GAME NOTES: The South Carolina Gamecocks will try once again for their first SEC victory of the season on Saturday afternoon when they venture to Mizzou Arena to take on the Missouri Tigers.
South Carolina put forth a respectable non-conference showing (7-6) but has dropped five in a row since entering SEC play. The Gamecocks were embarrassed at Georgia on Wednesday night, losing by a 97-76 final to dip to 0-6 in true road games.
Missouri is also coming off a loss, as it fell on the wrong end of a 77-71 decision at LSU on Tuesday night. The Tigers are just 2-3 in conference competition, but their season as a whole has still been stellar at 14-4 overall. They have enjoyed their home cooking, boasting a 9-1 ledger at Mizzou Arena.
The teams met for the first time last season, with Missouri sweeping the two- game series by a combined 28 points.
Although the Gamecocks shot a respectable 45.8 percent from the field in their most recent contest, they allowed Georgia to shoot a lofty 55.1 percent and sent it to the foul line 50 times en route to the 21-point setback. Sindarius Thornwell was outstanding in spite of defeat, netting 26 points on 8-of-12 from the floor while also dishing out four assists. Brenton Williams was 4- of-7 from 3-point range on his way to 18 points, while Duane Notice and Jaylen Shaw netted 14 and 12 points, respectively.
South Carolina shoots 43.2 percent from the field this season for 70.6 ppg, but that isn't enough to support its lackluster scoring defense (71.1 ppg). It also makes good on less than 69 percent of its free-throw tries and lives in the red in terms of turnover margin (-0.5). Thornwell leads the way with 12.8 ppg. Williams (11.5 ppg) has drained a team-best 35 3-pointers and has made all but one of his 51 foul shots for the best qualifying free-throw percentage in the nation (.980). Tyrone Johnson rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.2 ppg.
The Tigers took a one-point lead with under three minutes to play in their latest bout on a Jabari Brown 3-pointer, but LSU ran off six straight points over the next two and a half minutes to put the game away. They shot less than 40 percent from the field in the six-point loss, but Brown was outstanding all night long, shooting 10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc for a career-high 28 points. Jordan Clarkson filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Earnest Ross posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards.
Despite Missouri's struggles of late, it still presents itself as one of the SEC's most well-rounded teams, as it shoots 45.8 percent from the field for 74.4 ppg, while allowing just 65.9 ppg on 38.7 percent shooting. It also owns a strong +7.1 rebounding margin and shoots a solid 72.2 percent from the foul line, but its one glaring weakness is its -1.4 turnover margin. Brown (19.3 ppg) has made 51 3-pointers at a lofty 45.1 percent clip, part of a .498 shooting percentage overall. Clarkson is right on Brown's heels for the scoring lead with 18.7 ppg, while dishing out a team-best 3.4 apg. Ross (14.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) rounds out the stellar scoring trio, although no one else puts up more than 6.9 ppg.
Missouri has not lived up to expectations in SEC play so far, but it should have no problem keeping its success at home alive in this one against a South Carolina squad that hasn't been able to compete either in conference or on the road.
Game Date and Time