MBB: Gamecocks can't stop Missouri, fall 81-70
Call it a defensive no-show in the Show-Me State. South Carolina allowed #19 Missouri to shoot nearly 60% from the field in an 81-70 loss.
Missouri opened the game on a 10-0 run, making its first five baskets, all in the paint, and off four assists. Frank Martin had to call a timeout just 3:06 into the game to slow down the Tigers. That was about the only way South Carolina could stop Missouri all night.
The Tigers shot 61.3% in the first half and led by eleven at the break. They were shooting 67% midway through the second half before garage time shooting pulled it down to 58%.
Missouri scored 40 points in the paint, shot 5-13 from three, and went 20-30 from the line. About the only negative for Missouri was 19 turnovers.
“It’s hard to go on the road and beat the (19th)-ranked team when your defense was as bad as ours was today,” Frank Martin said. “Our defense is not good.”
Those turnovers kept Missouri from ever turning the game into a blowout. The largest lead was 18, but it stayed around 14 for most of the second half and South Carolina pulled within ten several times. In each case, a defensive lapse followed, and Missouri was able to maintain control.
Given the bad defense, South Carolina needed to be almost perfect on offense. It wasn’t. South Carolina got almost nothing from its starting backcourt. Seventh Woods had two points on 1-5 shooting with three turnovers. Jermaine Couisnard had six points on 2-12 shooting, with five assists and five turnovers. And AJ Lawson, coming off a pair of outstanding games, was a virtual no-show. He finished with just five points on 2-9 shooting, went 1-6 from three, and only had two rebounds and an assist. Martin thought that Missouri’s physical defense bothered Lawson into settling for quick threes instead of attacking.
“He didn’t play like a guy that was willing to play with the physicality of the game,” Martin said.
Martin also talked about the need for players to impact the game beyond scoring. He didn’t identify Lawson or Couisnard by name, but it was clear he was talking about his two star guards.
“You have to impact the game. You can’t play a game and your stat line is straight zeros,” Martin said. “If that’s your stat line, then you’re not very impactful as a player. When you don’t impact the game in those ways, you’d better make a high percentage of your shots, and when you don’t do either, it’s hard to win.”
The Gamecocks got better productivity from their undersized frontcourt, players who filled up the box score. Justin Minaya had a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Keyshawn Bryant followed up his big game against LSU with another strong outing. He led South Carolina with 19 points, and had five rebounds and two blocks. And the surprise of the night was sophomore Trey Anderson. Anderson played 24 minutes, two more than he did all of last season, and he scored 17 points, nearly doubling the ten points he had scored in his career. Anderson shot 7-9 from the floor and 2-3 from three, the first two threes of his career. He also added five rebounds and two assists. The 6-6 Anderson has made the switch from a wing player to an undersized four similar to Minaya, and it paid off.
“I feel like pretty much the whole game I had a mismatch,” he said. “I had a bigger defender on me so I used it to my advantage.”
Anderson gave up size on defense, but he battled enough that Martin can live with it.
Jeremiah Tillman scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Missouri. Mark Smith added 18 points, and Dru Smith scored 16.
South Carolina was without starter Alanzo Frink and key reserve Jalyn McCreary. … South Carolina shot 8-19 from the foul line, missing 11 free throws in an 11-point loss. … South Carolina took 22 more shots than Missouri but shot just 39% from the floor. … South Carolina’s next game is Saturday against Auburn