would take its first lead of the contest at the 19-minute mark in the second half after Kacinas connected on a layup as the result of a steal from Carrera at the opposite end.

The Aggies didn't mark the scoreboard in the second half until the 14:47 mark with a jumper from Elston Turner, and he added another just over a minute later to tie the contest at 36.

Ellington was whistled for a foul with 11:30 remaining, and called for a technical just after, marking his fourth foul of the contest. Elston Turner would hit both free throws as a result of the technical, putting the score at 40-36 Aggies.

Following the tech, the Gamecocks struggled with turnovers, and the Aggie lead extended to 46-36 with 8:47 to play. A 3 from sophomore guard Damien Leonard at the 8:28 mark broke a near eight-minute scoring drought for the Gamecocks.

USC trailed 53-39 with just over six minutes to play before a 3 from Williams. Carrera would hit a layup with 5:13 remaining and was fouled on the play. His make from the line put the score at 55-45 Aggies.

Elston Turner scored seven straight for the Aggies near the four-minute mark and Texas A&M finished the contest on a 24-11 run to close the 74-56 victory.

South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena to host Mississippi State on Wednesday for Senior Night. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Senior Night festivities for senior forward Lakeem Jackson, senior guard Shane Phillips and managers Josh King and Bubba Wright will begin prior to tipoff.

Box score

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