NASHVILLE, Tenn. | South Carolina’s perimeter defense has allowed 35 3-pointers in SEC play.
The problem is more than half of those have come in two games against Vanderbilt — and Saturday, it cost them.
Vanderbilt made 11 3s, including four from Jeffery Taylor, and the Commodores beat the Gamecocks 78-60 as USC’s league record dipped to .500.
“They hit some shots today,” junior Malik Cooke said. “They’re a very good team when they hit a lot of shots.”
Perhaps the biggest of those shots was a 3-pointer from Vanderbilt backup Rod Odom with three seconds left in the first half, extending the Commodores lead to 30-23 in a game that had been back-and-forth early.
Odom’s shot appeared to ignite Vanderbilt’s offense. The Commodores went on a 33-13 run that extended from the final three minutes of the first half until Taylor’s final 3-pointer with 10:26 to play gave Vanderbilt a 58-36 lead.
Vanderbilt finished 11-for-20 on 3-point attempts, its best this season in SEC play.
Ramon Galloway scored 16 points and Bruce Ellington scored 13 to lead South Carolina (13-8, 4-4). Cooke scored 12 points and Sam Muldrow added 11 for the Gamecocks.
John Jenkins led a balanced Vanderbilt attack with 18 points. Taylor and Festus Ezeli scored 17 apiece for the Commodores (16-6, 4-4), who are tied with South Carolina for last in the SEC East.
“It really came down to Vanderbilt made a ton of shots,” USC coach Darrin Horn said. “That’s pretty hard to overcome.”
The Gamecocks struggled early with their perimeter offense, going 1-for-9 from behind the 3-point arc. And Ellington struggled when he was guarded by Taylor.
“I don’t think (Ellington) was frustrated,” Galloway said. “He took a lot of good shots in the paint. Unfortunately, they weren’t falling.
“Shots weren’t going down (for us). But we’ve got to keep defending and rebounding.”
The Commodores made seven 3s when the teams played at USC. No other SEC team has made more than five against the Gamecocks.
“We tell our guys every game in the SEC is going to be a battle,” Horn said. “I think (Vanderbilt) did a really good job of making shots when they needed to.”
|SOUTH CAROLINA||Min||FG M-A||FT M-A||REB O-T||A||PF||PTS|
Percentages: FG .418, FT .533.
3-Point Goals: 6-21, .286 (Ellington 3-10, Galloway 2-8, Muldrow 1-2, Richardson 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 4 (Muldrow 2, Cooke 2).
Turnovers: 15 (Galloway 4, Muldrow 3, Jackson 3, Cooke 2, Ellington, Jefferson, Richardson).
Steals: 12 (Galloway 4, Cooke 3, Muldrow 2, Richardson 2, Jackson).
Technical Fouls: None.
|VANDERBILT||Min||FG M-A||FT M-A||REB O-T||A||PF||PTS|
Percentages: FG .509, FT .684.
3-Point Goals: 11-20, .550 (Taylor 4-4, Odom 3-3, Tinsley 2-3, Jenkins 2-6, Fuller 0-1, Tchiengang 0-1, Goulbourne 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 4 (Taylor 3, Ezeli).
Turnovers: 16 (Taylor 4, Fuller 3, Odom 3, Jenkins 3, Tinsley 2, Tchiengang).
Steals: 5 (Odom 2, Tinsley, Taylor, Tchiengang).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials: Anthony Jordan, Antinio Petty, Bruce Benedict.