Sometimes, you really don’t have an answer.
The Gamecocks shot 48% from the field, 87% from the line, and 53% from beyond the arc; which included a school record sixteen threes. And when they did happen to miss... they got the rebound, posting an absurd 44% offensive rebounding rate en route to a 38-29 overall advantage on the glass.
In short: They couldn’t miss, and they grabbed the rebound when they did.
Unfortunately, this was yet another slow start. South Carolina jumped out to an 8-3 lead and generally maintained a two possession advantage for the majority of the half.
The one bright spot? Texas A&M Basketball got to the line at will, hitting 13 of 17 first half free throws to stay in range.
Halftime Score: South Carolina 37, Texas A&M 31
To our credit, we did a nice job coming out of the break. Part of that was South Carolina cooling off, and part of it was due to some (cough) friendly officiating in our favor... but whatever the cause, we found ourselves up 49-48 at the under twelve break.
And then all hell broke loose.
The Gamecocks had NINE threes and TEN offensive rebounds over the last twelve minutes, which will put you to sleep in any basketball game, at any level.
Buzz pretty much summed it up after the game, saying:
Half of their shots were from the 3-point line, and we did an incredibly poor job contesting those shots [...] and they outrebounded us by 15 (23 to 8) in the second half.
Final Score: South Carolina 81, Texas A&M 67
- I invoked the name Billy Clyde Gillispie last week... and we’ve since given up our two highest point totals this season. On the surface, that doesn’t sound great. But technically, we did do our job. South Carolina ranks 11th nationally inside the arc, and we kept them 20+ feet from the basket. Now, we didn’t contest them at that point... but we did a nice job denying what they like to do.
- We brought a paper straw to a knife fight, countering South Carolina’s school record performance with a putrid 3-14 effort from beyond the arc.
- If you’re wondering how we managed to stay close for 30 minutes, the answer lies at the free throw line. We were 28-41 from the stripe, obliterating our season high in both makes and attempts. We were on the right side of some “light” foul calls, which made it all the more frustrating when we couldn’t translate that into a win.
- Rebounding is officially a problem again. We were absolutely killed on the glass for the second game running, as the Gamecocks posted a 44% offensive rebounding rate. That’s not quite as bad as our LSU effort (51%), but it’s still bad.
- Honestly, our offensive game plan was pretty good. We got ten shots for Nebo, we only took eleven threes, and we were aggressive going to the basket. I believe Buzz said this was the first time we cleared the “one point per possession” metric, which is obviously good to see. We just couldn’t stop them.
We were favorites today.
That speaks to how far we’ve come in the last few weeks, but it also speaks to the opportunity we had this afternoon. This was one of our two or three best chances to grab another home conference win, and you could argue it was the single best chance remaining on our schedule.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we’re going to finish 2-16... but in most cases, we’re going to have to win as underdogs. That wasn’t the case today, which makes it tough to swallow.
Time to hit the road.