COLUMBIA, S.C. (UK Athletics) – Freshman Jermaine Couisnard hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded and South Carolina rallied from 14 points down in the second half to stun No. 10 Kentucky 81-78 on Wednesday night.
Couisnard had a career-high 26 points, including his game-winner that banked in for the Gamecocks (9-7, 1-2 Southeastern Conference). When it went through the net, Couisnard and his teammates ran around the court in celebration as the fans errupted in cheers.
Moments earlier, Immanuel Quickly banked home a shot with 4.1 seconds to go that tied things at 78. Quickly led Kentucky (12-4, 3-1) with 20 points.
Keyshawn Bryant scored 15 points for the Gamecocks, who had four players in double figures.
Kentucky led by 14 less than five minutes into the second half and was still up 54-41 on EJ Montgomery’s two foul shots with 11:41 left.
That’s when Justin Minaya started a 27-14 run over the next seven minutes that ended with Couisnard’s basket off the glass to tie things at 68-all.
After Ashton Hagans put Kentucky up again with two foul shots, Minaya answered with a 3-pointer that sent the crowd into pandemonium.
Minaya added two more baskets between a drive by A.J. Lawson and South Carolina was ahead 76-71 with 1:46 to go.
Kentucky tied it a final time on Quickly’s jumper after Lawson missed two foul shots with a chance to seal the game.
South Carolina ended a three-game losing streak against Kentucky. The Gamecocks past five wins over the Wildcats since 2009 have all come at Colonial Life Arena.
It was impossible to imagine South Carolina winning after an awful first half where it missed its first 10 shots and was shooting less than 25 percent from the field.
THE BIG PICTURE
Kentucky: The Wildcats had four players in double figures and seemed to have the game in control. But they missed eight of their final 10 shots.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks entered this one on a three-game losing streak that included a dreadful home defeat to Stetson. But on the plus side, they’ve now beaten a pair of top-10 teams. They topped Virginia on Dec. 22.
Kentucky plays at Arkansas on Saturday.
South Carolina travels to Texas A&M on Saturday.