South Carolina 68, Vanderbilt 63
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)—Renaldo Balkman scored 15 points, including five during a 16-0 second-half run, as South Carolina rallied past Vanderbilt, 68-63, on Wednesday night.
The Gamecocks (11-6, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) fell behind 51-40 under a barrage of threes from Vanderbilt (11-8, 2-4), the SEC’s leader in three-point shooting. But then the Commodores went cold for nearly nine minutes of the second half and South Carolina, led by the lanky, quick Balkman, took advantage.
It was Vanderbilt’s fourth straight loss, the school’s most since losing eight in row toward the end of the 2002-2003 season.
After Carlos Powell fired up the Colonial Center crowd with a straightaway three to cut Vandy’s lead to 51-44, Balkman powered in a missed rebound on the Gamecocks’ next possession. Then the 6-foot-8 Balkman nailed just his fifth 3-pointer of the year to cut the lead to 51-49.
Balkman kept things tight two possessions later, blocking Corey Smith’s inside attempt. Then on South Carolina’s next trip, fellow forward, 6-9 Brandon Wallace, followed with his seventh field goal from behind the arc to put the Gamecocks up for the first time since the game’s earliest moments, 52-51.
Tarance Kinsey hit a 3-pointer and a jumper to close the run and leave the Gamecocks ahead 56-51.
The Commodores went 8:50 of the second half without a field goal, missing 11 straight shots before freshman Shan Foster broke the drought with the fourth of his five 3-pointers with 5:26 to go.
Foster’s final 3-pointer with 18.8 seconds left drew Vanderbilt within 66-63. But Tre Kelley and Josh Gonner made a foul shot each to close it out.
Foster had five of the Commodores’ 12 threes and finished with a team-high 19 points. Mario Moore, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer, was held to six points— less than half his 13.7 point average—and missed all six of his three-point tries.
Vanderbilt tied a school record with 35 three-point attempts, a mark reached twice before—against Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas in 1995.
Kinsey had 15 points for South Carolina while Powell, the Gamecocks’ leading scorer coming in, ended with nine points and 11 rebounds.
After its worst three-point shooting performance (2 of 16) in more than two seasons this past Saturday at Georgia, the Commodores came out firing from the start against South Carolina.
Craig Smith, a senior, hit his first three long-range attempts, all from about the same left-side location. When Smith’s aim faltered, freshman Alex Gordon found the outside touch with four 3-pointers in the opening period.
Of Vanderbilt’s 30 first-half field goal tries, 21 came from behind the arc.
That changed after halftime as the Commodores made only 4 of 14 long-range attempts.