Carolina Blues

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- (AP) Sam Muldrow had 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:02 left, as South Carolina snapped a five-game losing streak with a 79-73 victory over Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Muldrow's points tied his career high and he added 10 rebounds to help the Gamecocks (14-12, 5-8 Southeastern Conference) build a 69-55 lead with 6 minutes left.

That's when the Rebels (17-11, 5-8) went on an 18-4 run, tying the game at 73 on Zach Graham's layup with 1:21 to go.

Muldrow answered back for South Carolina, striking for his third 3-pointer of the game.

Graham missed a tying 3-pointer on Ole Miss' next trip and the Gamecocks closed out their first home victory since Jan. 19 with three free throws.

"Chris (Warren) scored early to keep us in it," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "He was drawing a lot of attention. We have to have some other guys step up. South Carolina made the winning plays tonight. Sam Muldrow, their senior, stepped up. He made us pay.

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
Courtesy: AP File Photo
"It's about making plays. Our inability to do so has put us in a tough spot."

Warren had a career-high 33 points off eight 3-pointers, also the best showing of the senior's career.

South Carolina shot 20 of 22 foul shots and outrebounded Ole Miss 42-38.

It was hard to determine the bigger surprise -- that South Carolina built such a large lead after its poor play of recent weeks or how quickly it disappeared down the stretch.

South Carolina came in off a horrible, month-long run, losing seven of its past eight. It managed nine first-half points its last game here, a loss to Georgia. In the Gamecocks' last game at Kentucky, they fell 90-59 -- a contest that wasn't that close.

But behind Muldrow's dominance inside and outside, South Carolina grabbed its first halftime lead in six games. Muldrow hit a 3-pointer and a bucket to put the Gamecocks up 69-55 over the confused Rebels.

With Warren on the court, though, Ole Miss is rarely out of it. The SEC's No. 2 scorer led the rally with a three-point play and his eighth 3-pointer.

"I just wanted to come out aggressive," Warren said. "Coach is always telling me to come out aggressive. I kinda did OK. I feel in order for us to have a chance to win, I have to play up to my potential."

Muldrow, though, was the senior with the final response that Warren couldn't match. It was Muldrow's sixth game with double-figure points and rebounds.

This one didn't start so well for the Gamecocks, either. Warren, second in SEC scoring average this year, had four 3-pointers the first 9 minutes as Ole Miss led 21-13.

Then the Rebels went cold and the Gamecocks played like they hadn't in some time with a 16-2 run to move in front. Muldrow hit a 3-pointer to start the run and Brian Richardson kept it going with another 3. When Ramon Galloway followed a short jumper with three foul shots, the Gamecocks were ahead 29-23.

South Carolina ended the half up 38-34, the first time since a 64-56 win over LSU on Feb. 2 that it held the lead at the break.

Ramon Galloway had 15 points for the Gamecocks while Malik Cooke added 13 and Damontre Harris 11.

Ole Miss next hosts Alabama Saturday at 4 p.m.

"It's hard to motivate them day in and day out. I try to lend some perspective of where we are, and what a wonderful opportunity you have," Kennedy said. "Ultimately, you have to earn your scholarship. Like I have to earn my keep, they're going to have to earn theirs."

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