#21 South Carolina Falls at Vanderbilt, 71-62

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (USC SID) — No. 21/19 South Carolina (20-7, 10-4 SEC) was defeated 71-62 by Vanderbilt (14-13, 7-7 SEC) Saturday night at Memorial Gym. Senior Sindarius Thornwell recorded 21 points for his fourth straight game with 20-plus.

Carolina led 8-6 at the first media timeout with 15:08 to go after starting 4-for-7 (57 percent) from the field, all of its points coming in the paint. The Gamecocks made their sixth-straight basket as the lead grew to 12-9 with 14:09 on the clock. The score remained 12-9 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:37 to go.

The Commodores tied it at 12-12, and the teams exchanged hoops until the next media timeout with the score tied 18-18 with 6:26 left in the half. It was a slow-paced, physical game on both ends of the floor, as both squads were in the bonus with over 10 minutes left. Thornwell scored 10-straight points for Carolina as the Gamecocks opened up a 24-20 lead with 4:31 to go in the first half.

South Carolina remained in front 24-23 at the final media timeout with 2:11 to go. After Vanderbilt grabbed the lead, the Gamecocks went on a 6-0 run to go ahead 30-25 after an offensive rebound and basket by freshman Sedee Keita with 27 seconds left.

Matthew Fisher-Davis scored for the Commodores as time expired to make it 30-27 Carolina at halftime. Thornwell had 14 points at the break to lead all scorers. He was 4-for-8 from the field and 6-for-6 at the free throw line in the first half. Sophomore PJ Dozier had eight points on 4-of-9 shooting for Carolina. The Gamecocks were 12-of-28 (43 percent) in the first 20 minutes, while Vanderbilt was 9-for-23 (39 percent). The Commodores bench outscored South Carolina 15-2 in the opening half.

Vanderbilt opened a 40-36 lead in the second half, fueled by a 13-6 run and two 3-pointers by Riley LaChance. Frank Martin took a timeout with 16:19 on the clock and the Gamecocks were able to tie it, 40-40, after sophomore Chris Silva’s sixth point of the half.

South Carolina made four of its next five shots to jump ahead 49-46 with 12:06 remaining. Sophomore Hassani Gravett knocked down a jumper from the right baseline to give the Gamecocks their biggest lead of the game, 53-47, with 9:40 on the clock.

The Commodores stormed back to grab a 55-54 lead at the under eight media timeout with 7:26 left in the game. Another LaChance 3 put Vanderbilt up 64-58 at the final media timeout with 3:14 left.

South Carolina was unable to overcome the deficit, as the Commodores closed the game on a 24-9 run. Dozier had 15 points and Silva tallied 14 to join Thornwell in double figures for the Gamecocks. Fisher-Davis led the way for Vanderbilt with 17 points, as Vanderbilt shot 50 percent (11-for-22) from the floor and 44 percent from 3 (7-for-16) in the second half.

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