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Vanderbilt battles past South Carolina in OT to win SEC opener

Jan 3, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Gregory Jackson II (23) and Vanderbilt Commodores guard Tyrin Lawrence (0) fight for the loose ball during the second half at Memorial Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Behind 22 points, seven rebounds and six blocks from Liam Robbins, Vanderbilt scored an 84-79 overtime win over South Carolina on Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn., in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

Ezra Manjon had 24 points, Jordan Wright had 13 and Tyrin Lawrence added 10 for Vanderbilt (8-6, 1-0 SEC).

Chico Carter posted 24 points to lead South Carolina (7-7, 0-1). Meechie Johnson (18), GG Jackson (13) and Hayden Brown (12) tallied double-figure scoring for the Gamecocks.

Vanderbilt outscored the Gamecocks 17-12 in overtime, thanks to 13-of-14 foul shooting in the extra period.

Carter kept South Carolina in a close game, banking in a short jumper from the left side to tie it at 63 with 2:55 left in regulation. Johnson, splitting Vandy’s defense for a layup along the right side, got South Carolina within 67-65 with 50 seconds left.

On the last possession of regulation, the Gamecocks missed a pair of 3s but in a broken-floor situation with both teams trying to corral a rebound, Carter got it and whipped a pass to a wide-open Brown for a layup with 0.3 seconds left. That knotted the score at 67 and sent the game to overtime.

But Brown and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk both fouled out in the first 36 seconds of overtime, allowing Vandy to slowly take control.

Manjon’s open 13-foot jumper with 1:38 left provided a 77-72 advantage. Robbins canned a pair of free throws with 42.5 left to stretch the lead to five again while Manjon added a pair with 31.1 left to make the lead six.

Vanderbilt took a five-point lead, its largest to that point, on Colin Smith’s 3 barely a minute into the second half.

But South Carolina, thanks to five points from Carter, went on a 16-4 spurt to go back ahead over the next six minutes to lead 48-41.

The Commodores used most of the rest of the half to claw back and tie it at 61.

Vanderbilt trailed for most of a slow-paced first half but came out ahead 34-32 at the break behind eight points from Wright. Robbins’ dunk with 23 seconds before halftime provided the difference.

–Field Level Media