LSU came into its matchup with South Carolina on Wednesday as the surprise lone leader atop the SEC.
It left with a double-digit loss and the SEC still in a state of chaos.
South Carolina picked up a 94-83 victory over LSU to pull even with the Tigers at 8-3 in the SEC. Sindarius Thornwell was critical for the Gamecocks, scoring 24 points by relentlessly attacking the LSU defense and drawing fouls. Duane Notice added 15, and freshman P.J. Dozier also added 12 points and made some important late plays for Frank Martin’s group.
The matchup to watch coming in didn’t disappoint either, as Ben Simmons and Michael Carrera dueled against each other for most of the night. Carrera put up 16 points and six rebounds while Simmons had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists. But while Simmons did get his, the key for the Gamecocks defense was holding Tim Quarterman in check, which they did. He only put up seven points on 2-of-7 shooting with three turnovers before eventually fouling out.
The win was a crucial one for South Carolina, which at 21-3 is poised to make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Frank Martin and the first overall since 2004. It seems like Martin and company might have bigger dreams though, as they’re currently sitting in a tie for first in the SEC and have a big matchup against fellow leader Kentucky at home Saturday. Following that, the only game they’ll have remaining against a team in the top five of the SEC is another home matchup against Florida.
If they can take care of business on their home floor then beat teams they’re supposed to beat, the Gamecocks could very well pick up a share of the SEC crown. And that’s pretty remarkable given where they’ve been over the past decade.