South Carolina’s Couisnard beats #10 United Kingdom with three at buzzer

Tanya Simon
January 18, 2020

Total Fouls-Kentucky 27, SC 28.

Couisnard had a career-high 26 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, and SC (9-7, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) stunned No. 10 Kentucky 81-78 on Wednesday night.

SC guard Jermaine Couisnard (5) dribbles the ball as T.J. Moss (1) sets a screen on Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans (0) during the second half an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. SC won 81-78.

The basket touched off pandemonium at Colonial Life Arena as Couisnard tried to outrun his teammates before they caught him for hugs and congratulations. Well, I'm in that locker room every day with them, I'm on that practice court every day with them.

Jermaine Couisnard, South Carolina - Forget the hero shot at the buzzer. "He wasn't going to be denied". "I think that shows how tough we are", Sestina said.

USC scored 56 second-half points - one less than its total in Knoxville and matching what it had in the heard-scratching Stetson loss December 30 - as four Gamecocks finished in double figures, including Couisnard, Keyshawn Bryant (11 of his 15 in the second half), Justin Minaya (all 11 in the second half) and T.J. Moss (eight of his 10 in the second half).

With the win, the Gamecocks got their first SEC win of the season. SC (9-7, 1-2 SEC) entered the matchup as one of the worst offensive teams in the nation among Power 5 schools but tallied 56 points over the final 20 minutes of play.

"Jermaine's becoming the hearbeat of our team", Martin said.

Moments before Couisnard's shot, Immanuel Quickly had pulled the Wildcats even at 78 by banking in a shot with 4.1 seconds to go. The Gamecocks finished with 25 offensive rebounds but just 18 second-chance points, as the two teams missed a combined 38 layups, 21 by the visiting team.

Kentucky led by 14 less than five minutes into the second half and was still up 54-41 on EJ Montgomery's two foul shots with 11:41 left.

That was when Justin Minaya started a run from 27 to 14 over the next seven minutes, which ended with Couisnard's basket off the glass to bring everything to 68. Fouled Out-Hagans, Montgomery, Minaya, Kotsar.

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SC (9-7): Couisnard 9-22 4-7 26, Minaya 4-9 1-2 11, Lawson 1-9 3-6 5, Bryant 6-11 3-5 15, Moss 4-9 1-1 10, Frink 1-4 4-5 6, McCreary 3-4 0-1 6, Kotsar 0-1 0-0 0, Hannibal 0-2 0-0 0, Leveque 1-2 0-3 2.

Couisnard, a freshman guard who scored a game-high 26 points, fueled a huge second-half performance by the Gamecocks.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said they deserved it. "But they never stopped".

Lawson, who entered the game with a team-best 14.5-point scoring average, scored only five points for SC, and top rebounder Maik Kotsar was hampered by foul issues and was scoreless with just four rebounds in 12 minutes.

After shooting 24% from the field in the first half, SC shot 56 percent in the second period.

Kentucky: The Wildcats had four players in double digits and seemed to be in control of the game.

Last shot very much included.

The Gamecocks entered this one on a three-game losing streak that included a terrible home defeat to Stetson. But on the plus side, they have now beaten two top 10 teams. But, South Carolina won against the defending national championship team Virginia in December, 70-59.

SC did so despite its top post player, Maik Kotsar, playing only 12 minutes due to foul trouble. "The guy did his own thing three straight times". LSU visits MS (9-7, 0-3) and hosts Florida in its next two games before leaving conference play to travel to Texas in a Big 12/SEC Challenge game on January 25. SC exploited its size advantage, grabbing 37 offensive rebounds and holding a 62-31 edge in total rebounds.

There were several takeaways from this contest that are interesting, both positive and negative, as the Cats now look ahead to Saturday's contest against a red-hot Arkansas team. SC pulled down 20 offensive rebounds leading to 16 second-chance points.

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