South Carolina (12-13, 2-10 SEC) fell to Alabama (17-8, 9-3 SEC) 68-58 in SEC action at Coleman Coliseum Saturday afternoon. Junior guard Brenton Williams scored 14 off the bench to lead the Gamecocks.
Freshman forward Laimonas Chatkevicius scored a season-high 11 points and tied a career high with seven rebounds. Junior guard Bruce Ellington also scored 11 points to go with his four rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Eric Smith was the fourth Gamecock in double figures, scoring 10. Senior forward Lakeem Jackson led South Carolina on the boards with nine.
Alabama had three players reach double figures, with sophomore guard Trevor Lacey leading the way with 17. Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper and sophomore forward Nick Jacobs scored 10 a piece. Sophomore guard Levi Randolph was the top rebounder for the Crimson Tide, tallying nine.
South Carolina out-rebounded Alabama 34 to 31 in the contest. The Gamecocks committed 20 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Crimson Tide. South Carolina converted 12 Alabama giveaways into 15 points.
On the night, the Gamecocks shot 45 percent, going 23-of-51 from the floor. Alabama hit 22 of their 47 shots to shoot nearly 47 percent. South Carolina scored 34 points in the paint to Alabama's 26.
The score stood at 8-4 Alabama at the first media timeout of the opening half, but the Crimson Tide hit two 3s out of the break for a 14-4 advantage prompting a Gamecock timeout with 13:14 to play.
Alabama would extend its lead on a 14-4 run through the seven-minute mark sparked by three made 3-point baskets, which forced Frank Martin to call another timeout.
The Gamecocks scored on back-to-back possessions through the five-minute mark with Williams and junior forward RJ Slawson connecting for layups to put the score at 32-13 Alabama with 4:40 to play before the break.
Carolina's offense found a spark out of the final media timeout, closing the opening half on an 11-0 run over the course of the final 3:30 to pull within nine at the break at 35-24. Ellington and Chatkevicius connected for layups in the stretch, and Ellington added a long 3 just before the buzzer.
South Carolina shot 40 percent in the half, hitting 10-of-25 attempts, compared to the Crimson Tide, which hit 48 percent from the floor (12-25). The difference early was six made 3s from Alabama, compared to just one from the Gamecocks in the opening half. Ellington's 11 points led the Gamecocks in the half, with Chatkevicius adding six points and five rebounds.
The teams traded made baskets through the 15-minute mark of the second half, with Chatkevicius, Williams and Jackson providing layups for Carolina. The score held at 41-31 Alabama with 14:39 on the clock at the first media timeout of the second half.
Alabama hit three quick baskets out of the break to force another Carolina timeout. Jacobs hit two layups for Alabama and junior guard Trevor Releford added another after a Gamecock turnover to put the score at 47-31 with 13:43 to play.
Both teams added 10 points to their side of the scoreboard over the next six minutes of play, with Smith hitting two 3s for Carolina, but the Crimson Tide lead held at 57-41 with 7:06 to play.
Carolina strung together a 9-6 run out of the break to put the score at 63-50 with 2:55 to play. Williams hit a 3 and layup, with Smith and Jackson adding a layup each during the stretch.
Williams would add a layup and 3 late and junior guard Brian Richardson connected for three free throws, but Alabama held on for the 68-58 win.
South Carolina continues conference play when it hosts Ole Miss on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. ET matchup to be televised on CSS.