OXFORD, Miss. (TheBigSpur.com) - South Carolina entered the game on Wednesday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss trailing for less than three minutes in the previous three games combined. The Gamecocks left the arena never leading for a single second as Ole Miss posted an 84-70 wire-to-wire victory.
Jermaine Couisnard had a career type of game dropping 28 points and Maik Kotsar played well, too, as they combined for 47 points on 15-of-29 shooting. But the rest of the Gamecocks (13-9, 5-4) combined to score 23 points on 8-of-27 shooting from the floor.
The Rebels (11-11, 2-7) out-rebounded their opponents by 10 as the Gamecocks didn’t play with the same kind of effort that they did in recent weeks. Head coach Frank Martin knew going into this game that it was going to be tough, given how the team prepared.
“We were not very good. We had no toughness, no discipline to us today,” Martin said. “We were embarrassingly bad in practice on Monday. We could have brought kindergarten guys into practice and they would have practiced better than we did.”
Only two guys scoring at a consistent rate was only a part of the problem for the Gamecocks. Ole Miss was able to run its offense efficiently, and guard Breein Tyree had an unstoppable performance.
Tyree connected on 12-of-21 shots, including 11-of-13 from the free throw line, to score 38 points. The total was a career high for the senior, and first-team All-SEC player from a year ago.
“The only guy who put up a fight on Tyree was Jermaine,” Martin said. “The only guy.”
The Rebels had two other players - forwards Blake Hinson and Khadim Sy - who both scored in double figures putting up 13 and 10 points, respectively. The Rebels shot 47.4 percent from the field for the game and hit 24-of-32 free throws, a key stat in keeping the game out of reach for South Carolina.
The rebounding margin was key in Martin’s eyes, and indicative of the effort - or lack thereof - that the Gamecocks showed on Wednesday. South Carolina had not been out-rebounded since the loss to Auburn on January 22.
“We got outworked,” Martin said. “Without even looking at the stat sheet, we got beat on every cut. We got beat on anything that required any kind of physicality. We’d block shots, but couldn’t come up with loose balls. Other than Jermaine, not one of our guards even attempted to drive the basketball. We couldn’t pass it on offense - we just went spread ball screen because we couldn’t make a pass.”
Sophomore A.J. Lawson was 2-for-10 from the field, including 1-for-6 from behind the three-point line in 26 minutes of action. Sophomore Keyshawn Bryant scored eight points and had three rebounds, but also had a team-high four turnovers.
“They came out like the team that needed to win and fight for their home court,” Martin said. “They took it to us, and we had no answer.”
South Carolina will return to the court this weekend to face Texas A&M on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at the Colonial Life Arena and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.