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Live Thread: Tigers seek to redeem themselves against the Gamecocks

Missouri fell to South Carolina on Jan. 13 at home, but the Tigers will have an opportunity to split the regular season series on the road.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Final: South Carolina 72, Missouri 64

1st Half

  • Starters for Mizzou: Jordan Butler, Jesus Carralero Martin, Nick Honor, Sean East II, and Tamar Bates.
  • Mizzou is off to a hot start. Buckets by Jesus Carralero-Martin and Tamar Bates have the Tigers up 4-0.
  • Ta’lon Cooper knocks down a 3-pointer while BJ Mack II scores underneath. Gamecocks lead 5-4.
  • Mack extended the lead to four briefly, but Sean East drove for an and-one. 8-6 Gamecocks at the first media timeout.
  • Tamar Bates recorded a monster block on Meechie Johnson before the under 12 timeout. Aidan Shaw will shoot free throws when play resumes but the Tigers trail 14-9.
  • B.J Mack, who scored 21 point the last time these two team played, knocked down his second 3-pointer. Gamecocks lead extended to 17-10.
  • Everything is going right for South Carolina right now. Excellent spacing leads to a 3-pointer by SC. The Gamecocks are 4-of-6 from behind the arc and lead 22-10.
  • Sean East II and Tamar Bates ended Mizzou’s scoring drought, but the Tigers still trail 26-14 at the under eight timeout.
  • Bates and Connor Vanover cuts it to a nine-point game.
  • Back-to-back buckets by Noah Carter makes it an eight-point game. Gamecocks lead 29-21.
  • What was once a 12-point game is now four. Sean East II added a floater and Nick Honor knocked down a 3-pointer in transition. South Carolina leads 30-26.
  • Halftime: South Carolina 39, Missouri 29. The Tigers cut it to single-digits but Ta’lon Cooper hit one before the buzzer.

2nd Half

  • Mizzou has opened up the second half on a 6-0 run behind East and Butler. 39-35 Gamecocks.
  • Nick Honor cuts it to a one-point game. Missouri is back in it and trails 39-38.
  • Tamar Bates gives the Tigers the lead in transition. Its a one-point Missouri lead!!
  • South Carolina takes the lead back with an and-one by B.J. Mack. SC leads 42-40.
  • Both teams are going back-and-forth. Both teams have combined for 10 free throw attempts this have. Game tied at 46.
  • Now South Carolina has taken a seven-point lead behind 3-pointers by Jacobi Wright and Ta’lon Cooper. Gamecocks lead 53-46.
  • East ends a long scoring drought for Missouri. South Carolina hasn’t scored in 2:58. Gamecocks lead 54-50 with eight to play.
  • Jordan Butler fouls out leading to a pair of free throws by Collin Murray-Boyles. The deficit for Missouri is now ten with less than five minutes to play.
  • A beautiful pass by Sean East leads to a Tamar Bates dunk. It cuts South Carolina’s lead to five.
  • Final: South Carolina 72, Missouri 64.

Pregame Updates

Today’s Preview

Missouri is still searching for that first SEC win in late January. Tuesday produced the same results that we’ve seen since this team took the court against Georgia. The Tigers held a lead but everything that’s been frustrating with this team came to haunt them in Texas A&M resulting in a 63-57 loss.

The Tigers' opponent is a familiar foe. South Carolina handed Missouri a heartbreaking overtime loss on Jan. 13. The Tigers and Gamecocks seasons are polar opposites from a season ago, as the Gamecocks are a shocking 15-3 (4-2), while MU is 8-11 (0-6).


Starters

Projected Starters

Mizzou

G: Nick Honor (Grad, 10.6 PPG)

G: Sean East II (Grad, 15.9 PPG)

F: Jesus Carralero-Martin (Sr, 2.4 PPG)

F: Jordan Butler (Fr, 1.9 PPG)

F: Tamar Bates (Jr, 10.7 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Noah Carter (Grad, 12.2 PPG)

South Carolina

G: Ta’Lon Cooper (Sr, 9.8 PPG)

G: Meechie Johnson (Jr, 16.6 PPG)

F: Collin Murray-Boyles (Fr, 6.7 PPG)

F: B.J. Mack (Grad, 13.5 PPG)

F: Stephen Clark (Grad, 2.7 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Jacobi Wright (Jr, 6.6 PPG)

*These are projected starters. Also, in today’s college basketball, positions rarely mean much. Those are included purely for perspective on what matchups on the court may look like.


Get to know South Carolina again

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina coach Lamont Paris has the program heading in the right direction. He went 11-21 last season with the Gamecocks and has already exceeded the team’s previous win total. Prior to arriving in Columbia, SC. he spent five seasons as the head man in Chatanooga, where he built steady growth with the Mocs and, in his last season, had the program in the NCAA Tournament. Paris has had tenures as an assistant at Wisconsin (2010-2017), Akron (2005-10), IUP (2001-04), DePauw (1999-00), and his alma mater Wooster (1997-98), where he was a two-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference player. — From Jan. 13, 2024.

As of this writing (January 25), KenPom has South Carolina No. 52 in its rankings, up 12 spots from the last time these two teams met. In that same time span, the Gamecocks have also improved to 59th and 61st in offensive and defensive efficiency.

Since playing Mizzou: With a potential win over the Tigers it would be shocking to see the Gamecocks not in the AP top 25. Following the first meeting at Mizzou Arena, South Carolina fell at home to a good Georgia team, but that was not representative of what would come next.

A trip to Bud Walton Arena is always a tough test, but behind B.J. Mack (18 points), Zachary Davis (12 points), Ta’Lon Cooper and Collin Murray-Boyles (11 points each), the Gamecocks handed Arkansas its eighth loss of the season by a score of 77-64.

Paris’ squad carried that momentum back home for a date with No. 6 Kentucky. Cooper and Meechie Johnson Jr. combined for 34 points while Jacobi Wright added 14 off the bench as South Carolina defeated the Wildcats 79-62 for its highest-ranked win since defeating No.1 UK 68-62 in 2010.


3 Keys to Victory

#1 Get to the free throw line early

Texas A&M lived at the free-throw line on Tuesday. On 37 attempts, the Aggies tallied 27 of their 63 points (42%) at the charity stripe. By the time Curt Lewis got to the free throw line at the 2:41 mark in the first half for the Tigers, the Aggies had already attempted 16 to that point...and to make matters worse, Lewis missed it.

On what he feels has been leading to close losses: “I think a lot of it, like last game it definitely was the free throw line. They shot 37 free throws; we shot 10, so that was a big difference, especially against A&M,” — Jordan Butler on Jan. 25, 2024.

Yes, allowing a team to get to the free throw line often isn’t good whatsoever, but it's more alarming that the Tigers aren’t getting to the free throw line at all, especially early on. It’s something that Dennis Gates has noted throughout the 2023-24 season, and it's still a concern that hasn’t been fixed.

#2 Take care of the ball

Let’s keep looking back at the A&M game. 37 points came on free throws, and 21 points from A&M came off of turnovers by Mizzou. The Tigers committed 15 turnovers against the Aggies compared to their nine. The careless turnovers by the Tigers gave the Aggies the chance to take and extend an early lead in the first half.

“A bulk of our turnovers happened during that run,” he (Dennis Gates) said. “I think we were seven-to-eight turnovers at that point in time and we were trying to make the right play and maybe off where we were supposed to be.”

Dennis Gates on Texas A&M’s 21-2 run in the first half after Missouri’s loss at College Station.

#3 Limit B.J. Mack

Mack had his second-best game of the season the last time both teams faced off against each other. On 7-of-12 shooting, the 6-foot-8 forward tallied 21 points on the Tigers to go along with four rebounds and two assists. Mack was limited to just eight points against Kentucky but scored 16 and 18 against Georgia and Arkansas. This is the first time Mizzou is facing a team for a second time. Hopefully there is a better game plan to limit Mack’s abilities.


Game Prediction

KenPom Prediction: South Carolina 73, Missouri 64

My Prediction: Missouri 77, South Carolina 71

If Cooper missed that shot against the Tigers back on Jan. 13, the Tigers would be heading into this game looking for a season sweep. It’s not that teams are completely outmatching Mizzou; the Tigers are creating their own self-inflicted mistakes leading to losses. South Carolina is coming off an emotional high, while Missouri is coming in upset but hungry after another frustrating defeat. This could be dangerous for South Carolina at home.