COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of Alabama men’s basketball team fell to South Carolina, 56-54, in the final seconds of Wednesday’s game at the Colonial Life Arena.
Despite freshman Levi Randolph coming off the bench to score 12 points, Alabama lost its fourth straight game.
Freshman guard Levi Randolph came off the bench to lead the way for Alabama (13-7, 2-4 SEC) with a 12-point performance that included a pair of three-pointers. Junior forward Tony Mitchell added 11 points and eight rebounds, while freshman forward Nick Jacobs logged 10 points.
In a game that included 13 ties and 12 lead changes, the Gamecocks were able to grab their first SEC victory of the season despite shooting 5-of-31 from beyond the three-point arc and 32.4 percent from the field.
“From my vantage point tonight – you had a team, in South Carolina, that played inspired basketball,” UA head coach Anthony Grant said. “They played as a team. We didn’t. It’s been an issue for us and it continues to plague us.”
Alabama opened up the game on a 5-0 run ending it with an electrifying dunk by Mitchell off an assist from Trevor Releford. At that point, South Carolina responded with a 9-0 run of their own with eight of those points coming from Malik Cooke. The Gamecocks’ biggest lead of the half came with 6:12 left in the first as they took a 23-19 advantage over the Crimson Tide. In reply, Alabama ended the half with another 5-0 run to lead South Carolina, 29-27.
The two teams continued to exchange leads to begin the second half with seven lead changes between them within the first 8:41of the half. With the game winding down, Randolph made a layup with 1:03 left in the game to tie it up at 54-54. South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington scored his only points of the half on a driving jumper with a little more than one second left in the matchup to squeeze out the victory.
Cooke led the way for South Carolina (9-10, 1-4 SEC) with 18 points, leading all scorers, while Ellington and forward Domantre Harris had 12 points each. The Gamecocks’ win was first against Alabama since the 2008-09 season.
The Crimson Tide will play its next SEC matchup at Coleman Coliseum as it hosts Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (CST).
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