Mack scores 21 as South Carolina holds off Missouri, 72-64

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — BJ Mack, a senior transfer from Wofford, scored 21 points to help South Carolina hold off Missouri and earn a 72-64 win Saturday to sweep the regular season series.

South Carolina came into the game on a high after beating No. 6 Kentucky, 79-62 on Tuesday. Mack led South Carolina with 21 points in its 71-69 overtime win over the Tigers January 13.

Mack scored 15 of his points in the first half as the Gamecocks built a 10-point lead, 39-29, at the break. South Carolina forced 12 Missouri turnovers in the first half, turning them into 10 points, but managed just five points off a dozen second-half Missouri turnovers.

Missouri grabbed the lead three minutes into the second half on a layup by Tamar Bates, but Mack answered with a three-point play and the Gamecocks did not trail again. The Tigers tied the game twice, but South Carolina answered each threat. Josh Gray hit the first of two free throws and Jacobi Wright and Ta'Lon Cooper each buried a 3-pointer to make it 53-46. Bates dunked and followed it with a layup with 2:28 left to make it 67-62. but the Tigers were able to add only a layup by East in the final minute.

Meechie Johnson, who averages 43.4% from the field and just under 17 points per game, did not score for the Gamecocks, going 0-for-9 from the field and 0-7 from 3-point range.

Mack hit 6 of 11 shots from the field, including 2 of 5 from distance, and hit 7 of 11 from the free throw line to lead South Carolina (17-3, 5-2 Southeastern Conference). Cooper added 12 points, Wright chipped in 10 and Morris Ugusuk was a perfect 3 for 3 off the bench, hitting two 3-pointers and knocking down both free throw attempts to add 10 points off the bench.

East finished with 21 points and seven assists to lead Missouri (8-12, 0-7). Bates contributed 16 points and seven rebounds.

South Carolina travels to face No. 5 Tennessee Tuesday. Missouri returns home to play host to Arkansas Wednesday.


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