COLUMBIA, S.C. — Visiting Vanderbilt led by as many as 11 in the second half Wednesday inside Colonial Life Arena, but South Carolina stormed ahead down the stretch and then held on for a 70-61 victory.
Scotty Pippen Jr. poured in 24 points for the Commodores (10-9, 2-5 SEC). The junior also collected eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Jordan Wright added 10 for Vandy.
Vanderbilt returns home to face Georgia (6-14, 1-6 SEC) at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Commodores came out sharp Wednesday and had a 10-4 lead in the first 3 1/2 minutes thanks to five points and two assists from Pippen. South Carolina stormed back with three consecutive 3s to knot the score at 13-all.
The Commodores went more than four minutes without a point while the Gamecocks put together a 13-2 run. Pippen’s bank shot from inside the lane broke the spell and got Vandy within 17-15.
Shane Dezonie put Vanderbilt back in front with a fall-away 3 from the top of the key to beat the shot clock making it 22-19. Wright gave the Commodores their biggest lead of the night – at that point – with back-to-back layups pushing the lead to 30-25.
Vandy held a 30-26 lead at the break. It shot 42.3 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, forced 10 South Carolina turnovers and got 14 points from Pippen.
Pippen helped keep the pressure on to start the second half with an and-1 giving the visitors a 35-26 lead. Pippen’s layup with 13:28 to play put Vandy up 46-35.
But Jermaine Couisinard brought the home crowd to life with a long 3-pointer from the right wing that cut the deficit to 47-45. Then AJ Wilson’s two-handed slam after a Vanderbilt turnover tied the score at 47-all.
Erik Stevenson drained a triple of his own one possession later to put the Gamecocks ahead 50-47 and force a Vanderbilt timeout. South Carolina wouldn’t trail again.
Couisinard hit a short jumper with a little less than five minutes to putting the Gamecocks ahead 62-55 and the Commodores couldn’t find a comeback from there.
James Reese led South Carolina (12-7, 3-4 SEC) with 19.
- Pippen Jr. (1,190) is now tied for 37th on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list with Billy Joe Adcock.
- Pippen is now 10th in Vanderbilt history with 372 made free throws. Jeff Roberson is ninth with 373.
- Vandy is now 32-31 all-time against South Carolina and 12-16 as the road team.
- The Commodores’ last win in Columbia, South Carolina, was Jan. 19, 2013.
- The Commodores are now 7-2 this season when leading at halftime and 9-2 when shooting at least 40 percent from the field.
- Trey Thomas has played in 44 straight games for the Commodores.
- Wright has started 34 straight games for Vanderbilt.
- Attendance on Wednesday was announced as 8,768.