Published January 23, 2013
| Sports Network
Columbia, MO – Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown each drained clutch 3-pointers in the closing moments of the second half to help No. 22 Missouri overcome a 13-point deficit and down South Carolina, 71-65, at Mizzou Arena.
Ross finished with a game-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds, while Brown had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers (14-4, 3-2 SEC), who won for the fourth time in six games.
Alex Oriakhi posted 18 points and 11 boards in the victory.
"South Carolina was physical and aggressive, but we were able to get to the free throw line and I'm proud of our execution late in the game. I'm proud of our guys," Missouri coach Frank Haith said.
Brenton Williams paced South Carolina (11-7, 1-4) with 16 points and R.J. Slawson added 12 in the Gamecock's second straight loss and fourth in their last five games overall.
The Gamecocks held a 35-27 lead at the break and then scored six of the first seven points of the second half to open up a 41-28 advantage.
But Missouri then reeled off a lengthy 20-2 run Brown capped with a driving layup off a Negus Webster-Chan steal to go on top 48-43 with just under 12 minutes to play.
South Carolina responded with an 8-1 push to regain the lead, and the remainder of the game saw five ties and five lead changes as the teams went back-and-forth on the court.
The final lead change came with 1:10 left in the contest when Ross drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to hand the Tigers a 66-63 edge with 1:10 to play.
After a pair of free throws by Williams at the other end brought the Gamecocks back within one, Phil Pressey drove into the lane before kicking a pass out to a wide open Brown in the left corner and he drained the triple with 14 seconds showing.
Bruce Ellington quickly raced down the court looking to bring South Carolina back within two, but he missed a driving layup and Tony Criswell made a pair of foul shots to account for the final margin.
"We had the opportunities to make a defensive stop but we were not disciplined. We were not disciplined in that moment," South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.
Lakeem Jackson and Eric Smith each connected on a 3-pointer during an early 9-2 push to give South Carolina an 11-6 advantage.
Four straight points by Oriakhi brought Missouri back within one before Williams drained a pair of treys around a Ross free throw to put the Gamecocks up 17-11.
Oriakhi again led the charge with four points as the Tigers battled back to knot the game at 17, but they could not take the lead until Brown capped a string of five straight foul shots by the Tigers to put Missouri ahead 22-20 with 5:05 to play in the first half.
South Carolina closed out the first half with a 15-5 run to take a 35-27 lead into intermission.
It was the first-ever meeting between the teams on the hardwood ... Jackson finished with nine points in the loss ... Missouri held a 44-43 edge on the glass and a 28-26 advantage in points in the paint ... Neither team shot well from the floor, as the Tigers shot 33.3 percent and South Carolina connected on 36.9 percent of its shots.