The state South Carolina was cold enough for a dusting of snow and ice. Vanderbilt basketball took that chill to heart, playing ugly in a 59-65 loss to the formerly 1-9 Gamecocks in Columbia.
USC used a late 14-3 run to turn a close game into a home win thanks to a bevy of offensive rebounds and second chance points. The Gamecocks led 44-42 midway through the second half before holding the 'Dores to just a single made basket for a 10 minute span. Vandy, who looked sluggish from the start of Thursday's delayed tip-off, didn't have the horses to mount a comeback from there.
Damian Jones was impressive in defeat, scoring 20 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, and blocking seven shots. Kyle Fuller added 20 points, but needed 21 shots to get there. Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 19 points. Vandy got spanked on the boards as a whole, giving up a 45-31 advantage and allowing USC 15 more possessions in the game. That was huge for the 'Cocks - they were able to hold on for the win despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the field.
The loss is a disappointing defeat for the Commodores. South Carolina had won just one SEC game before Thursday's victory. Home court advantage didn't play much into this one either - Colonial Life Arena stood mostly empty thanks to the day's 4pm ET start. The game had been delayed from Wednesday night due to the inclement weather that has gripped the south in the past two days.
Vanderbilt dropped to 5-6 in the SEC and 13-10 overall. South Carolina improved to 9-15 and 2-9 in the league. The 'Dores will return to action on Saturday when they host Texas A&M.