Anthony Gill scored 10 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:19 left, and South Carolina won its second in a row over the Tigers, 58-55, on Sunday.
The Gamecocks (3-5) have already lost to Elon and Tennessee State and were defeated at home by Providence this past Thursday. Yet, they overcame a seven-point deficit in the second half to rally past Clemson for their first win at Littlejohn Coliseum since 2003.
“We have been through a lot,” said fifth-year senior Malik Cooke. “And we’ve learned from a lot of our mistakes that we’ve made in the past. That’s all we try and focus on is the next play, the next day and I think we did that tonight.”
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina’s two-sport standout, seems a particular Tiger tamer at the moment. He’s now 3-0 against Clemson, starting with his 14 points in last year’s basketball win, adding a 49-yard TD catch in the 34-13 football victory on Nov. 26 and making several crucial plays to keep the Gamecocks out front down the stretch on Sunday.
With the Gamecocks ahead 52-51, Ellington kicked the ball to an open Eric Smith, who extended the lead with a jumper.
Ellington made two foul shots on South Carolina’s next possession to extend the margin to 56-53.
Clemson had its best chance to tie moments later when Tanner Smith was fouled by Ellington while shooting a 3-pointer. But Smith made just two of the three free throws and Cooke sealed it for South Carolina with two foul shots with 6.7 to go.
“I’m just happy to be on the team, whether it’s football or basketball,” Ellington said. “I’m just happy to help the teams win.”
Smith led the Tigers with 12 points.
NO. 7 BAYLOR 69, NORTHWESTERN 41
In Evanston, Ill., Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson both scored 16 points as Baylor (7-0) defeated Northwestern (7-1).
WICHITA STATE 89, NO. 18 UNLV 70
In Wichita, Kan., Joe Ragland had eight 3-pointers, one off the school record, and finished with 31 points for Wichita State (5-2).
Chace Stanback had 16 points for UNLV (8-1), which handed then-No. 1 North Carolina its first loss of the season on Nov. 26. Mike Moser added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Runnin’ Rebels.
SAN DIEGO STATE 64, NO. 24 CALIFORNIA 63
In San Diego, Chase Tapley scored 25 points, including two free throws with 8.6 seconds left, and San Diego State (8-2) beat California (6-2) for the second consecutive season.