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  • Wade Rainey

South Carolina's struggles continue in loss to Missouri

The South Carolina men’s basketball team’s struggles continued Saturday with a loss to No. 20 Missouri.

Led by Dru Smith, who finished with a team-high 17 points, Missouri lead a balanced attack that feature five players in double figures, cruising to a 93-78 victory and handing the Gamecocks their fifth straight loss.

While competitive early on, once the Tigers took the lead two and half minutes into the game, they never relinquished it, with their first half lead growing as much as 19 points. Fueled mainly by Kobe Brown, who had all 12 of his points in the first half, Missouri took a 16-point lead into halftime.

South Carolina would not go down without a fight however. The Gamecocks had the cut the Missouri lead down to seven at one point, but the energy vanished as soon as it appeared with the Tigers tearing off a 14-3 run and push the lead back to 17 points with under-8 minutes to play.

“They were outhustling us, rebounding, 50-50 balls, we just have to do a better job hustling,” said South Carolina sophomore guard Trae Hannibal, who finished with 15 points. “As a team, I feel like if we play for each other, we’ll turn it around.”

Gamecocks Head Coach Frank Martin was not as optimistic.

“Defensively we’re really bad, and we continue to have bad moments in games, from the standpoint of giving up bad runs,” an irritated Martin said. “We hit stretches of games where we give in defensively, and then play selfishly offensively. It’s a bad recipe.”

South Carolina (5-11, 3-9 SEC) will look to end their losing streak on Wednesday when they travel to Starkville to face Mississippi State with tip-off set for 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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