No. 24 South Carolina rallies late to defeat Ole Miss 77-74 in overtime
For majority of the game, Ole Miss held a comfortable lead and kept South Carolina on its heels. But the Gamecocks woke up late and found their spark through senior forward Michael Carrera, who scored the game’s final five points to help No. 24 USC (17-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) defeat the Rebels 77-74 in overtime on Tuesday night inside The Pavilion.
Carrera finished the game with 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Duane Notice added 14 points on 5 of 13 shooting.
“We did what we were supposed to do. We just ran our offense in the last five minutes of the game,” Carrera said. “We did what coach told us to do and we just executed.”
At the 6:25 mark in the second half, Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody knocked down two foul shots, then found Terence Davis under the rim for the easy layup. Ole Miss (12-6, 2-4) led 64-53 at that moment. After that, the fans inside The Pavilion stood on their feet as Moody became the 38th player at the University of Mississippi to score 1,000 points in his career.
Moody had 24 points and dished out five assists on 8 of 13 shooting.
Moody injury and foul trouble hinder Rebels’ late in the game
But the game wasn’t over and things got bad for the Rebels when Moody injured his left hamstring. He limped on it for almost four minutes late in the second half through the early minutes of overtime. Andy Kennedy pulled him at the 1:58 mark of overtime.
Anthony Perez and Tomasz Gielo fouled out late in the game when Kennedy was in need of some depth. Perez had 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, while shooting 5 for 8 from the floor. Gielo had nine points on 3 for 12 shooting.
Marcanvis Hymon added 10 points and played more than what he’s used to–42 minutes–since the team was low on players.
“Yeah, you just got to deal with it,” said Kennedy, who’s now 6-8 all-time against the Gamecocks. “When I first saw Moody grab his hamstring, I thought it was a cramp, then he thought it was a little more than that. He wanted to play, but he just couldn’t move.”
And Ole Miss wasn’t the same without its star player.
Rasheed Brooks’ two foul shots and Donte Fitpatrick-Dorsey’s dunk in transition tied the game at 72, but Carrera’s 3-point play put USC up 75-72 and gave the Gamecocks the breathing room they were looking for.
USC grabbed its first lead since leading 13-12 early in the first half off a Sindarius Thornwell free throw early in overtime, led 67-66. Thornwell, the Gamecocks’ leading scorer, went 1 for 15 from the field, finishing with five points.
That didn’t bother his coach at all.
“There are not too many guys I have coached that I would rather have shooting free throws at the end of games than Sindarius,” USC’s head coach Frank Martin said. “He kept going to the line and kept missing and I don’t overreact on that.”
The Rebels held a 66-55 lead with 4:13 to go in the second half, then USC went on an 11-0 run to send the game into overtime. The run was capped off by four straight points from Carrera.
First half struggles for both teams
Neither team shot the basketball well in the first half, but Ole Miss made enough shots to grab the lead. USC held the lead once off PJ Dozier’s 3-point play, then from there, the Rebels maintained full control of a game filled with missed offensive opportunities on both sides.
Ole Miss used an 11-4 run to take its biggest lead, 36-25, early in the first half. The run was capped off by Perez’s 3 then a transition layup by Moody. The Gamecocks scored four quick points- layups by Thornwell and Mindaugas Kacinas- to cut it to seven.
Then Moody drained a step back 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Rebels a 39-29 lead at intermission.
Moody and Perez had 12 points apiece to lead Ole Miss in the first half. Kacinas had eight to lead USC. The Rebels shot 13 of 30 in the first half, but made up for it from the free throw line, going 6 for 7. The Gamecocks were 12 for 31 and had a difficult time finding open spots on the floor with Ole Miss covering it with its 2-3 zone and full-court press.
The Rebels were out-rebounded 23-15 and that was in large due to the absence of forward Sebastian Saiz, who had eye surgery early Tuesday morning to repair a detached retina. He’s expected to be out an indefinite period of time.
Ole Miss was also without Martavious Newby, who sat on the bench with an eye injury.
Ole Miss plays at Mississippi State on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.