The scene was all too familiar.
As Demontre Harris threw down a dunk to push the South Carolina lead to 13 points with under seven and a half minutes remaining in the ballgame, many Tigers decided to venture out into the cold and head home.
This time around it was a bit different, though.
LSU, a team that had fallen by 20 or more points in four straight games, showed a little fight.
“We never felt like we were out of the game,” said freshman point guard Andre Stringer. “We played hard.”
LSU (10-12, 2-5) mustered a 9-0 run to cut the Gamecocks lead to four points with 4:48 to play.
Then freshman guard Ralston Turner picked up his fifth personal foul on the following possession, ending his return to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center early and crippling the Tigers offense in the process.
Gamecock freshman Bruce Ellington knocked down a jump shot to extend the lead to six. After Ellington missed on the ensuing possession, senior Sam Muldrow grabbed the rebound and put it back in to give the garnet-clad visitors an eight point lead with two minutes to play - essentially icing the game.
Ellington poured in 20 points in the game to pace the Gamecocks, who won by a count of 64-56.
“Ellington’s a good player,” said LSU coach Trent Johnson. “He plays beyond his years as a freshman. He made some good plays, and then we had some breakdowns defensively.”
The night got off to a rocky start for the Tigers, who missed their first six field goals and didn’t hit a jump shot in the first 10 minutes of the ballgame.
As a result, South Carolina lead wire-to-wire. After starting 2-0 in league play, LSU has now lost five consecutive Southeastern Conference games
“We have just got to keep pushing as a team and work hard in practice,” said junior forward Garrett Green. “We’ve been struggling, and we know that. We have to make every opponent that comes in here feel our presence. We’ve got to get better.”
After a couple of days of practice the Tigers will retake their home floor on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Mississippi State. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and ESPN3.com.