Returning to the scene of as gruesome season-ending injury from last season, Wes Clark played arguably the best game of his Missouri career Saturday in an 81-72 loss at South Carolina.
“I had a few jitters when we walked into this building from the last time I walked in here,” Clark said after the game. “There was a little nervousness for me, but as time went on I got to playing and got comfortable.”
Clark scored a game- and career-high 26 points. He added a game-high eight assists, which is one shy of his career best, and also snagged a team-high six rebounds, which is one shy of his season best.
“I’ll tell you this, he loves kicking our tail,” Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said. “He was playing his tail off last year and just killing us here in this building. I remember I was the first guy to him when he dislocated his elbow, and it was gruesome. He’s a tough kid, a real good player.”
Clark’s 10 made field goals were a career-high on 16 shots, which matches his career high set in two other games.
He suffered a dislocated right elbow in a Feb. 10 loss at South Carolina last season when then-Gamecocks junior guard Michael Carrera slammed into the joint, hyperextending it as both players went to the floor for a loose ball.
“I didn’t bring it up and we really didn’t talk about it, but certainly he responded well and played maybe one of the best games I’ve seen him play since he’s been here,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said.
Clark said he and Carrera, who apologized on social media after the injury, didn’t discuss the play and didn’t feel the need to discuss it.
“It was just a basketball play,” Clark said. “It wasn’t anything personal, so I just went on with the game.”
14.3 South Carolina’s three-point shooting percentage, going 3 of 21 collectively and 0 of 9 in the second half.
20 South Carolina’s advantage in free-throw attempts with the Gamecocks going 22 off 33 and the Tigers going 9 of 13.
27 South Carolina’s combined edge in second-chance points (21-5) and points off turnovers (20-9).