Gamecocks survive Ole Miss in SEC nightcap

08 March, 2018, 12:50 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Houston Roth delivers a pitch to a Governor batter. Ole Miss defeated Austin Peay 11-4 on Tuesday

Forward Chris Silva posted his ninth double-double of the season to lead SC to an 85-84 victory over Ole Miss in a first-round Southeastern Conference tournament game Wednesday night in St. Louis.

Ole Miss is in the midst of its worst season in more than a decade at 12-19 overall and 5-13 in SEC play - the worst record in the league. They were 1-4 under Tony Madlock, who became acting coach when Andy Kennedy, in his 12th season, stepped down on February 18.

Both games can be seen on SEC Network.

The victor of the Georgia-Vandy game moves on to face fifth-seeded Missouri tomorrow. "That's all we asked", Madlock said.

"I'm proud of the way we've played the last two days because it has not been easy", Bianco said.

Ole Miss showed effort, diving on the floor for loose balls, but season-long problems like defensive lapses were too much to overcome. With another strong game from forward Chris Silva, the Gamecocks lived to see another day in St. Louis and will face sixth-seeded Arkansas in Thursday's second round. He was 4 for 7 from the arc.

The Rebels got it down to 84-81 on guard Deandre Burnett's free throws with 16.0 seconds left, but Booker's put the Gamecocks up by four with one of two free throws with 13.4 seconds left, making Stevens' triple at the buzzer meaningless.

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Frank Booker, a graduate transfer from Florida Atlantic, is the only other USC player averaging double figures in scoring (12.5 ppg) and leads the team in three-point shooting with 76 made threes at a 40.4 percent clip.

Burnett hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, and Justas Furmanavicius was there to convert when he missed his third. SC did take a 38-36 edge into halftime, and the game remained close for the first part of the second half. The Gamecocks proceeded to hit 3-pointers on three-straight trips.

After Holston, Bianco turned to junior Parker Caracci who worked a 12-pitch, three-up, three-down seventh inning that set the table for the offense to strike in the bottom half.

It added up to a 13-2 run as the Gamecocks established control. The series is tied 4-4 in SEC Tournament play with Ole Miss winning six of the last eight.

- Chris Silva didn't have his usual energy level on Wednesday night, at least in the eyes of SC coach Frank Martin. We have a lot young guys and they don't understand how to screen and cut.

While Madlock praised his players' determination anything less was never an option, Tyree said. As the losses piled on, if we had hung our heads we were just going to keep losing.

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