South Carolina posted a 74-67 victory over Missouri State in the third round of the Hoops For Hope Classic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Saturday in non-conference action. In his first contest back after missing three games due to a concussion, freshman forward Michael Carrera hit a 3 as time expired in regulation to send the contest into overtime.
Senior guard LaShay Page led the Gamecocks with 22 points and six rebounds, while junior guard Brian Richardson added 14 points, hitting four 3s in the contest, just one shy of matching his career high. Carrera added 18 points in his return and pulled down five rebounds.
South Carolina committed a season high 25 turnovers in the contest, however, after committing 20 of those in the first half, the Gamecocks were solid through the second half and overtime, posting just five turnovers during the stretch. The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Bears, 33-29.
Marcus Marshall led the Bears with 17 points, while Anthony Downing and Christian Kirk both added 16. Keith Pickens' eight rebounds were a game-high.
After Missouri State took an early 2-0 lead after an administrative technical foul called on Carolina during pre-game warmups, the Bears jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before a 3 from Richardson halted the stretch at the 17:41 mark.
The Gamecocks responded with a 10-4 run over the course of the next three minutes to take a 13-11 lead on another 3 from Richardson. Back and forth play followed, but the Gamecocks were never able to extend a lead due to several turnovers through the middle part of the half.
Missouri State held a 19-18 advantage near the seven-minute mark, but the Gamecocks continued to battle and Richardson's third 3 of the half tied the contest at 23 with 4:31 remaining before halftime.
Carolina committed five turnovers through the last four minutes of play and Missouri State held a 33-28 lead at the half. The Gamecocks finished the half with just 11 shots attempts, connecting on eight to shoot 72.7 percent in the set.
Page scored two 3s and a lay-up through the first three minutes and 30 seconds of the second half to tie the contest at 38. The teams traded baskets before a lay-up and two free throws from Carrera gave the Gamecocks a 42-40 lead with 13:06 on the clock.
After a lay-up from Kirk, Richardson's fourth 3 of the contest pushed the Gamecock lead to 45-42 with 11:24 remaining in regulation. The teams traded baskets and the contest was tied at 47, before Marshall gave the Bears a three-point advantage at the 7:39 mark.
Junior guard Eric Smith earned the assist on a lay-up from Page to tie the contest at 51 with just over six minutes remaining. Two free throws from MSU's Marshall gave the Bears a 53-51 advantage, before Carrera tied the contest at 53 with a hard-fought lay-up with 2:42 on the clock.
Kirk gave MSU a 55-53 lead with 1:25 remaining, before the teams traded missed baskets and the Gamecocks were called for an intentional foul with 33 seconds on the clock. The Bears were only able to hit 1-of-2 from the line to hold a 56-53 lead.
Richardson was called for a foul with 29 seconds remaining and MSU's Williams missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity before Page connected on the opposite end on a jumper to pull the Gamecocks within one at 56-55 with 13 seconds remaining.
Marshall connected on two free throws for the Bears at the opposite end with 12.2 seconds on the clock to go up three at 58-55. Smith collected the inbounds pass from freshman forward Mindaugas Kacinas and raced down the floor, finding Carrera just beyond the 3-point line with just seconds remaining.
Carrera faced the basket and shot his first attempt from beyond the arc this season, hitting at the buzzer to tie the contest at 58 and force overtime.
The Gamecocks dominated the OT session, out-scoring the Bears 16-9 in the set, including four points from Carrera and seven made free throws from Page to secure the Carolina victory.
South Carolina concludes play in the Hoops For Hope Classic on Sunday, playing either SMU or Arkansas Little-Rock at 9:30 p.m. ET.