Two teams near the bottom of the Southeastern Conference standings will meet Tuesday night when South Carolina hosts Mississippi State in Columbia, S.C.
The Gamecocks (8-13, 1-7 SEC) are coming off an overtime loss at Georgia on Saturday. GG Jackson II and Hayden Brown combined for 35 points for South Carolina, but Georgia won 81-78.
South Carolina shot 41.9 percent from behind the arc and knocked down a season-high 13 threes, but it coughed up 18 turnovers and sent Georgia to the charity stripe for 29 foul shots. Georgia also outscored South Carolina in the paint 40-28.
The Gamecocks have now lost five games in a row and have matched their overall loss total from last season. This is the sixth straight season South Carolina has lost at least 13 games.
“Guys played hard … Our carelessness with the ball just really impacted,” first-year South Carolina coach Lamont Paris said. “I thought we were passive and tentative to the tune of turning it over, to the tune of not getting over in 10 seconds, to the tune of even when we did get the ball past half court, we didn’t attack.”
Jackson leads the Gamecocks in both scoring and rebounding with 16.2 points and 7.0 boards per game.
Mississippi State (13-8, 1-7) snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday by beating then-No. 11 TCU at home in overtime, 81-74, in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. Tolu Smith tied his career-high scoring mark with 27 points. He also had 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
First-year Bulldogs coach Chris Jans was impressed with how his group weathered the losing streak.
“They stuck together and kept working. Our practice intensity hadn’t dropped. Our focus was really good, and that’s from everybody,” Jans said. “It’s so impressive to be around young people that even when they’re not playing and the team isn’t doing as well as everyone wants them to, they continue to stay the course and work and grow and get better.”
Smith is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Bulldogs, averaging 14.4 points and 8.2 boards per game.
The Bulldogs are 7-3 against the Gamecocks in their last 10 meetings.
–Field Level Media