COLUMBIA — Ieasia Walked had 16 points and eight rebounds as No. 18 South Carolina beat No. 5 Kentucky 55-50 on Thursday night, ended the Wildcats’ nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games.
Kentucky (18-2, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) led for most of the second half before the Gamecocks went on an 18-4 run to take a 52-44 lead with 3:34 left. South Carolina (17-3, 5-2) hit only three free throws the rest of the game, but the SEC’s best defense was able to hang on.
Ashley Bruner ended Kentucky’s last chance knocking away an inbound pass with 12.7 seconds left to give South Carolina’s its first win over a top-five team in 12 tries under fifth-year coach Dawn Staley.
Aleighsa Welch scored 11 points and had seven rebounds and Elem Ibiam added eight points and eight rebounds for South Carolina.
Jennifer O’Neil led Kentucky with 17 points, while DeNesha Stallworth added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and A’dia Mathies also scored 12 points.
Kentucky came into the game as the second-best offense in the SEC at 79 points a game. However, South Carolina allows a league-low 48 points a game and has held every opponent but one under 60 points.
Kentucky went almost nine minutes without a point in the first half, and scored just one bucket in six minutes as South Carolina built its biggest lead of the game at eight points. The Wildcats shot 32.8 percent (19 for 58) from the field. A Kentucky team that leads the SEC by forcing 10 more turnovers than its opponents, turned the ball over 18 times – two more than South Carolina.
The Gamecocks even overcame their biggest weakness. South Carolina is next-to-last in Division I in free throws, shooting just 54 percent. But they hit 10 of their last 16 free throws, even though they shot just 48 percent from the line in the game (13 for 27).
The Wildcats hadn’t lost since an 85-51 defeat to then No. 1 Baylor on Nov. 13. But they appeared rattled down the stretch. O’Neil missed a teammate entirely with a pass with Kentucky down three with 17 seconds to go. The Wildcats turned it over again 5 seconds later.
South Carolina scored five more points on the fast break against a Kentucky team that prides itself on its pressure.
• Virginia 74, (at) Virginia Tech 58 | Evan Nolte scored a career-high 18 points to lead Virginia past in-state rival Virginia Tech.
Nolte, a freshman, came into the game averaging 6.4 points per game but hit five 3-pointers for the Cavaliers (13-5, 3-2 in the ACC) and 6 of 12 from the floor. He and Joe Harris combined to hit nine of Virginia’s season-high 11 3-pointers.
Harris scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half, including nine – on three 3-pointers – during a 24-2 Virginia run that gave the Cavaliers the lead for good. Virginia hit 9 of 10 shots during that run, including five 3-pointers.
Virginia Tech (11-7, 2-3), which trailed by double digits the entire second half, was led by Erick Green, who scored a career-high 35 points. Green came into the game as the nation’s leading scorer at 24.6 points per game.
• (At) No. 23 Mississippi 62, Tennessee 56 | Marshall Henderson scored 28 points, hitting six 3-pointers in the second half, and No. 23 Mississippi rallied for a 62-56 victory over Tennessee on Thursday night.
Henderson is the Southeastern Conference’s leading scorer with 18.9 points per game and he put on a show in the second half, nearly single-handedly carrying the Rebels (16-2, 5-0 SEC) to their eighth consecutive victory. He scored 32 against the Volunteers just two weeks ago in a win in Knoxville.
It’s only the second time Ole Miss has started 5-0 in SEC play.
Reginald Buckner added 10 points in a foul-filled game that made both teams go deep into the bench.
Tennessee (9-8, 1-4) led for much of the game, but couldn’t withstand Henderson’s hot shooting. Jordan McRae led the Volunteers with 26 points while Trae Golden added 11.
• (At) Wofford 63, Furman 50 | Spencer Collins scored a game-high 21 points to lead Wofford past Furman in Southern Conference action.
Karl Cochran scored 15 points and Lee Skinner added nine points and a game-high nine rebounds to help Wofford (8-12, 2-5) outrebounded Furman 32-25.
Ahead 35-33 with 14:42 left to play, Wofford used a 22-6 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 57-39 with 3:22 left to play. Collins scored eight points during the run and Cochran capped it with a jumper, helping Wofford snap a three-game losing streak.
Wofford scored 23 points off 20 Furman turnovers and doubled up the Paladins inside, outscoring them 32-16 in the paint.
Furman (5-13, 2-5) made 5 of 9 free throws in the second half compared to the Terriers converting 12 of 16 in the period.
Stephen Croone led the Paladins with 14 points.
• (At) USC Upstate 63, North Florida 57 | Ricardo Glenn had a double-double, 14 points and 15 rebounds, to lead SC-Upstate past North Florida in an Atlantic Sun Conference matchup.
Torrey Craig scored 12 points and Jodd Maxey added nine points and 10 rebounds to help SC-Upstate (10-10, 4-3) win its third straight over North Florida and 18 of its past 21 homes games.
Ahead 35-33 at halftime, the Spartans opened the second half on a 14-6 run. Craig capped the run with a 3-pointer to make it 49-39 with 11:21 left to play.
North Florida (8-13, 3-5) would cut the lead to six, 60-54, with less than two minutes to play, but the Ospreys converted only one field goal the rest of the way.
North Florida shot 27.8 percent (10 of 36) in the second half and made only 4 of 29 3s for the game. Beau Beech led the Ospreys with 15 points.
• (At) College of Charleston 69, Citadel 54 | Willis Hall scored 14 points and Adjehi Baru grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the College of Charleston to a victory over The Citadel in a Southern Conference contest.
Andrew Lawrence had 12 points and Anthony Stitt 12 for the Cougars (13-7, 5-3), who snapped a two-game conference losing streak. Charleston outrebounded The Citadel 45-24.
Mike Groselle led the Bulldogs (4-14, 1-7) with 17 points and nine rebounds. The Citadel beat Georgia Southern 70-55 on Saturday to snap a 12-game losing streak.
Charleston led 31-24 at the half and opened an 11-point lead at 35-24 on Andrew Lawrence’s jumper 1:08 into the second half and maintained a 9-to-11 point lead.
The Cougars pushed it to 45-32 on Matt Sundberg’s 3-pointer with 13:57 left, and Stitt made it a 57-38 advantage with a 3-pointer at the 7:49 mark.
• (At) No. 2 Michigan 68, Purdue 53 | Trey Burke had 15 points and eight assists and gave Michigan a boost on defense, helping the Wolverines shake free of Purdue in the second half for a win.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 13 points for Michigan, which has a chance to move to No. 1 in the country if it can win at Illinois on Sunday. Duke, the current top-ranked team, lost Wednesday.
The Wolverines (18-1, 5-1 Big Ten) trailed by seven in the first half, but Purdue (10-9, 3-3) couldn’t keep up its torrid outside shooting. Terone Johnson scored 14 points for the Boilermakers.
Michigan took control with a 14-2 run in the second half.
• (At) Richmond 86, No. 19 VCU 74 (OT) | Kendall Anthony scored 21 of his 26 points after halftime and Darien Brothers hit two huge 3-pointers as Richmond ended VCU’s 13-game winning streak in overtime.
Brothers had 18 points and Cedrick Lindsay 13 as the Spiders (13-7, 3-2 Atlantic 10) won for only the second time in their last nine meetings with the Rams. Richmond hit 12 3-pointers with Anthony making five and Brothers four, including one with 1.5 seconds left in regulation to force the overtime, and another to clinch it with 1:35 to play in OT.
Juvonte Reddic had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Treveon Graham had 15 points, all after halftime, and 10 rebounds for VCU (16-4, 4-1), which never got its ball-hawking havoc defense unleashed against the steady Spiders.
Both teams finished with 13 turnovers and scored 17 off their takeaways.
Women’s Top 25
• No. 4 Duke 60, (at) Clemson 46 | Tricia Liston scored 22 points and Duke bounced back from a blowout loss earlier this week, beating Clemson.
The Blue Devils (17-1, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their 17th straight over the Lady Tigers (5-13, 1-6), but needed a second-half rally to get it done. Duke lost 79-49 at Connecticut on Monday night and struggled much of the game to get things going against Clemson.
The Lady Tigers led 26-23 after Quinyotta Pettaway’s foul shots with 13:34 to play as Duke missed its first 11 shots of the period. But the Blue Devils took off on a 26-9 run to take control. Liston started the charge with a 3-pointer and hit two jumpers to put Duke ahead for good.
Elizabeth Williams added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils.
Nikki Dixon had 17 points to lead the Tigers.
• (At) No. 8 Penn State 64, Minnesota 59 | Maggie Lucas scored 26 points, and Nikki Greene had 13 rebounds and hit three key second-half buckets to help Penn State hold off Minnesota.
Alex Bentley added 12 points as the Lady Lions (16-2, 6-0 Big Ten) hung for their 10th straight win despite struggling from the field.
The Gophers (13-7, 2-4) had a chance to take the lead twice late with the ball in the hands of their best player, Rachel Banham (19 points). But the sophomore was whistled for traveling and an offensive foul on back-to-back possessions with 1:09 left, with Minnesota trailing by one each time.
Banham then missed a potential tying 3 with 13 seconds left and Lucas pumped her arms after getting fouled on the other end. Her two free throws gave Penn State an insurmountable five-point lead with 2.9 seconds left.
• No. 16 Texas A&M 81, (at) Mississippi State 33 | Kristi Bellock scored 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead Texas A&M to a victory over Mississippi State.
Texas A&M (15-5, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) shot 60 percent (29 of 48), well above its season 46.6-percent average.
Mississippi State (8-11, 0-6) couldn’t muster much offense for coach Vic Schaefer, a former Texas A&M assistant, in his first game against his old squad. The Bulldogs were 12-of-45 shooting and bested the worst offensive performances in program history by a single point – Mississippi State scored 32 points against Manhattan in 1985 and Auburn in 1986.
Texas A&M opened the game on an 11-4 run and led 39-19 at halftime. They immediately extended that lead to 54-19 to open the second half.
Adrienne Pratcher added 15 points for the Aggies and Kelsey Bone chipped in 13 points. Martha Alwal led Mississippi State with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
• (At) No. 17 Dayton 80, George Washington 52 | Amber Deane had 22 points, leading a group of four Dayton players in double figures, as the Flyers cruised past George Washington.
Deane also had six rebounds and two steals as Dayton (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic 10) raced out to a 44-26 lead at the half and never looked back. Ally Malott, Samantha MacKay and Cassie Sant scored 17, 13, and 12 points, respectively, in the win.
The game was played on a weekday morning in celebration of Math Day. A total of 6,723 fans attended at UD Arena.
Tara Booker had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Colonials (7-11, 1-3). Shi-Heria Shipp also scored 10 for George Washington.
Dayton forced 22 turnovers, as the Flyers continued their best start in school history.
• No. 23 Michigan 61, (at) Indiana 43 | Rachel Sheffer scored 19 points, helping Michigan get back on track with a victory over cold-shooting Indiana.
Kate Thompson added 13 points, and Nya Jordan had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Wolverines (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten), who had their 10-game winning streak snapped in a loss to Penn State on Monday.
Aulani Sinclair led the Hoosiers (10-9, 1-5) with 14 points, and Nicole Bell chipped in 11 off the bench. Indiana shot just 26 percent from the field.
The Hoosiers kept the game close until midway through the first half, when Michigan used an 11-2 run to take control en route to a 37-24 halftime lead. The Wolverines kept it up in the second half, leading by as many as 24.
Despite the loss, Indiana remained the only Big Ten team not to allow an opponent to score 70 points this season.