(19) USC Hammered at Alabama
By: USC SID
TUSCALOOSA, ALA. (USC SID) — The No. 19/15 South Carolina men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday night at Alabama, 73-50. The Gamecocks fell behind early and saw their 15-game season-opening win streak come to an end. The Crimson Tide improves to 10-5 and 1-2 in conference action. Michael Carrera led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double in the last three games.
It would be the Gamecocks (15-1, 2-1 SEC) versus Riley Norris for the first 10 minutes of the game, as Alabama’s sophomore forward connected on his first five attempts from 3-point range. The South Carolina offense would not be able to answer the hot start, and Norris’ fifth 3 of the half pushed Alabama’s early advantage to 19-4 at the 11:39 mark.
The Gamecocks started just 2-of-12 from the field, but a stretch of six baskets in nine attempts gave the offense a brief jolt. The Tide rolled into halftime with a 35-22 lead, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugas Kacinas led the Gamecocks with six points apiece and combined to shoot 5-of-9. As a team, South Carolina connected on just 8-of-26 shots in the opening frame.
The offense was held without a field goal for the final three minutes of the first half, and that trend carried into the second half. The Gamecocks missed their first 12 attempts out of the break, and went without a point until a three-point play from Duane Notice with 11:51 left to play in regulation. In the time between Carolina’s field goals, Alabama extended the lead up to 48-22.
Notice’s field goal broke the seal for the Gamecock offense, who scored six straight baskets in a five-minute stretch, but it came too late. Freshman guard Jamall Gregory spurred an 8-0 run with six minutes left, hitting a 3 and converting a three-point play over the span of three possessions, but Alabama’s lead would be too much to overcome.
Alabama’s Riley Norris hit his first five 3-point attempts of the game, all coming in the first nine minutes of the game. Norris finished the game with 27 points, despite entering the day with an average of 6.2 per game in the team’s first 14 contests.
The Crimson Tide hit 13 3-pointers on the night, the most by a Gamecock opponent since Hofstra hit 17 on Nov. 22. Riley Norris’ eight 3s for the game are the most by any individual player, and were more than eight teams finished with against South Carolina this season.
South Carolina returns home to host Missouri on Saturday in a 1 p.m. ET matchup on the SEC Network. The Gamecocks and Tigers have only met on five previous occasions, all in SEC play, with the exception of the most recent meeting, a 63-54 Gamecock win in the opening round of the 2015 SEC Tournament. Mizzou holds a slight 3-2 edge in the series, which is tied in Columbia, S.C., at 1-1. Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network broadcast.
- The 15-0 start for South Carolina will now stand as the second-best in the program’s all-time history. Only the 1933-34 team were better, starting 17-0.
- Michael Carrera’s double-double Wednesday night was the eighth of his career and third of the season.
- Tonight was the first time all season that the team trailed by double digits in a game. The previous high was eight against Oral Roberts.
- Jamall Gregory finished the night with a season-high eight points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field in nine minutes.