|THURSDAY MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
|South Carolina 65, Vanderbilt 59
|Missouri 86, Arkansas 85
Gamecocks Fend Off Vanderbilt, 65-59
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Despite the game being postponed nearly 24 hours due to winter weather across the region, South Carolina (9-15, 2-9 SEC) came out and led for much of the game as the Gamecocks knocked off Vanderbilt (13-10, 5-6 SEC) 65-59 this evening at Colonial Life Arena.
Freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell led Carolina, filling up the stat sheet with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. Senior guard Brenton Williams added 14 points and freshman guard Duane Notice was also in double-figures with 10. Vanderbilt guard Kyle Fuller led all scorers with 20 points.
In a close contest throughout the first half, the Gamecocks held the lead for nearly the entire 20 minutes. Carolina saw its largest lead of the early going at five points, 20-15, with 7:15 on the clock after Laimonas Chatkevicius tipped in a missed attempt from Thornwell. The Commodores were able to trim the deficit to down one with under five minutes after a long jumper from leading-scorer Rod Odom.
Williams, though, responded for Carolina with his first 3-pointer of the game to make it 25-21.
Vanderbilt’s Fuller was able to go the length of the court in the final seconds of the half to lay it in as South Carolina took a one-point advantage into the break at 28-27.
The Gamecocks were only able to push the lead to three in the early in the second half before back-to-back buckets from Fuller and Damian Jones gave the Commodores their first lead of the game at 33-32 with 17:25 to go.
With the game tied at 38-38 with 14:46 remaining, Notice stepped up and regained the lead for the Gamecocks with a 3-pointer from the right side. A jumper from Fuller brought it back to one, but with just under 12 minutes showing and the shot clock winding down, Thornwell hit a deep 3 to push the lead back up to four.
After Odom cut Carolina’s lead back to two with a pair from the foul line, the Gamecocks upped their intensity on the boards and began fighting for ever loose ball which turned into a 7-0 run, capped off by Williams connecting from beyond the arc to give Carolina a 51-42 lead that forced Vanderbilt to call a timeout with 9:14 left.
Out of the timeout though, Odom knocked down a 3-pointer for the Commodores from the right corner to end the run.
Thornwell extended the lead to 55-45 after cutting into the lane and hitting a floater. The lead continued to grow as sophomore forward Mindaugas Kacinas added a free throw, before a steal from Notice led to a fast break and lay-in for sophomore forward Brian Steele with four minutes left on the clock.
The Gamecocks’ lead quickly dwindled though as the Fuller scored four points for the Commodores before Odom sunk a 3 from the top of the key to cut it to 58-52.
After adding one more to its lead, Carolina pushed its advantage to nine as Thornwell went hard to bucket, missed his attempt but corralled the rebound and was able to convert on his second attempt with 1:13 remaining.
Carolina was able to hold on to the lead in the final minute to earn its second conference victory of the season, 65-59.
Vanderbilt (21-48, 43.8 percent) outshoot South Carolina (24-64, 37.5 percent), but the difference for the Gamecocks came on the glass where they outrebounded the Commodores 45-31, while grabbing 26 offensive rebounds. Kacinas led the charge on the boards with seven, while Carrera, Henry and Thornwell each recorded six.
Those offensive rebounds led to 23-9 advantage for Carolina in second-chance points.
The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday afternoon as they host Alabama. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and will broadcast on SECTV.
Clarkson, Brown, Free Throws Lead Mizzou to 86-85 Thriller
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Junior guard Jabari Brown hit a go-ahead floater in the lane with 11 seconds left to help the Missouri men’s basketball team to a thrilling 86-85 victory over Arkansas on Thursday night at Mizzou Arena. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and gives the Tigers (17-7, 5-6) a season sweep over their rivals.
Mizzou was led by Jordan Clarkson’s 27 points, and Brown (25) topped the 20-point threshold for the seventh time in eight outings. The Tigers benefitted from a perfect 19-for-19 effort from the free-throw line in the first half, matched a school record by hitting their first 23 tosses, and finished 34-of-38 for the game (89.%).
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the entire game. Arkansas held a 26-22 advantage at the 9:53 mark of the first half, but Missouri answered with an 8-0 run sparked by forward Tony Criswell. The 6-foot-9 senior ripped down an offensive rebound and converted a tough layup in traffic that shifted the momentum. He finished with six points and six rebounds off the bench and helped Missouri own a 40-34 edge on the glass.
Arkansas fought back to retake a 33-32 lead with 5:50 left in the half, but Brown caught fire and manufactured a 7-0 run by himself. After nailing a contested step-back jumper, Brown buried a deep, pull-up three-pointer in transition. He scored 16 of his 25 in the first half and Missouri took a 48-42 lead into the break.
Earnest Ross opened up the second-half scoring with a trey from the corner that handed the Tigers a seven-point advantage. Ross earned his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Razorbacks answered swiftly, putting together a 12-5 run that tied the game at 63-63 with just under 12 minutes remaining. The two teams continued to trade baskets until Wes Clark knocked down a clutch three-pointer late in the shot clock that gave the Tigers a six-point cushion. Clarkson followed with a hard drive to the bucket for an easy deuce on the next possession, and Missouri led 81-73 with 4:11 left in the game.
Arkansas refused to go away, erasing the deficit by the 1:50 mark. After a layup from Mardracus Wade, the Razorbacks regained an 85-83 lead. Clarkson earned a trip to the free throw line with less than a minute left, but converted only one of two to pull Mizzou within one. An Arkansas turnover on the following possession set up Brown’s game-winner and the Razorbacks failed to score in the final seconds.
Missouri continues its three-game homestand Saturday against Tennessee in the Tigers’ annual Blackout game. Tip off is set for 3 p.m.
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