South Carolina routs Mississippi State 75-52

South Carolina routs Mississippi State 75-52
South Carolina improved to 13-1 on the season with a win at Mississippi State on Thursday (Source: South Carolina Athletics)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Zia Cooke scored 19 points and Victaria Saxton added 13 to help No. 4 South Carolina rout 21st-ranked Mississippi State 75-52 on Thursday night.

After scoring just 10 points in the first quarter and trailing by one, South Carolina used a dominant second quarter to take control of the game.

Cooke scored the first eight points to spark a 12-0 run that led to a 36-23 halftime advantage and the Bulldogs never recovered.

Mississippi State (8-6, 3-4 SEC) shot just 22 of 65 from the field in the game as the Bulldogs could never find the bottom of the net consistently despite some good looks inside the paint. Sophomore All-SEC player Rickea Jackson score just two points in the first half before finding some offensive rhythm in the second half and scoring a team-high 15 points.

It was a dominant performance in the paint for the Gamecocks (13-1, 8-0) as they outscored Mississippi State 44-28 inside and had a commanding 51-38 rebounding advantage. The Gamecocks star center Aliyah Boston was held to just six points but totaled 12 rebounds.

Saxton had 11 rebounds for a double-double.

BIG PICTURE:

South Carolina: The win for South Carolina kept them atop the SEC rankings as they look to take a second-straight SEC title.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are in the middle of their worst stretch of basketball in seven years. The loss to the Gamecocks was the third-straight for MSU and the first three-game losing streak since 2014.

GAMECHANGER South Carolina struggled early shooting, going 4-of-14 from the field in the first quarter, but a Zia Cooke bucket at the end of the period jump-started a 14-0 run, with Cooke accounting for the first eight points in the run, which gave Carolina a lead it would not relinquish. KEY STAT The Gamecocks, who have struggled from the charity stripe at times this season, went 19-of-22 (.864) from the stripe tonight, their best mark in SEC play, NOTABLES

  • Tonight’s win gives the Garnet and Black six wins over ranked opponents this season, more than any other team in the country.
  • Carolina extended its SEC regular-season winning streak to 24 with the win, tying the program record originally set Jan. 3, 2016, through Jan. 26, 2017.
  • The Gamecocks continued to show their power on the glass, outrebounding Mississippi State 51-39. This is the fifth game of 50+ rebounds in SEC play for the Garnet and Black.
  • Sophomore Zia Cooke locked in during Carolina’s 14-0 first-half run, scoring eight of her game-high 19 points in the run to help the Gamecocks take control of the game. Cooke went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
  • Junior Victaria Saxton controlled the glass all night, pulling down five of her 11 rebounds in the first quarter and scoring seven of her 13 points in the third quarter to get her second double-double of the season and her first in conference play this year.
  • Senior LeLe Grissett capped off that 14-0 first-half Carolina run with back-to-back buckets and added seven more points in the second half to finish with 11 points and five rebounds.
  • Sophomore Aliyah Boston was dominant on the glass in the second quarter snagging eight of her 12 rebounds. She also notched three blocks, giving her 130 for her career, tied for 10th place in program history in just her 47th career game.

UP NEXT The No. 4/3 Gamecocks (13-1, 8-0 SEC) return to Columbia to host Alabama (12-3, 5-3 SEC). Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday on the SEC Network.