CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Sporting Alert — Jair Bolden scored a game-high 22 points and South Carolina stunned No. 9 Virginia 70-59 on Sunday.
Bolden, the redshirt junior guard, who scored 15 of his total points in the first half, shot 8 for 13 from the field overall and made four 3-pointers in his 37 minutes of action. It was his first 20-point performance for South Carolina.
“One of the things that excites us is when we play against teams that are good opponents, and we’ve been playing great teams,” Bolden said.
A.J. Lawson scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, Justin Minaya added 12 and Keyshawn Bryant ended with 10 for the Gamecocks (8-4), who shot 51 percent from the field, the highest against Virginia since Florida State on March 15, 2019.
Mamadi Diakite collected a career-high 21 points and shot 9 of 11 from the free-throw line to lead the way for Virginia, which is 26-25 all-time in the series against South Carolina, including a 16-9 record in Charlottesville.
Kihei Clark finished with nine points and a game-high seven assists in the defeat for the Cavaliers (9-2), who were losing for the second time this season.
South Carolina opened the game with a went on a 13-2 run to take a 13-5 lead over Virginia early in the contest, while the Gamecocks led by as many as 13 in the first half and went into the break with a 33-24 advantage.
The Cavaliers, who shot 43.9 percent overall, trailed 42-29 in the second half, but used a 16-3 run to tie the game midway through the second half at 45-45 with 11:09 to play.
However, South Carolina, which was winning four in the last five, responded by holding UVA scoreless the final 2:15 of the game and pulled away for the victory at John Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia outrebounded South Carolina 26-24, but turned the ball over a season-high 19 times and the Gamecocks collected 23 points off those errors.
The Cavaliers entered the game with the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense. They allowed 70 points – the most conceded by the defending national champion this season.
After a taking a break, Virginia will stay home to host Navy on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.
Carolina will return to Columbia to host Stetson on Dec. 30 after the holiday break.