After finally battling their way back into a 45-45 tie with LSU with eleven minutes to play, the Gamecocks didn’t want the game to slip away.
South Carolina locked down on defense (with a little momentum help from the Garnet Army) and went off on a 17-5 run to put the game away for good en route to a 67-58 win on Wednesday night.
One series of plays during the run sent the crowd into a frenzy and put the game away for South Carolina. Clinging to a five-point advantage with under four to go, senior guard Devan Downey put on a brief clinic for those in attendance.
Downey hit a floater to push the lead to seven points and then stole the ball on LSU’s next possession. The guard spotted up and drilled a three-pointer to extend Carolina’s lead to ten. Downey then picked up another steal. He missed the layup, but Lakeem Jackson was there for the follow and within a minute, the Gamecocks were up twelve.
“It was off defense. Every time you’re out there playing well defensively, good things will happen on the offensive end,” said Downey.
After forcing only five turnovers in the opening period, the Gamecocks pressured LSU into ten after the halftime break.
“We keep pressing and attacking them defensively,” said senior Brandis Raley-Ross. “It’s a mentality. It’s a mindest. Our practices are like that. That’s us. That’s South Carolina right there.”
The Gamecocks trailed for most of the first half and didn’t tie the score until the 15:40 mark of the second half.
“The biggest key to the second half is that we made some shots,” said Head Coach Darrin Horn. “At the end of the day, that’s what you have to do in this game. That’s our strength and it helps make our defense go.”
Key Box Score
|Total FG-FGA||3 pt FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Rebs||Pts||Assts||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|G Devan Downey||10-22||6-12||3-6||7||29||2||4||0||3||37|
As if there were a question about who would go in this spot. Downey followed up his 33-point performance against Auburn with a 29-point effort against LSU tonight (For the mathematically-challenged, that’s 62 points in two SEC games). In addition, Downey surpassed the 1,500 career points mark as a Gamecock. Downey moved into seventh place on the all-time scoring list at South Carolina. He’s 18 points away from the next player on the list, Carlos Powell.
“Nothing he does surprises us,” said Horn. “That’s what makes special players special is they can do what they want to do and he did that tonight.”
“The last 10 minutes the little guy did what he does best. He made some things happen defensively. He made tough shots. Little guy plays a big game. We’re talking about Downey, of course,” said LSU Head Coach Trent Johnson.
“Monster games. He can put up numbers like that,” said Raley-Ross. “He’s showing it. He’s putting in extra hours in the gym and it’s showing.”
- The Gamecocks open SEC play with a 2-0 record for the first time since the 96-97 season when South Carolina won their first 11 league games en route to a 15-1 mark.
- South Carolina hit eleven 3-pointers for the second consecutive game, shooting 11-of-32 from behind the arc on Wednesday night.
- The Gamecock defense held the Tigers to just 1-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. LSU had averaged 4.6 treys per game coming into tonight’s contest.
“I don’t know who y’all have as player of the game, but I have our crowd. I thought they were tremendous in the second half run, especially our students.” – Coach Horn
“Thank you to the fans. [They] were the player of the game, I wasn’t the player of the game tonight.” – Devan Downey.