Mississippi closes strong in 74-69 win over South Carolina

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Deandre Burnett scored 18 points and Mississippi converted eight consecutive free throws in the final 90 seconds to defeat South Carolina 74-69 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Sunday.

Markel Crawford and Bruce Stevens added 17 and 10 points, respectively, for the Rebels (8-5). Burnett hit consecutive three-point shots to highlight a 16-6 run and build a 61-55 lead with 6:23 left. Ole Miss closed it at the free throw line, hitting 20 of 23 (87 percent) in the second half.

Chris Silva had 21 points and 13 rebounds for South Carolina (9-4), but was hampered by foul trouble during the decisive Ole Miss surge.

Frank Booker added 21 points, hitting 6 of 10 from the 3-point line.

Ole Miss was 20 of 49 (41 percent) from the field, 8 of 21 (38 percent) from 3-point range and 26 of 33 (78 percent) from the free throw line.

The Rebels forced 14 turnovers and blocked seven shots.

South Carolina finished 22 of 58 (38 percent) from the field, but managed only 10 of 34 apart from Silva and Booker. The Gamecocks were 8 of 20 (40 percent) from the 3-point line and 17 of 26 (65 percent) from the free throw line. The Gamecocks won the rebound battle, 43-30, including 14 offensive boards.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: The Gamecocks were in position to win an SEC road opener, heading into the final 10 minutes, but could not slow down the Ole Miss guards in the stretch run. The Gamecocks had consecutive turnovers in the final two minutes and were unable to get closer than three points. Wesley Myers had a team-high five assists.

Ole Miss: The Rebels proved they could win without a strong performance from leading scorer Terence Davis, who played only 19 minutes and finished with four points. Marcanvis Hymon had a blocked shot and Crawford added a crucial steal on consecutive possessions inside the final 90 seconds to preserve the win. The Rebels have won four of the last five games.

KEY STAT

Ole Miss was clutch at the charity stripe, especially down the stretch. The Rebels missed just three free throws the entire second half (20-for-23, 87 percent).

NOTABLE

  • Junior guard Hassani Gravett was unavailable for today’s game due to a right ankle sprain.
  • Today’s contest marked junior forward Chris Silva’s seventh game this season with at least eight free throw attempts, and his fifth game with double-digit free throw attempts. Silva entered the game ranked 42nd nationally in free throw attempts on the season.
  • Silva finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, which matched a career-high previously set against Gonzaga in last year’s Final Four. It’s his fourth double-double of the season and ninth of his career.
  • Graduate transfer guard Frank Booker connected on six 3s (career-high) in tonight’s game. It marked the ninth game this season the Augusta, Ga., native has connected on at least three 3s in a contest. His 21 points vs. the Rebels mark Booker’s ninth double-figure scoring game of the season and the 21st of his career.
  • Fellow graduate transfer guard Wesley Myers had five assists in his first start in Garnet in Black this evening. He’s had 11 assists the past two games for the Gamecocks.

UP NEXT

South Carolina returns home for two straight SEC matchups, first against Missouri (Jan. 3/9 PM), before hosting Vanderbilt (Jan. 6/6:45 PM).

Related