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Analysis: Թϱ men's basketball team gets back in win column with road victory against Ole Miss

FILE — Sophomore guard Zachary Davis prepares to shoot a free throw during South Carolina's game against Mississippi State at Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 6, 2024. Davis finished the game with 9 points in the Gamecocks' 68-62 win against the Bulldogs.
FILE — Sophomore guard Zachary Davis prepares to shoot a free throw during Թϱ's game against Mississippi State at Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 6, 2024. Davis finished the game with 9 points in the Gamecocks' 68-62 win against the Bulldogs.

The No. 20 Թϱ men's basketball team picked up a 72-59 win Saturday afternoon on the road against the Ole Miss Rebels, bringing an end to the Gamecocks' two-game losing streak.

The Gamecocks came away with the victory after shutting down the Rebels' offense, holding it to 33% shooting from the field and controlling the glass, out-rebounding Ole Miss, 44-34. 

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"I thought we did a good job defensively. I think that's what led the way today," head coach Lamont Paris said. "It allows you to have a chance, when you play on the road, when you defend like that." 

The Rebels got out to an early 4-0 lead, but after an 8-0 run from Թϱ, Ole Miss never regained the lead. The Gamecocks kept up its momentum through the first half, ending off on a 12-3 run, including a pair of 3-pointers from junior guard Jacobi Wright and freshman guard Morris Ugusuk. Թϱ went into halftime with a 36-22 lead over the Rebels. 

The second half was a similar story for the Gamecocks. Թϱ never allowed Ole Miss to cut the lead to under 11 points. Թϱ's field goal percentage went up from 40% in the first half to just over 48% in the second. 

Թϱ's 3-point shooting was crucial, shooting 47% (8-17) from deep. The Gamecocks also held the Rebels to 19% (3-16) from behind the arc.

Graduate student forward B.J. Mack had a game-high 17 points for the Gamecocks and knocked down three 3-pointers of his own. Other standout performances included graduate student guard Ta'Lon Cooper, who stood out with 9 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Sophomore guard Zachary Davis also chimed in with 14 points and nine rebounds of his own, with five of them being on the offensive side of the ball.

"I thought (Davis) was unbelievable. His energy defensively — he was trying really hard and in a very disciplined manner." Paris said. "He was frantic in terms of his energy and his effort and his determination, but he was very solid in terms of processing what was in front of him."

This win for Թϱ marks its first win since losing on the road by 40 to then-No. 14 Auburn and to losing to LSU at home last week. 

"I thought it was tremendously important for the confidence of these guys," Paris said. "Personally it was difficult to have a full week before you get to play and get that taste out of your mouth."

The Gamecocks (22-5, 10-4 SEC) will look to rattle off another win when they head to College Station to take on Texas A&M (15-11, 6-7 SEC) on Wednesday. The game will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on SEC Network. 


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