The South Carolina men's basketball team was able to knock off the top 25 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores last night 83-75 in their SEC opener at the Colonial Life Arena. Sam Muldrow recorded the second triple-double in school history with 16 points, 10 blocks, and 14 rebounds. USC trailed in the second half 63-52 with a little over 8 minutes remaining but used an impressive display from freshman Bruce Ellington and senior Sam Muldrow to pull the Gamecocks to a tie to end regulation. USC dominated in the overtime period as Sam Muldrow scored 5 points including a big 3-pointer that helped sealed the Gamecocks upset win.
USC never lead in this game until the overtime period. During the 20-9 run to close the 2nd half, freshman guard Bruce Ellington showed he's more than ready to replace Devan Downey. Ellington scored 12 of the 15 final points for the Gamecocks in regulation by nailing 4 3-pointers. He has really progressed much quicker than everyone expected and has shown he's more than just a true freshman. Ellington has scored 20 points or more in 5 of his 14 games played this season.
The Gamecocks also got big performances from Lakeem Jackson and a gritty performance off the bench from Malik Cooke who had 8 points and 13 rebounds. This is an extremely young team but maybe some tough early season non-conference games gave this team, at least on this day, the experience it needed to make a comeback of this magnitude on an impressive Vanderbilt team. USC was dominated inside early by the Vanderbilt big men and John Taylor was lights out all night long with 27 points but it wasn't enough as this truly was a team effort for the Gamecocks from everyone.
USC brings their record to 10-4 on the season with a 1-0 record in conference play. USC will go on the road for the next two games playing at Alabama on 1/12 and at Florida on 1/15. The Gamecocks will return home on 1/19 to play SEC West foe Arkansas.