Jan. 25, 2012
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.
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).