Gamecocks Slip Past UC Irvine, 67-65
South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross, right, blocks a breakaway layup from UC Irvine guard Michael Hunter, left, during the second half of their basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)
 
South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross, right, blocks a breakaway layup from UC Irvine guard Michael Hunter, left, during the second half of their basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

Dec. 28, 2007

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Devan Downey scored nine straight points down the stretch, including a tying 3-pointer and six foul shots in the final 1:14, to help South Carolina to a 67-65 win over UC Irvine on Friday night.

Downey's 3-pointer with 2:19 left tied it at 60, and his first of six straight free throws gave the Gamecocks (7-5) the lead for good in a game where they trailed by 13 early in the second half.

A pair of free throws by Downey with 24 seconds left put South Carolina ahead 64-60. Brett Lauer hit a 3-pointer for the Anteaters (4-8), but Downey hit two more foul shots with 12 seconds left to put the Gamecocks up 66-63.

UC Irvine's Michael Hunter missed a 3 the next trip down, and Dominique Archie made one of his two free throws to put the game away.

Archie led South Carolina with 18 points while Downey added 17 on 5-of-14 shooting.

Darren Fells tied a career high with 20 points, and Patrick Sanders also scored 20 for UC Irvine.

The Anteaters led by seven at half and started the second half on an 8-2 run to take their biggest lead at 44-31 with 16 minutes to go.

But the Gamecocks forced three straight turnovers and kept rallying until Chad Gray's 3-pointer with 8:14 to go left them just a point down at 50-49.

South Carolina would take its first lead since 12 minutes left to go in the first half when Downey's driving bucket with 5:54 left gave the Gamecocks a 55-53 advantage.

South Carolina came into the game shooting 44.5 percent on 3-pointers, but made just 23.1 percent (3-of-13) of its shots from behind the arc Friday.

Zam Fredrick added nine points, six rebounds and four assists for the Gamecocks.

Lauer added 12 points and Kevin Bland pulled down 11 rebounds for the Anteaters.