Downey Ignites Upset In Nashville

South Carolina (15-15, 6-10) needed Devan Downey to have a big day to have any chance to win at Vanderbilt (23-7, 12-4). And a big game he had, scoring 26 points, including 22 in the second half to ignite a come from behind victory over the #13 Vanderbilt Commodores. Vandy's loss to Kentucky was their lone blemish at home until USC rallied behind Downey to record a 77-73 victory in Nashville.

This victory comes at the right time, as the Gamecocks will return to Nashville to open SEC tournament play Thursday. Downey was not alone in the scoring as Sam Muldrow scored 20 points to go with 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Downey, leading the league in scoring and steals, added a couple of steals in this contest, including one key steal and score during his second half highlight run. Downey struggled in the first half, shooting 2-9 for 4 points. With USC trailing 35-27 at the half and trailing by 9 points with just over 9 minutes to play in the ball game, Downey went on a scoring flurry by hitting back to back threes, and the comeback and 50-point second half was ignited.

South Carolina built a 7 point lead with a little over 5 minutes to go before Vandy tied the game at 69-69 with just under two minutes to play. But the Gamecocks were more like "Fighting Gamecocks," as they could see the kill in sight and denied the host team and crowd the chance to regain control of the game. Downey would come down and immediately hit a three and give the visitors the lead for good.

The contest would wind down with Head Coach John Stallings' team cutting the lead to 2 points, but South Carolina made free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory. South Carolina locks up the #5 seed in the Eastern Division and will play Alabama in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.

Other contributing factors in the game would be Muldrow, scoring 13 points in the first half, and Lakeem Jackson's first half penetration and scoring in the paint. Darrin Horn's ball club played physical throughout the game, which led to USC outrebounding the taller Commodores 29-24 (9-4 offensive). In the earlier meeting won by Vandy, USC was out rebounded 39-24. Horn never stopped coaching, and obviously the team kept believing and executing, and when Downey began scoring the Commodores went cold and appeared "shell-shocked" by the Downey scoring outburst.

Vanderbilt Senior Jermaine Beal saw his senior day and 21 point, 8 rebound, 2 assist performance tainted by Downey and company. A.J. Ogilvy added 15 points and Jeffrey Taylor 13 for Vandy.

A former basketball player and coach with over a decade of national experience, who later founded player development programs before expanding his knowledge and experiences to media services and outlets, Duane "The Shot Doctor" Everett can be heard every weekday in Columbia as a host and analyst on ESPN Radio Columbia's "The Zone" on 93.1 FM from 3-6 p.m.

Other entries such as this one can be found on Everett's blog, "The Shot Doctor".

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