At Baton Rouge, La., South Carolina finally saw a lead last.
Freshman Michael Carrera scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in overtime as the Gamecocks claimed their first SEC win on Wednesday, 82-73 over LSU. After watching its first two games end in losses after having leads slip away in the final five minutes, USC (11-5, 1-2 SEC) took and sustained a lead until the buzzer.
It still took a nervous moment or two, but the Gamecocks overcame. After frittering away a 12-point first-half lead and a seven-point second-half lead, USC got two free throws from Brenton Williams to make it 69-69 with 1:16 to play. LSU (9-5, 0-3) saw Anthony Hickey's 3-pointer rim out (Hickey said a USC defender got a hand on the shot), and the Gamecocks called timeout to set up a final possession with 43 seconds to go.
Williams was stripped of the ball out of the timeout, and LSU dribbled clock. The Gamecocks hoped that their second-half weapon - a 2-3 zone defense that eliminated the Tigers' inside game - would work again, and it did.
Johnny O'Bryant launched a 3-pointer that missed and the game headed to overtime. Once there, the Gamecocks' stingy D kept up its performance while Carrera stepped up.
Docked with foul trouble for most of the game, Carrera helped keep USC in the game in the second half. In overtime, he took over.
He stung a 15-footer past a man-to-man defense for a four-point USC lead, and blocked a shot after LSU cut the lead to two points. In position as usual for rebounds, Carrera was fouled with 55 seconds to go and made two free throws, and then saw Hickey miss another 3.
USC clinched the game with two more Carrera free throws, then he soared high to catch a Hickey airball (which had LSU coach Johnny Jones screaming for a goaltending call). Another foul led to two more free throws, and Carrera set the final score with two more swishes with 15 seconds to play.
The freshman ended with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Lakeem Jackson posted his second career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Williams finished with 16 after 12 in the first half, and the surprising R.J. Slawson came off the bench to score 11 points, including a 3-pointer.
The Gamecocks only had 12 turnovers, while LSU had 22. USC also had 38 free-throw attempts, making 28.
USC won an SEC road game for the first time since Feb. 2, 2011, and surpassed last season's overall win total (10). The Gamecocks will try to match last year's SEC win total (two) and get to .500 in the league against Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Team SEC Overall
Ole Miss 3-0 14-2
Florida 2-0 12-2
Texas A&M 2-0 12-3
Alabama 2-1 10-6
Arkansas 2-1 11-5
Auburn 2-1 8-8
Kentucky 2-1 11-5
Mississippi State 2-1 7-8
Missouri 2-1 13-3
South Carolina 1-2 11-5
Georgia 0-3 6-10
LSU 0-3 9-5
Tennessee 0-3 8-7
Vanderbilt 0-3 6-9
Ole Miss 89, Vanderbilt 79 (OT)
Kentucky 75, Tennessee 65
Arkansas 88, Auburn 80 (2OT)
Missouri 79, Georgia 62
South Carolina 82, LSU 73 (OT)
Alabama 75, Mississippi State 43
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