Gamecocks at UAB men’s basketball score, highlights

South Carolina Gamecocks forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (31) plays USC Upstate on Friday, November 25, 2022.

South Carolina Gamecocks forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (31) plays USC Upstate on Friday, November 25, 2022.

The UAB men’s basketball team overmatched visiting South Carolina on Wednesday night, snapping the Gamecocks’ two-game winning streak.

The Blazers (8-2) controlled the game from the opening tip, leading the entire way and defeating Lamont Paris’ Gamecocks 84-70.

The game represented arguably the toughest test the Gamecocks have faced in Paris’ first season as head coach. Andy Kennedy’s Blazers are coming off an NCAA tournament run last season and rank 47th in the country on, slotting favorably in national offensive efficiency metrics.

The loss knocks the Gamecocks (5-5) back to .500 with just three games remaining in the non-conference schedule. Here’s what we learned.

Jordan Walker cooks for UAB

Coming into the matchup, UAB guard Jordan “Jelly” Walker led the high-scoring Blazers with 24.9 points per contest, and Walker kept rolling against the Gamecocks.

Starting off hot, Walker scored 10 points in the first three UAB possessions, making three 3-pointers and an and-1 on the third attempt.

Shooting from deep and slicing through the Gamecocks defense on the interior, Walker finished with 22 points and five 3-pointers. He formed a dynamic duo with forward K.J. Buffen, who pounded the Gamecocks inside and scored a career-high 25 points of his own, jumping ahead of Walker for the team lead late in the game.

USC can’t crack UAB defense

The Gamecocks saw a variety of defensive looks from the Blazers throughout the game. At times, UAB applied pressure with full-court press looks. The Blazers also mixed in double-team coverages with their 1-3-1 zone and especially honed in on Gamecocks star freshman GG Jackson.

The Gamecocks seemed flummoxed offensively, turning the ball over 10 times in the first half and routinely letting the shot clock tick deep into the possession. The Gamecocks finished with 14 turnovers.

As has often been the case throughout the season, USC especially struggled into the paint, where they were outscored 40-26.

Jackson cools off

Even though he’s just 17 years old, Jackson is the clear focal point for the Gamecocks, leading the team in both scoring in rebounding so far this season.

But Jackson still has his freshman moments, and in Wednesday’s game, it took him some time to find any sort of offensive rhythm.

Much like his scoreless first half at Georgetown last week, Jackson forced a handful of shots in the first half against UAB. He made one 3-pointer but went 1-for-6 overall as he fired shots with defenders in his face.

Jackson turned in a better second half and once again finished with double-digit points, scoring 20 for the game, but it was a quiet game by his standards.

Next four USC MBB games

Saturday: vs. East Carolina (Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville), 2 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)

Dec. 22: vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)

Dec. 30: vs. Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)

Jan. 3: at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)

Michael Lananna specializes in Gamecocks athletics and storytelling projects for The State. Featured in Best American Sports Writing 2018, Lananna covered college baseball nationally before moving to Columbia in 2020. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in journalism.
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