University of Missouri

Mizzou matches program record for longest conference slide with loss to South Carolina

Missouri’s Jordan Barnett (right) tries to hold on to a rebound as South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell watches during the first half Saturday in Columbia, Mo.
Missouri’s Jordan Barnett (right) tries to hold on to a rebound as South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell watches during the first half Saturday in Columbia, Mo. AP

Mizzou Arena has been something of a personal house of horrors for South Carolina coach Frank Martin.

Now in his 10th season, including five at Kansas State and the last five with the Gamecocks, Martin owned one victory in eight previous games he coached on Norm Stewart Court.

Bringing the nation’s No. 23 team to town, Martin and South Carolina exorcised some demons Saturday with a 63-53 win in front of an announced crowd of 6,891 at Missouri.

“Winning here has always been real hard for us,” said Martin, who improved to 1-3 as the Gamecocks’ coach at Mizzou Arena and 2-7 overall. “We came in here one year and we were both top-10 in the country. That’s the year we went to the Elite Eight, and we played our hearts out and couldn’t win. It’s a hard building to play in, a hard building to win in. … For us to be where we’re at right now, I’ll take it.”

Missouri (5-15, 0-8 SEC) trailed by four at halftime, but never mounted a run early in the second half.

“They make it so hard for you to do what you want to do,” third-year Mizzou coach Kim Anderson said. “You’ve got to be able to make plays. We didn’t do that consistently.”

The Tigers’ 15 turnovers and 1 of 17 three-point shooting — its worst performance since going 1 of 18 at Kentucky in two years ago — certainly didn’t help.

After back-to-back three-pointers by senior guard Duane Notice and sophomore guard P.J. Dozier midway through the period, South Carolina (17-4, 7-1 SEC) stretched its lead to 13 points.

Then, every time the Tigers made a potential momentum-grabbing play, the Gamecocks had an answer.

Mizzou sophomore forward Kevin Puryear’s three-point play with 6:41 left made it an eight-point game, but South Carolina sophomore forward Chris Silva snagged an offensive board and responded with his own and-one.

Sophomore guard Terrence Phillips’ layup less than a minute later was answered by another Gamecocks offensive rebound and long jumper by Dozier.

Senior forward Russell Woods converted yet another and-one for the Tigers only to have Notice splash in another three-pointer.

You get the idea.

“It’s like the story of the season,” said sophomore guard K.J. Walton, who scored 12 points. “We go down and score, but then can’t get a stop. We’ve got to figure something out, but that was kind of the big reason we lost the game.”

Mizzou never got the defensive stops it needed down the stretch to mount a serious rally and never pulled closer than seven points in losing its 12th straight game and 13th in a row in conference play.

The latter streak, including five straight losses to end last season, ties the longest conference skid in the Tigers’ 111-year history.

Both records were set during a 13-game losing streak, all in conference games, during third-year coach Kim Anderson’s inaugural season in 2014-15.

“Toward the end, and I don’t know whether we were getting tired or not, I just thought they were getting the 50/50 balls,” Anderson said. “We had a chance to cut it from maybe eight to six (points) or seven to five or something, but we just couldn’t get that ball. It’s not because we weren’t trying. We just couldn’t get it.”

South Carolina, which held Mizzou to the second-fewest points this season (North Carolina Central, 52), didn’t score during the opening 5:12 as Missouri built a 7-0 lead.

Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, who finished with a team-high 16 points and game-high 11 rebounds, had the Gamecocks’ only points for nearly eight minutes.

Despite those early struggles, South Carolina went in front 10-9 on a three-pointer by senior guard Justin McKie coming out of the under-12 media timeout.

Only three Mizzou players — sophomore guard K.J. Walton, Woods and sophomore guard Jordan Geist — scored during the first half.

Despite a scoreless opening half from its four leading scorers — junior forward Jordan Barnett, Puryear, Phillips and freshman guard Frankie Hughes, who did not play — the Tigers only trailed 26-22.

Woods finished with a career-high 18 points and eight a team-high eight rebounds, while Puryear also grabbed a team-best eight boards.

“I’m really proud of Russ and K.J. too for that matter,” Anderson said. “K.J. did a great job defensively on Thornwell and Russ … attacked the basket well.”

No. 23 SOUTH CAROLINA 63, MISSOURI 53

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

South Carolina

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Kotsar

32

1-5

0-0

6

1

2

Silva

16

2-4

3-3

6

5

7

Dozier

23

3-13

0-3

4

3

7

Notice

29

3-6

0-0

1

3

9

Thornwell

31

4-15

7-7

9

2

16

Felder

19

4-7

2-4

0

0

13

Blanton

18

1-3

0-0

2

3

2

McKie

17

1-1

0-0

3

0

3

Gravett

9

1-3

2-2

1

1

4

Gueye

7

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Schmitt

--

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

Totals

200

20-57

14-19

33

19

63

Percentages: FG .351, FT .737. 3-Point Goals: 9-25, .360 (Felder 3-4, Notice 3-6, McKie 1-1, Dozier 1-4, Thornwell 1-7, Gravett 0-1, Blanton 0-2). Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 14 (0 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Dozier, Gueye, Notice, Silva). Turnovers: 14 (Dozier 3, Notice 3, Thornwell 2, Blanton, Felder, Gravett, Kotsar, McKie, Silva). Steals: 6 (Blanton, Gravett, Kotsar, McKie, Thornwell). Technical Fouls: None.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Missouri

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Barnett

21

1-7

0-0

5

3

2

Puryear

35

3-9

1-1

6

3

7

Woods

37

7-9

4-7

8

3

18

Geist

29

3-11

0-0

4

1

6

Walton

30

3-8

6-8

4

2

12

VanLeer

25

1-5

0-0

3

2

3

Phillips

22

2-7

1-1

2

4

5

Nikko

1

0-0

0-0

1

1

0

Smith

--

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Kemp

--

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

200

20-56

12-17

33

20

53

Percentages: FG .357, FT .706. 3-Point Goals: 1-17, .059 (VanLeer 1-5, Barnett 0-2, Puryear 0-2, Geist 0-4, Phillips 0-4). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 13 (0 PTS). Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 13 (Geist 4, Phillips 2, Puryear 2, Walton 2, Barnett, VanLeer, Woods). Steals: 2 (Geist 2). Technical Fouls: None.

Half: South Carolina 63-53.

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