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MBB: Gamecocks fall at Oklahoma State

SOUTH CAROLINA MEN’S BASKETBALL

The Gamecocks dropped a non-conference game at Oklahoma State, 74-70.

On paper, the game was very winnable. Oklahoma State was already struggling this season, and was down to eight scholarship players due to suspensions. Oklahoma State was so desperate for bodies that one of the team managers dressed for the game Saturday.

But a desperate team is a dangerous team, and from the opening tip the Cowboys were locked in. Their 1-3-1 zone befuddled the Gamecocks in the first half, as the Gamecocks settled for too many quick shots. The zone also led to turnovers and easy fast break points for the Cowboys. The Gamecocks’ lack of aggression showed up most at the free throw line, where the Cowboys went 11-12 in the first half and the Gamecocks did not attempt a single shot.

South Carolina opened the second half with a 6-0 run that included a pair of free throws by A.J. Lawson. It was the first of three big runs that dominated the second half. Oklahoma State responded with an 11-2 run that lasted less than 90 seconds, spurred on by a pair of South Carolina turnovers. Oklahoma was on the verge of putting the game away, but South Carolina answered with an 8-0 run that featured two threes by Hassani Gravett.

The pressure of having to come back got to South Carolina, and it faded in the final minutes. ON a critical play, down four with 2:22 left, Gravett didn’t see Chris Silva wide open under the basket, and instead threw into a turnover, committing a foul in the process. Oklahoma State’s Cameron McGriff made 1-2 free throws to stretch the lead to five. Lawson missed a three, and then Felipe Haase missed the putback. South Carolina got the ball back, and Silva made a pair of free throws to get within one possession. South Carolina forced a turnover, but Haase couldn’t come up with the heroics for the second game in a row, and missed a game-tying three. Lindy Waters got the rebound, and his floater in the lane bounced around the rim and in to secure the win.

Silva finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, but was limited by foul trouble in the second half. Lawson added 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists, but shot just 4-11 and struggled against the zone. Keyshawn Bryant had 10 points, five assists, and three rebounds, and was solid against the middle of the zone.

Thomas Dziagwa led all scorers with 19 points. Waters added 17 points, and McGriff had 14.

Notes:

Maik Kotsar returned to the starting lineup. He came off the bench against Auburn after suffering a sprained ankle in practice this past Monday. He had eight points and five rebounds. … For the game, Oklahoma State was 23-29 from the free throw line. South Carolina was 9-9. … South Carolina outrebounded Oklahoma State 42-34. … South Carolina’s next game is Tuesday when it hosts Tennessee.

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