For the fourth time in the John Calipari era, the Wildcats lost to South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena. Kentucky could not survive a late run by the Gamecocks, ultimately falling 81-78 on a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer.
SOUTH CAROLINA BEATS KENTUCKY AT THE BUZZER ? pic.twitter.com/pqlWPIKO7w
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 16, 2020
To earn their first SEC victory of the season, South Carolina needed to score 56 second half points. It still almost wasn’t enough.
Kentucky led by double digits with 11 minutes to play when South Carolina started to make their run. They scored nine points in just over a minute to make it a game. The Cats temporarily delivered counter punches — Tyrese Maxey had two big ones from three — but none that could sustain the lead.
Justin Minaya was the straw that eventually broke the Wildcats’ back. His three-pointer from the corner gave the Gamecocks a 71-70 lead, their first of the night with 3:41 remaining. Kentucky took quick threes on consecutive possessions, opening the door for South Carolina to extend that lead to five.
Kentucky clawed back to make it a one-possession game not once, but twice in the final minute. On the first attempt, UK failed to convert two tip-ins following an Immanuel Quickley three-pointer. A few South Carolina missed free throws and 30 seconds later, Kentucky had the ball down two with 11.3 seconds on the clock.
Out of a timeout John Calipari dialed up an isolation to Quickley. The sophomore point guard buried the two from the corner to tie the game. Jermaine Couisnard never hesitated, sprinted up the court and banked one off the glass with two hands in his face to hand UK its first SEC loss of the season. He finished the night with a career-high 26 points.
South Carolina secured 20 offensive rebounds, Kentucky missed ten free throws and 54 total fouls were called in 40 minutes of action; not exactly a recipe for success on the road in the SEC.