Johnson’s 6 3s, 25 points help South Carolina beat WKU 65-58

GG Jackson in game against Western Kentucky
GG Jackson in game against Western Kentucky(Gamecocks men's basketball twitter)
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 10:04 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Meechie Johnson hit six 3-pointers and finished with 25 points — both career bests — and freshman Gregory Jackson II added 12 points and a season-high 16 rebounds to help South Carolina beat Western Kentucky 65-58 Thursday night.

Hayden Brown scored 11 points but shot just 3 of 11 from the field and 0 for 6 from 3-point range for South Carolina (6-6). The Gamecocks shot 34% (22 of 64) from the field and made just 12 of 25 (48%) from the free-throw line but hit nine 3-pointers and outrebounded Western Kentucky 51-31.

Emmanuel Akot hit a 3-pointer that capped a 9-0 run and gave Western Kentucky a 49-44 lead midway through the second half but the Hilltoppers went without a made field goal for the next 7-plus minutes. Jacobi Wright answered with a 3 and Johnson hit another in a 15-2 spurt that culminated when Johnson converted a traditional three-point play that gave South Carolina a 10-point lead with 2:15 remaining.

Dayvion McKnight scored 28 points with eight rebounds and three steals for Western Kentucky (8-3). The 6-foot-1 junior was 10-of-16 shooting — 0 for 5 from 3-point range — and is averaging 28.3 points on 61.8% shooting over the last three games.

The Hilltoppers shot 36% (20 of 55), made just 3 of 22 (14%) behind the arc, and hit 15 of 25 from the foul line.

Jamarion Sharp scored six points before Luke Frampton hit a 3-pointer to cap Western Kentucky’s 11-2 opening run as the Gamecocks made just one of their first 10 field-goal attempts. Johnson hit two 3-pointers and Chico Carter Jr. added another 3 as South Carolina responded with a 12-2 spurt to take a 14-13 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.

The Hilltoppers, who had their five-game win streak snapped with a 93-84 loss at Louisville on Dec. 14, have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.

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South Carolina is off until Eastern Michigan visits on Dec. 30.