Freshman forward Sindarius Thornwell's first careerdouble-double wasn't enough as South Carolina fell 75-74 to Ole Miss thisevening at Colonial Life Arena in front of its largest crowd of the season at14,302. Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 24 points and a season high 11rebounds, but he was unable to hit a tough off-balance shot from the top of thekey with 1.8 seconds left.
Thornwell led all scorers, going 7-of-16 from the fieldand 4-7 from beyond on the arc. Anthony Perez led the Rebels with 22 points,while Marshall Henderson and Aaron each had 19.
Ole Miss opened up the game on a 12-4 run triggered by3's from Henderson and Perez. Just over four minutes into the game, point guardDuane Notice was whistled for his second foul sending him to the bench. Twominutes later a dunk from Aaron Jones off of an inbound pass forced theGamecocks to call its first timeout as they trailed by eight.
South Carolina began chipping away through Jaylen Shaw asthe freshman hit a 3-pointer with 13:26 on the clock before converting a pairfrom the foul line 30 seconds later.
Trailing 16-9, Shaw drained his second 3 of the half atthe 10:29 mark to bring the Gamecocks within three.
Just under two minutes later, Michael Carrera turned overJarvis Summers and took it the length of the court for a layup to pull theGamecocks within one. Fouled on the play, the sophomore converted thethree-point play to tie the game. With just over eight minutes remaining in thehalf, Carrera gave Carolina its first lead with a pair from the free throwline.
Carrera continued to be the catalyst for the home teamduring the early part of the run as he pushed the lead to four as Thornwellfound him on the back door.
Thornwell then extended the Gamecocks lead to 27-21 witha 3 from the right side. The forward added two more of his game-high 24 pointswith just over two minutes remaining in the half to give Carolina aneight-point lead. After two more from Mindaugas Kacinas, the Gamecocks tooktheir largest lead of the half at 12, 37-25, after Desmond Ringer hit a pairfrom the foul line with 1:27 left.
Perez added two in the final minute for the Rebels, butCarolina took a 37-27 lead into the half as the team turned 11 Ole Missturnovers into 16 points.
Despite two early free throws from Thornwell to open thesecond half, the Rebels went on a 15-2 spurt as Henderson scored seven straightpoints during the run after only scoring three in the first half.
After giving up the lead for the first time since the8:06 mark in the first half, Thornwell responded with a back-to-back 3-pointersto hold the Gamecocks lead at 47-45. Henderson though, quickly responded with a3 of his own to grab the Rebels the lead back.
Down three at 54-51, Thornwell leveled the game with hisseason-high fourth 3-pointer of the game with 11:26 on the clock, but SouthCarolina was unable to regain the lead until the 6:04 mark. Thorwell went wassent to the line after pulling down an offensive rebound a missed free throw.The freshmen hit 1-of-2 from the line to give the Gamecocks a 62-61 lead.
Notice extended the lead to three on the ensuingpossession with a floater in the lane for his first points of the afternoon.The freshman point guard pushed the lead to five with four and half remaining,but the Rebels scored five straight points to tie the game up at 68-68 with2:56 to play.
With 2:04 left, Summers drove hard through lane andkicked the ball out to Perez in the left corner where the forward hit hissecond 3 of the game. Brenton Williams attempted to match Perez at the otherend, but his shot was off the mark. Summers then converted two from the foulline to push the Rebels lead to 73-68.
Ole Miss though was only able to hit 2-of-6 free throwsin the final minutes as the Gamecocks closed the gap at the foul line. AfterThornwell converted two attempts, Williams was fouled on a 3-point attempt withsix seconds remaining. The senior calmly sank all three free throws to bringCarolina within one.
The Rebels were unable to get a clean inbound pass offand Williams grabbed the errant pass in the backcourt. Out of a timeout with1.8 seconds left, Thornwell received the pass at the top of the key, but thepressure on the ball forced an off-balance shot that was wide of the mark.
Shaw and Williams each scored nine points on the day forthe Gamecocks, with Williams going 9-of-9 from the charity stripe. Carerrachipped in eight points and six rebounds.
South Carolina held the 2014 Carolina Basketball LegendsWeekend Commemorating Frank McGuire this weekend, and continued eventfestivities at the men's basketball contest versus Ole Miss. McGuire-era legends signed autographspre-game on the concourse level at the arena, and all legends were honored in apre-game ceremony on the court. Also atSaturday's game, the Gamecock football team was recognized at halftime. Head coach Steve Spurrier addressed thecrowd, along with athletics director Ray Tanner, Jadeveon Clowney and BruceEllington.
The Gamecocks now hit the road this week as the teamheads to Georgia on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for the 8 p.m. ET and willbroadcast on SEC TV.