Sharp Shooting Leads South Carolina to an 84-77 Win Over Texas A&M

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A.J. Lawson had 23 points off six of South Carolina’s program record-tying 16 3-pointers to rally past Texas A&M 84-77 on Saturday.

The Gamecocks (13-12, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) trailed by double digits in the first half and were down 45-35 after Savion Flagg opened the second half for Texas A&M with a 3-pointer. Tre Campbell quickly answered for the Gamecocks to start a 29-15 run over the next 13 minutes to take control.

Lawson, the 6-foot-6 freshman, led the way with 13 points after halftime, going 4 of 4 from behind the arc for his second game with 20 or more points in the past three contests.

Chris Silva added 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks as South Carolina continued its surprise run in the SEC. Just 5-7 entering league play, the Gamecocks came in tied for fourth in the SEC.

Texas A&M (10-13, 3-9) saw its two-game win streak end.

Flagg led the Aggies with 24 points and Wendell Mitchell had 20.

South Carolina finished 16 of 31 from behind the arc and tied the school mark for most in a game set against Campbell in November 2007. Hassani Gravett had 18 points off four 3-pointers.

The Aggies came in winning consecutive SEC games for the first time this season with victories over Missouri and Georgia. And they started this one like they didn’t want the run of success to end.

Mitchell had a 3-pointer and a three-point play in the first two minutes to lead a 24-12 start. Mitchell’s third 3 of the half with 5:27 to play gave Texas A&M its biggest lead at 34-21.

That’s when the Gamecocks, behind the 6-foot-9 Silva, finally got things going. Silva skied for an alley-oop off a feed from Gravett, then followed with a 3-pointer to start the charge. South Carolina closed a 14-4 surge on Silva’s bucket that cut things to 38-35 in the half’s final minute.

But Josh Nebo put back a missed shot and TJ Starks went for a breakaway layup in the final 25 seconds to put the Aggies up 42-35 at the break.

KEY STATS
> Carolina tied a school record with 16 made 3s (made 16 vs. Campbell 11/28/07 in Columbia), shooting 51.6 percent (16-for-31) from behind the arc.
> In the last five games, the Gamecocks are 56-of-102 (54.9 percent) from 3. They’ve made 10 or more 3s in four of those five games. Entering today’s game, Carolina sat atop the league in 3-point percentage. The Gamecocks are shooting 41.8 percent (100-for-239) from 3 in SEC play after today.

NOTABLES
> Freshman guard A.J. Lawson was a sizzling 6-of-7 from deep (career-high for made 3s). He had a great all-around game with a team-high 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
> Senior forward Chris Silva recorded his second-straight double-double (eighth of the season) with 22 points and 14 rebounds. He went 7-of-13 from the field and was 7-of-7 at the line. In league play, Silva is 59-for-98 (60.2 percent) from the floor.
> Redshirt senior guard Hassani Gravett scored 18 off the bench with four 3s, five rebounds and four assists. He’s had 11 games in the 2018-19 season with three or more makes from deep. The Gamecocks are 7-1 in SEC games when he scores 10 or more.
> Graduate transfer guard Tre Campbell scored all 13 of his points in the second half after going 3-for-6 from long range. He led the team with six assists and had just one turnover in 37 minutes.
> Today’s victory marks Carolina’s eighth win in league play, the third time that’s happened under head coach Frank Martin. He joins Eddie Fogler as the only coaches to accomplish the feat since the Gamecocks joined the league in 1992.
> South Carolina has trailed by double digits in the second half of four of their SEC wins this season. In those victories, the Gamecocks are outscoring their opponents, 179-130, the final 20 minutes of the game (+12.3).
> Carolina improves to 9-1 in the 2018-19 season when scoring 80 or more points.

UP NEXT
The Gamecocks remain at home and welcome Ole Miss to Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday night. Tip time vs. the Rebels is set for 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) on the call.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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