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Ole Miss, South Carolina meet in must-win mode

Jan 10, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks coach Lamont Paris talks to his players during the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina has been wildly inconsistent, while Ole Miss would view inconsistency as an upgrade at this point.

The Gamecocks (8-9, 1-3) and Rebels (8-9, 0-5) will meet Tuesday night in a Southeastern Conference game in Columbia S.C.

South Carolina never led in a 94-53 home loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, just four days after the Gamecocks won by three at Kentucky. In the game before that, South Carolina lost to then-No. 8 Tennessee by 43 points.

“Not our finest performance, that’s for sure,” Gamecocks coach Lamont Paris said of the loss to the Aggies. “We got off to a rough start offensively, and then at some point we were letting the proverbial tail wag the dog in that our defense was being affected by the offense.”

The Gamecocks fell behind 50-18 at halftime and got outrebounded 46-16 overall.

“That’s been part of our kryptonite,” Paris said. “If I look at teams we’ve had lopsided losses to, there’s a lot of physicality and aggression involved in what those teams do on the defensive end.”

South Carolina had only two double-figures scorers — Zachary Davis with 13 points and Meechie Johnson with 11.

Ole Miss followed a familiar pattern with a 62-58 home loss Saturday against Georgia for its sixth consecutive defeat. They led for much of the second half but saw the Bulldogs finish on a 12-4 run as the Rebels made just one field goal in the last four minutes.

“That’s a really, really hurt locker room today,” Rebels coach Kermit Davis said. “There have been a lot of hurt locker rooms. We’re competitive, we’re with every team, (but it’s) our inability to really go and make plays at the end and prevent other teams from making plays.”

Matthew Murrell led the Rebels with 13 points and Amaree Abram added 12.

During its losing streak, Ole Miss has lost by 22 to then-No. 7 Alabama, but the other five defeats have come by an average margin of 5.6 points.

“You just have to keep your head down, keep fighting, and it’ll turn our way,” Davis said. “Right now our team is just fighting and trying to play. We just need some good fortune.”

–Field Level Media