“I am really proud of the effort of the kids,” MSU head coach Ben Howland said. “There is no quit in this team. They keep competing and playing hard. We got destroyed on the glass in both halves. We had a chance there at the end when we got it back to a four-point deficit.
“We keep having trouble with our big men getting into foul trouble. We have to improve on more areas.”
South Carolina improved to 18-2 overall and 5-2 in league play, while MSU fell to 8-11 and 1-6.
I.J. Ready led a quarter of Bulldogs with 20 points. Quinndary Weatherspoon added 19 points, while Malik Newman added 15 points and Craig Sword added 10 points. Ready added seven assists and three steals. Sword had two assists and four blocks, while Gavin Ware added three blocks.
South Carolina erased an early 5-1 deficit with a 19-4 run for a 20-9 lead.
The Bulldogs responded with the game’s next seven points, including five by Ready. MSU closed within 25-22 on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Weatherspoon.
South Carolina rebuilt the lead to 10 points as 33-23. After Sword brought the Bulldogs within five at 37-32, the Gamecocks ended the half with a 6-2 run for a 43-34 lead.
In the second half, South Carolina held MSU without a field goal over the first five minutes to extend the lead to a game-best 14 points at 50-36.
Still, the Maroon and White kept battling.
Back-to-back treys by Newman and Weatherspoon had the Bulldogs within 53-50 with 11:32 left. Weatherspoon followed with a steal but missed a lauyup.
After that South Carolina built the lead to eight points. A 3-pointer by Newman brought the Bulldogs within 71-67 but they could get no closer.
For the contest, MSU hit 23 of 61 shots from the field (37.7 percent), 11 of 24 shots from 3-point range (45.8 percent) and 17 of 23 shots from 3-point range (73.9 percent). South Carolina hit 26 of 58 shots from the field (44.8 percent), 5 of 15 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 27 of 41 shots from the foul line (65.9 percent).
South Carolina held a 51-26 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 11 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Gamecocks had 13 assists and 18 turnovers.
South Carolina received 34 points from Michael Carrera, 15 points from Sindarius Thornwell and 13 points from Duane Notice.
MSU remains on the road for a Saturday matchup at Missouri. The Bulldogs and Tigers tip at 7:30 p.m. in Columbia, Missouri. The contest will be shown nationally on the SEC Network.