USC Tops LSU 94-83, Earns Top Spot In SEC

By Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points, and Michael Carrera had 14 of his 16 points in the second half as South Carolina gained a share of first place in the Southeastern Conference, holding off Ben Simmons and LSU 94-83 on Wednesday night.

Simmons put on another dazzling display with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists. Yet, the Gamecocks used a 17-8 run in the second half fueled by freshmen PJ Dozier and Raymond Doby to take control after LSU had tied the game at 60-all.

The Tigers (15-9, 8-3) got as close as 85-81 after Simmons’ foul shot in the final minute. But the Gamecocks (21-3, 8-3) made 7-of-8 foul shots after that to seal things and move into a first-place tie in the SEC with the Tigers and No. 22 Kentucky — South Carolina’s next opponent here Saturday.

Antonio Blakeney had 22 points to lead the Tigers.

Duane Notice had 15 points and Dozier 12 for the Gamecocks.

Dozier’s three-point play with 8:55 left — he was fouled by Simmons — put South Carolina up for good 63-60. Dozier followed with a jumper and when he finished off another three-point play three minutes later, the Gamecocks were up 77-68.

Both LSU and South Carolina had shaken off bad stretches to contend for the top of the SEC.

The Tigers were 3-3 after losing to College of Charleston 70-56 on Nov. 30 in their last visit to the Palmetto State. But they’ve gone 12-5 since behind freshmen Simmons and Blakeney. They came in here having won four of five with the only loss a 77-75 heartbreaker to then-No. 1 Oklahoma on Jan. 30.

The Gamecocks opened the season 15-0, but went through a 4-3 run during SEC play before rebounding with an 81-78 win over then-eighth-ranked Texas A&M last Saturday.

South Carolina used several of its big bodies to force Simmons away from the basket on one end, even forcing him into a missed chippy from close in the opening half. They also took it right at LSU’s versatile big man on defense and Simmons sat for the final eight minutes of the opening half with two fouls.

Simmons heated up in the second half with several inside buckets, including a two-handed jam that drew oohs from the crowd.

Thornwell had two foul shots and a basket in the final four minutes of the opening period as South Carolina took a 39-35 lead into the break. Thornwell had 11 points in the half.


LSU: The Tigers have had only four freshmen score 30 points or more in a game between 1972-2015 since the youngest players became eligible 44 years ago. Both Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney have accomplished that this season.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks had their best shooting performance of the season last time out, going 30-of-57 (52.6 percent) to upend then-No. 8 Texas A&M this past Saturday.


LSU plays No. 15 Texas A&M at home Saturday.

South Carolina takes on No. 22 Kentucky at home Saturday.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks