South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Louisiana State Tigers Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 17th 2024

South Carolina’s amazing run to the top of the Southeastern Conference hit a snag on the plains of Auburn on Wednesday, but coach Lamont Paris’ No. 11 Gamecocks will look to bounce back Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

Following a 101-61 blowout defeat to the No. 13 Auburn Tigers, the Gamecocks (21-4, 9-3 SEC) will try to get on track against slumping LSU (12-12, 4-7) in the only regular-season matchup between the schools.

In its biggest rout of an Associated Press Top 25 opponent in school history, Auburn put on a show at both ends of the court in wringing the Gamecocks, leading by 22 points at halftime and outscoring them 51-33 in the second half.

Overall, the Tigers shot 61 percent (36 of 59) from the floor and 60 percent from long range (12-for-20). The visitors from the Palmetto State made just 34.6 percent (18 of 52) of their field-goal attempts, failing on 12 of 15 3-pointers (20 percent).

And the most stunning statistic related to the Gamecocks’ depth issues: The Tigers held a jarring 39-1 advantage in bench scoring, nearly equaling the bulky margin of victory.

“They were really good, we weren’t that good,” said Paris of the Tigers, who have the only unblemished home record (13-0) in the SEC. “And that’s what happens when you have that combination.”

Despite Meechie Johnson, Collin Murray-Boyles and BJ Mack all scoring at least 14 points, the club found nothing easy all night.

“We have to flush it out and move on, losing like this,” Mack said of his team’s first loss in nearly a month.

Going home may be the place to stoke the recent hot streak.

The Gamecocks possess a 13-1 mark in their home arena, losing only to the Georgia Bulldogs, 74-69, on Jan. 16 in their fourth conference game.

For the Gamecocks, who entered the Top 25 after upsets over ranked Kentucky and Tennessee and rode a seven-game winning streak up to No. 11 in the AP poll, LSU may be the perfect opponent to visit the South Carolina state capital.

LSU coach Matt McMahon has witnessed his side get stuck in a tough stretch — losing three straight contests against No. 6 Tennessee, No. 16 Alabama and surging Florida, and six of its past seven outings overall.

The Tigers’ sole win in that dry spell was a 95-74 home rout on Feb. 3 of the Arkansas Razorbacks, the SEC’s 12th-place team.

Tuesday night’s 82-80 loss at the Florida Gators saw LSU rally from a second-half deficit of 20 points and nearly take the matchup into overtime.

However, Jordan Wright’s potential tying, wide-open layup at the horn came up short.

“Yeah, that’s a tough one, that’s just all there is to it,” said McMahon, whose Tigers are tied for 10th place with Georgia. “I thought our guys did a great job in the second half of flipping the script of the game. We were able to execute offensively. I think we shot over 60 percent from the floor and from three.

“We had some chances there late. … Just rushed a layup and then had a bad turnover. But all that said, you have a shot you’d love to have any time to send the game to overtime.”

The setback marked the fifth time LSU has lost by five points or fewer this season.

–Field Level Media

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