COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Collin Murray-Boyles scored a career-high 31 points and No. 15 South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 75-60 on…
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Collin Murray-Boyles scored a career-high 31 points and No. 15 South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 75-60 on Saturday for its 21st victory of the season a year after losing 21 games.
The Gamecocks (21-3, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) took control in the second half with a 24-10 run that including 12 points and a monster block from Murray-Boyles, the 6-foot-7 freshman who has helped the team to seven straight wins.
Murray-Boyles chased down Vanderbilt guard Ezra Manjon, who had what looked like an open lane to the basket early in the second half. But Murray-Boyles pinned the shot against the backboard as the crowd went crazy.
The Commodores (6-17, 1-9) entered the game in the bottom of the league in points per game and field-goal percentage.
But Vanderbilt used a patient approach to South Carolina’s suffocating defense that got the better of Kentucky and Tennessee in the past three weeks. The Commodores often let the shot clock get inside of five seconds before finding a makeable shot.
Tyrin Lawrence had seven points, including an all-alone layup under the basket off an inbounds play, as Vanderbilt closed the half with a 14-6 run to lead 32-28 at the break before South Carolina took over.
Murray-Boyles made 14 of 17 shots, his last one a rim-rattling dunk in the final minute. B.J. Mack hit five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points for the Gamecocks.
Lawrence led Vanderbilt with 15 points.
THE BIG PICTURE
Vanderbilt: The Commodores fell behind when their shots didn’t fall after halftime. Vanderbilt shot close to 50% in the opening half but was just 6 of 16 (37.5 %) in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks already have improved by 10 victories in coach Lamont Paris’ first season from their 11-21 mark last season. They are ranked for the first time since 2017. What’s next? How about an SEC title. The team picked last in the league in October is tied for the top spot with a month left in the season.
Vanderbilt returns home to play Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
South Carolina plays at No. 12 Auburn on Wednesday night.
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