USC drops fifth straight to LSU
(USC SID)-COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (12-12, 2-9 SEC) fell to LSU (14-8, 5-6 SEC) 64-46 in conference action on Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks were balanced in the scoring column, with senior forward Lakeem Jackson recording a team-high 10 points.
Behind Jackson, junior guard Bruce Ellington scored nine, freshman forward Michael Carrera added eight and junior guard Brian Richardson registered seven. Carrera grabbed a team-high eight boards, with Jackson tallying seven. The Gamecocks blocked eight shots, matching a season-high set versus Appalachian State on Dec. 19.
Sophomore forward Johnny O'Bryant III recorded a double-double, going for 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers. O'Bryant was 13-of-19 from the field, helping LSU gain a 40-24 advantage in the paint. Junior guard Andrew Stringer scored 12 for the Tigers. Senior guard Charles Carmouche dished eight assists and added nine rebounds.
The Gamecocks committed just 12 turnovers to the Tigers' 17, but LSU was able to convert 18 points from the giveaways while South Carolina was only able to generate 12.
Both teams were cold out of the gate, going a combined 1-of-12 from the floor. LSU turned the ball over on four of their first seven possessions.
Nearly four minutes into the game, sophomore guard Damien Leonard hit a 3-pointer, the first points for either team. After the first media timeout, O'Bryant scored six points to get the Tigers on the board.
The Tigers knotted the game at 16-16 with 7:24 before the break on a jumper by junior forward Jalen Courtney. Junior guard Eric Smith got the lead right back on a jumper the next possession, giving the Gamecocks an 18-16 lead just before the under-eight timeout.
In the stretch between media breaks, LSU went on a 7-0 run to take a 23-18 lead.
With the shot clock off at the end of the first half, junior forward RJ Slawson blocked a shot which Ellington pushed ahead to Richardson. Richardson missed the layup, but Ellington was trailing and tipped it in just before the buzzer. The basket pulled the Gamecocks to within two at the half, behind the Tigers 26-24.
Richardson led the Gamecocks at the half, with seven points. O'Bryant shouldered the bulk of the load for the Tigers, scoring 10 of their first 16 points, ending the half with 13.
LSU scored the first four points of the half, before junior guard Brenton Williams sank a 3 for the Gamecocks, pulling the home team to within three at 30-27. The Tigers responded with a 9-2 run to stretch out a 10-point lead five minutes into the half, making the score 39-29.
South Carolina called a timeout to stop the momentum and Slawson converted a three-point play to draw the Gamecocks within seven at 39-32. The Tigers went on a 23-10 run over the next 9:18 to take their largest lead of the game at 62-42.
LSU was able to maintain their lead and leave Columbia with the 64-46 victory.
Up next for the Gamecocks is a Saturday SEC contest at Alabama which is scheduled to be broadcast on the SEC Network at 4 p.m.