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Men's Basketball

Silva's double-Double helps South Carolina hold off Ole Miss

March 08, 2018

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Men's Basketball vs. Ole Miss (SEC Tournament First Round)

ST. LOUIS (AP)Chris Silva didn't have his usual energy level on Wednesday night, at least in the eyes of South Carolina coach Frank Martin.

If that was an off night for Silva, then the Gamecocks are in good hands moving forward in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Led by Silva's 21 points and 11 rebounds, 11th-seeded South Carolina (17-15) rallied from five points down in the second half to defeat Mississippi 85-84 in the opening round of the tournament on Wednesday night.

''(Silva) didn't have a lot of energy,'' Martin said. ''I don't know if he didn't sleep well or didn't eat well. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't feel well. He's too good a kid. He doesn't tell you. He just goes out there and tries to do his best.''

The win wasn't nearly as memorable as last year's Final Four run for South Carolina, but it was a first step toward what the Gamecocks hope is miracle five-games-in-five-days run through the SEC that results in a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Silva was one of five players to score in double figures for South Carolina, which led by as many as nine points in the first half. Frank Booker also scored 21 points, and Justin Minaya had 16. Maik Kotsar added 14 points and Wesley Myers 10 in the win for the Gamecocks, who advance to face No. 6 seed Arkansas on Thursday.

Despite the comfortable first-half margin for South Carolina, the closing minutes were anything but secure. After falling behind by as many as five points midway through the second half, the Gamecocks used a late 16-4 run to take control - before holding off an inspired effort from the Rebels (12-20) in the closing minute.

Breein Tyree scored 18 points to lead the 14th-seeded Rebels, who lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games to end the season and finished their season without former coach Andy Kennedy .

Terence Davis added 16 points, while Bruce Stevens had 15 and Deandre Burnett 13 for Ole Miss.

Booker put South Carolina up 85-81 with a free throw with 13.4 seconds remaining. Stevens answered with a 3-pointer on the other end, but it came at the buzzer.

''Your coach leaves with basically four regular season games left, and it's one of those deals that we had to try and rally around each other, stay positive, stay together, and they did a good job of that,'' Ole Miss interim coach Tony Madlock said. ''I'm just so proud of those guys.''

BIG PICTURE

Ole Miss: The Rebels were playing their fifth game without Kennedy, who made his resignation effective immediately a day following a loss at Mississippi State on Feb. 18. After responding with an overtime win over Missouri the game following Kennedy's departure, Ole Miss lost its final four games of the season. ... Despite the loss on Wednesday night, the Rebels put forth an inspired effort to build on heading into the post-Kennedy era next season.

South Carolina: Silva attempted 16 of his career-high 20 free-throw attempts in the second half, scoring the first five points of the half from the line and helping the Gamecocks withstand the early second-half run from the Rebels. The senior entered the game fourth nationally in free-throw attempts on the season, and he topped his previous bests in makes (11) and attempts (14) - both which came in the loss to Ole Miss on Dec. 31. ''I mean, they (were) doubling on me, but the guards was just doing a really good job trying to find me, trying to give me the ball,'' Silva said. ''I was trying to finish.''

KEY STAT

Trailing by three with 10:36 to play, the Gamecocks used a 10-0 run over a 2 minute stretch to retake the lead and go up seven, 68-61, with just over nine minutes remaining.

NOTABLE

  • Carolina scored a season-high 85 points, knocking down 12 3s after shooting nearly 60 percent from behind the arc. Graduate transfer guard Frank Booker (6) and freshman guard Justin Minaya (4) combined for 10 triples. Booker's six made 3-pointers match an all-time high for a Gamecock in SEC tournament play. Current Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton Jr. hit six 3s vs. LSU on March 12, 2004 in the conference tournament.

  • Over the past eight games, Booker is averaging 17.8 points. He's made 28 3s in that stretch, shooting 43 percent from behind the arc (28-for-65).

  • Junior forward Chris Silva scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double in 2017-18 (14th career). He played a career-high 38 minutes and his 20 free throw attempts in tonight's game are also a new career high. Silva, who has scored in double-figures 25 times this season, tallied 20 points for the first time since scoring a career-high 27 in the win over No. 20 Kentucky back on Jan. 16.
  • Five players (Frank Booker - 21, Chris Silva - 21, Justin Minaya - 16, Maik Kotsar - 14 and Wesley Myers - 10) scored in double-figures for the Gamecocks, marking the first time that's happened this season.

  • Carolina improves to 12-2 when leading at halftime and 15-2 when scoring 70-plus points this season.

  • Tonight's victory is the Gamecocks' first at the SEC Tournament since 2015. It's the team's fourth win in its last six games overall this season.

UP NEXT

Carolina advances to the second round to face sixth-seeded Arkansas on Thursday at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET. South Carolina met Arkansas just once during the regular season, with the Razorbacks posting an 81-65 win in Fayetteville.


 

 

 

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