USC men suffer first defeat, women remain undefeated

uscwhoops-5tongueThe South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball teams’ run as the nation’s only undefeated programs came to an end Wednesday night, but the Lady Gamecocks remained unbeaten with a big road win at No. 9 Kentucky on Thursday.

No. 2 South Carolina shook off a slow shooting start and rallied from a 4-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 9 Kentucky (13-2, 2-2 SEC), 73-62, Thursday night on the road at Memorial Coliseum. The Gamecocks (16-0, 4-0 SEC) grabbed the lead late in the third quarter and used a 12-0 run midway through the final period to pull away and secure the victory.

Forward A’ja Wilson tallied 15 second-half points and fell two blocks short of a triple-double, as she finished with a game-high 26 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Her eight blocks marked a career high for the sophomore, while guard Tiffany Mitchell chipped in 16 points after scoring nine points over the final 20 minutes.

Kentucky’s advantage grew to 47-40 following another basket in the paint by Evelyn Akhator, but South Carolina responded with a 9-1 run to take its first lead of the half late in the quarter. Mitchell’s clutch 3-point play highlighted the turnaround, and another basket by Wilson helped give the Gamecocks a 51-50 lead heading into the final period.

A layup by Khadijah Sessions early in the fourth quarter gave South Carolina a 55-52 lead, and a 3-pointer by the senior guard made it 61-56 with 6:33 left in the contest. She finished with eight points and three assists. The Gamecocks quickly seized control of the game the rest of the way behind Wilson, who scored six of South Carolina’s next eight points to make it 69-58 with 4:12 left to play.

Guards Makayla Epps and Janee Thompson each scored 16 points for the Wildcats, who committed 13 turnovers on the night. South Carolina sported a 44-43 rebound advantage and shot 41.3 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from the 3-point line. Roy marked the third Gamecock in double figures on Thursday, as she finished with 12 points after knocking down four 3-pointers.

The No. 19 South Carolina men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday night at Alabama, 73-50. The Gamecocks (15-1, 2-1 SEC) fell behind early and saw their 15-game season-opening win streak come to an end. Michael Carrera led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double in the last four games. The Gamecocks host Missouri on Saturday at 1 p.m.

 

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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