South Carolina, which trailed 48-34 with 14:39 remaining in the game, began to methodically chip away at the Commodore lead. Lakeem Jackson's 3-pointer cut the Vanderbilt lead to single digits at 52-43 with 12:14 to play. Later, Bruce Ellington's trey narrowed the Gamecock deficit to just 58-52 with 9 1/2 minutes to go. Ellington made five of his six three pointers in the second half.
Vanderbilt's John Jenkins made a three point shot with 8:46 to play to put Vanderbilt back up by 11, 63-56. However, South Carolina quickly answered. Ramon Galloway's three put Gamecocks back to within six at 63-57 with 7 1/2 minutes to play in game.
Things would get even more stressful for Kevin Stallings and his team when Ellington made another three with 6:28 to play to leave Vandy clinging to a 63-60 lead. After Vandy twice had built its lead back up to five, USC cut the lead to 69-68 on another Ellington three with 3:49 to play. After a foul by Festus Ezeli, Galloway's free throw tied the score at 69 with 3:10 to go.
Jenkins was fouled shooting a three with just under three minutes to go and made all three free throws to put the visitors back up by three, 72-69. However, still another Ellington three knotted the score at 72 with just 2:09 to go in the game.
Neither team could score in the final minutes of the game and the contest headed to overtime.
In one of the worst overtime performances in the history of Vanderbilt basketball, the Commodores made just 1-of-8 shots from the field. Meanwhile Gamecock shots continued to fall. Sam Muldrow's three pointer put the Gamecocks up 81-75 with just over two minutes remaining in the overtime period. Still trailing by six with 30 seconds to play, Vanderbilt began to foul with no success in narrowing the score. Lakeem Jackson's layup with 16 seconds to play finalized the game's scoring and dealt Vanderbilt its first conference loss of the season.
A dismayed Stallings commented on the disappointing loss after the game.
"We kind of got out-played, out-fought that last eight minute mark or so in the second half and the rest of the game including the overtime," said Stallings. "Even when we were ahead I didn't like our look and our demeanor."
South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn talked about Sam Muldrow, who scored 16 points, had 14 rebounds and had 10 block shots in an impressive triple-double night.
"Can't say enough about Sam Muldrow getting a triple-double the hard way, with blocks," said Horn. "Keep in mind he picked up his fourth foul before the four-minute timeout. He had four or five blocks in those last 10 minutes. He stepped up big time."
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by John Jenkins who had 27 points. Jeffery Taylor added 14 and Steve Tchiengang had 10.
Vanderbilt falls to 11-3 (0-1 SEC). The Commodores next host Georgia on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym. South Carolina improves to
10-4 (1-0 SEC). The Gamecocks visit Alabama on Wednesday night.
South Carolina rallies past Vanderbilt, 83-75
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