After two tight losses to open his ledger as South Carolina's coach, Frank Martin needed overtime to secure his first Southeastern Conference win.
"Three times now we had it late," said Martin. "But nobody hung their heads."
Michael Carrera's 23 points led four South Carolina players in double figures as the Gamecocks defeated LSU 80-73 in overtime Wednesday night.
A 6-foot-5 freshman from Venezuela making just his second road SEC appearance, Carrera dealt well with a physical Tigers front court and a hostile student section that aimed their barbs at him.
"I love pressure," said Carrera. "I am young, but I've dealt with pressure all my life. Road win, so I guess pressure is very good."
Carrera scored 21 points after halftime, including 10 in overtime, when the Gamecocks (11-5, 1-2) outscored the Tigers 13-4. It was an industrious performance, with 9-of-10 free throw shooting and an active inside game, despite an awkward gait that Martin said comes from a "busted-up hip."
"I don't think they were running any plays for him," said LSU guard Charles Carmouche, who hit three 3-point shots on his way to 13 points. "He was just playing hard. He was getting rebounds and going back up."
Brenton Williams added 16 points for South Carolina, while RJ Slawson and Lakeem Jackson each scored 11. Jackson added 11 rebounds to pace all players.
The Tigers (9-5, 0-3) led 69-65 with 2:41 to go before giving up a layup by Carrera and two free throws by Williams. LSU guard Anthony Hickey made a steal but failed to create a shot with the shot clock turned off before Johnny O'Bryant III missed a game-winning jumper attempt for the Tigers.
LSU shot the 3-pointer effectively to open the second half, connecting on five of its first seven 3-point tries, including four by Hickey, who finished with 18 points.
Hickey also grabbed seven rebounds, had three assists and two steals, but his five turnovers in 35 minutes were a symptom of a problem for the Tigers, who committed 22 turnovers that South Carolina turned into 27 points.
"We have to get better against the zone," Carmouche said. "We haven't been good against every team that's shown the zone."
In addition to forcing turnovers, the Gamecocks were able to maintain pressure on the Tigers by getting into the bonus early in the second half. South Carolina attempted 37 free throws, connecting on 28. Williams and Carrera each made 9 of 10 from the stripe.
While Martin got his milestone first conference win, LSU first-year boss Johnny Jones is still looking for his.
"We just didn't come down and finish after we had a four-point lead and get big rebounds to finish off the game there," Jones said.
Neither team shot well in the early going, when LSU took a 9-4 lead. South Carolina, capitalizing on 11 LSU turnovers, built a 34-23 advantage, but the Tigers closed the first half with a 10-1 run to cut their deficit to 35-33.
Unlike Saturday's home loss to Florida, when they were outrebounded 45-34, the Tigers beat South Carolina 40-36 on the boards.
The Gamecocks host Vanderbilt at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
SOUTH CAROLINA (11-5)
Chatkevicius 3-4 0-0 6, Richardson 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 1-5 3-4 5, Ellington 3-12 1-4 7, Jackson 5-6 1-2 11, Williams 3-13 9-10 16, Carrera 7-10 9-10 23, Kacinas 1-3 1-2 3, Leonard 0-1 0-0 0, Slawson 3-4 4-5 11. Totals 26-58 28-37 82.
O'Bryant III 4-9 1-2 9, Del Piero 1-3 5-7 7, Carmouche 3-6 4-4 13, Hickey 7-17 0-0 18, Stringer 4-13 1-1 9, Courtney 1-2 0-0 2, Collins 1-2 0-0 2, Coleman 2-5 2-2 6, Morgan 3-7 0-0 7. Totals 26-64 13-16 73.
Halftime: South Carolina 35-33. End Of Regulation: Tied 69. 3-Point Goals: South Carolina 2-14 (Slawson 1-1, Williams 1-7, Carrera 0-1, Smith 0-1, Ellington 0-2, Kacinas 0-2), LSU 8-27 (Hickey 4-11, Carmouche 3-5, Morgan 1-5, O'Bryant III 0-1, Stringer 0-5). Fouled Out: O'Bryant III. Rebounds: South Carolina 36 (Jackson 11), LSU 40 (Coleman, Hickey 7). Assists: South Carolina 9 (Jackson 4), LSU 15 (Carmouche 5). Total Fouls: South Carolina 16, LSU 26. Attendance: 6,654.