Aggies take out Gamecocks

The Associated PressJanuary 15, 2014 

USC's Tyrone Johnson

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com

— Texas A&M overcame a double-digit first half deficit to defeat South Carolina 75-67 on Wednesday night.

Jamal Jones scored 22 points for the Aggies, who trailed 14-3 six minutes into the contest before getting their act together before their largest home crowd of the season.

Guard Brenton Williams scored 14 points for the Gamecocks (7-9, 0-3), who shot 42.9 percent (9 of 21) from the field in the second half - after making 14 of 28 in the first half - en route to their third consecutive setback to start SEC play.

The Aggies (12-4, 3-0) under third-year coach Billy Kennedy are 3-0 in league play for the first time since 2010-11 under then-coach Mark Turgeon, now at Maryland, and as members of the Big 12 at the time.

The Aggies snagged their first lead of the second half at 58-57 on two free throws by Jones with 6:59 remaining. Following a missed 3-pointer by Jaylen Shaw on South Carolina's ensuing possession, A&M guard Shawn Smith responded with a 3-pointer from deep in the right corner in lifting the Aggies to a 61-57 lead.

A&M guard Jordan Green scored four points in the final 1:34 to help put away the Gamecocks. The Aggies shot 43.8 percent (7 of 16) from the 3-point line, while the Gamecocks hobbled themselves with 17 turnovers (compared to 11 for A&M).

The Aggies overcame an 11-point first half deficit, as South Carolina manhandled A&M in rebounds over the first 20 minutes to the tune of 20-10. The Aggies responded by out-rebounding South Carolina 15-13 the rest of the way, although the Gamecocks still led in the final tally (33-25). A&M improved to 2-0 all-time against the Gamecocks, as the programs didn't meet until the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012.

USC got a spark from little-used freshman Justin McKie, who scored five points with three rebounds and a steal in 11 minutes, and Laimonas Chatkevicius scored eight points.

The Gamecocks return home to face Ole Miss at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Note: Johnson was injured in the first half while running a fast-break. He collided with an official and suffered a broken right foot. Johnson is out "for a long while," coach Frank Martin said in his postgame radio interview. … Steele did not play due to a eye contusion suffered during shootaround. Steele’s eye was nearly swollen shut.

SOUTH CAROLINA (7-9)

Thornwell 2-7 1-1 5, Williams 3-10 6-6 14, Notice 3-7 5-7 12, Henry 2-3 0-0 4, Kacinas 1-1 1-2 3, Johnson 0-3 0-0 0, Shaw 0-2 0-0 0, Chatkevicius 4-6 0-0 8, Theus Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, McKie 2-3 0-0 5, Carrera 3-4 0-0 7, Ringer 3-3 3-6 9. Totals 23-49 16-22 67.

TEXAS A&M (12-4)

Green 2-4 5-8 9, Harris 1-3 0-0 2, Roberson 2-3 0-2 4, Caruso 1-3 0-2 3, Jones 5-11 9-12 22, Smith 3-4 6-8 14, Fitzgerald 6-7 0-0 13, Space 2-5 4-9 8. Totals 22-40 24-41 75.

Halftime_South Carolina 39-38. 3-Point Goals_South Carolina 5-18 (Williams 2-6, Carrera 1-1, McKie 1-2, Notice 1-3, Thornwell 0-1, Chatkevicius 0-1, Shaw 0-2, Johnson 0-2), Texas A&M 7-16 (Jones 3-7, Smith 2-2, Caruso 1-1, Fitzgerald 1-2, Green 0-1, Space 0-1, Harris 0-2). Fouled Out_Thornwell. Rebounds_South Carolina 33 (Ringer 7), Texas A&M 25 (Jones, Smith, Space 4). Assists_South Carolina 15 (Notice 5), Texas A&M 14 (Caruso 7). Total Fouls_South Carolina 31, Texas A&M 20. Attendance: 9,257.

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