OXFORD, Miss. (AP) B.J. Mack scored 17 points and No. 20 South Carolina snapped a two-game losing skid with a 72-59 win over Mississippi on Saturday.

The victory helped the Gamecocks (22-5, 10-4 SEC) hold on to their spot among the top four teams in the conference giving them a shot at earning the double-bye in the conference tournament. They have three games left in the regular season.

South Carolina played solid defense and frustrated Ole Miss' best scorer Matthew Murrell. The Rebels (19-8, 6-8) shot just 33% from the field. Murrell, who averages 17.3 points, got in early foul trouble, picking up two in the game's first four minutes.

The Gamecocks led 36-22 at the half.

“Our effort today was led by what we did defensively especially in the first half," South Carolina coach Lamont Paris said. “As we came out in the second I thought we did a good job of being intentional of trying to outperform the first half versus seeing how fast the clock would run. There’s no doubt our defense led the way. It allows you to have a chance when you play on the road if you defend like that.”

Ole Miss started playing better in the second half until Allen Flanigan was ejected after a flagrant foul with 16:53 left, and seconds later Murrell picked up his third foul. He finished with 10 points.

“It’s hard for us to play without Matt Murrell on the floor. We’re plus-six with Matt on the floor," Ole Miss coach Chris Beard said. “Our team’s not set up for Matt to play half the game. I thought about playing him more, but I thought we were close enough in the game until the end of the first half. That will be something I have to sleep with tonight.”

Flanigan had 11 points when he departed.,"

Jaemyn Brakefield’s 3-pointer with 11:32 left got the Rebels back within 11, but that was as close as the Rebels could get.


Ole Miss won its first 14 games but in conference play has been more reflective of the rebuilding program Beard inherited. The Rebels have lost five of six with resume-building opportunities fast slipping away.

South Carolina can boost it’s NCAA seeding with a strong showing in the final stretch which includes No. 24 Florida and No. 5 Tennessee at home in the last two games.


South Carolina plays at Texas A&M on Wednesday

Ole Miss is at home against No. 13 Alabama on Wednesday.


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