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Devan Downey said he spoke to Mike Holmes after Holmes was dismissed from the team Friday.

"He told us good luck," said Downey, who has known Holmes for years, having played for the same AAU program. "Mike's still a friend. Maybe not a teammate anymore, but he's still a friend."

Downey also backed the decision by coach Darrin Horn to let Holmes go for what Horn termed a repeated violation of team rules.

"Coach Horn is gonna do what's best for the team," Downey said. "I don't know all the details. It wasn't my decision. I support Coach Horn and the staff. It's the best decision for the team."

Freshman Lakeem Jackson only got to know Holmes briefly.

"Good guy. Whatever happened, happened," Jackson said. "I just wish him the best."

Not-free throws. Not that it was the difference, but USC's free throw struggles were back - particularly from Jackson.

The freshman forward was 1-for-9 from the line. He missed two free throws with 4:35 left, when USC had a chance to cut it to single digits for the first time in the second half.

"That's all I can think about," Jackson said. "I might not even sleep tonight about that."

South Carolina entered the weekend shooting 66.3 percent from the line, which ranks 10th in the SEC.

- Seth Emerson

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