Playing their first true road game of the season, the Tigers traded the lead 13 times with South Carolina — one of three remaining undefeated teams in the country — before fading over the game's final two minutes. Nursing an abdominal strain that kept him out of last Tuesday's win over Tulane, Tiger freshman Dedric Lawson missed a three-point attempt that would have tied the game at 76 with 1:20 left to play. Twenty seconds later, Lawson became the third of four Tigers to foul out over the game's final five minutes.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 18 points and Michael Carrera added 16 points and 11 rebounds to help the Gamecocks improve to 13-0, the program's best start in more than 80 years. (The Tigers lost to one of the other two still-standing undefeated teams, Oklahoma, in November. Memphis plays the third, SMU, on January 30th and February 25th.) The victory was South Carolina's first over the Tigers since the teams were both members of the Metro Conference in 1989.
With a total of 68 fouls called, the game had the flow of a bike ride down Memphis's riverside cobblestones. The Gamecocks hit 46 free throws, while the Tigers converted 30 of 36 shots from the charity stripe. They both shot miserably from the floor, Memphis making only 19 field goals (32 percent) and South Carolina 18 (32 percent). The 41 fouls charged against the Tigers are the most in the program's history. In addition to Dedric Lawson, Markel Crawford, Shaq Goodwin, and Trahson Burrell fouled out of the game.
Ricky Tarrant Jr.
led the U of M with 20 points. Avery Woodson
came off the bench and hit three shots from long distance on his way to 14 points. Goodwin scored 13 and led the Tigers with nine rebounds before committing his fifth foul with 4:02 to play (and Memphis down, 71-68). Freshman point guard Jeremiah Martin
added 10 points.
The Tigers fall to 9-4 and can claim their two best outings were losses, to Oklahoma at FedExForum and tonight in Columbia. They return home Tuesday night to host Nicholls State before returning to American Athletic Conference play for good.