Missouri (10-10, 2-5 SEC) defeated Georgia 72-69 on Saturday in Columbia. Missouri led this game for most of the first 10 minutes but Georgia took an 15-14 edge on a pair of Tyree Crump made free throws with 10:52 remaining in the half. The Bulldogs went on to lead for the remainder of the half by as much as 18 points. Georgia held a 42-30 lead at the half. Ten minutes into the second half the Bulldogs still held a formidable 61-49 lead. The Tigers then began to cut into the Georgia lead before finally taking a 66-65 lead with 2:20 remaining in the game. The game was tied at 69 with a minute to play but a Xavier Pinson layup sealed the Tiger victory. Dru Smith led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points. He made 3 of 6 shots from 3-point range. Anthony Edwards topped the Bulldogs with 23 points. The two teams were fairly even from the field and free throw line. The difference in the game came down to 3-point shots. Mizzou made 10 of 23 of those compared to Georgia 6 of 21.
Guard Dru Smith leads the Tigers in scoring (11.8 ppg). He also is No. 2 in the SEC in steals with 43 and is over 91% for his free throws. Another Smith, guard Mark Smith, is the second leading scorer (10.9 ppg). Mark also is the rebounding leader of the team (4.3 rpg). There is a third Smith on the team, forward Mitchell Smith. Missouri is among the worst teams in the SEC in scoring offense averaging just 66.6 points per contest. However, the Tigers are the second best team in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 62.6 points a game. Mizzou is No. 5 in the SEC in field goal defense (39.9%) and No. 4 in 3-point defense (29.8%).
South Carolina (12-8, 4-3 SEC) defeated Arkansas 79-77 on Saturday in Fayetteville. This is a game that South Carolina led from start to finish. However, the game was fairly close most of the 40 minutes. In the first half the Gamecocks built as much as a 10-point lead before heading to halftime up 38-32. Carolina would lead by as much as nine in the second half with 3:33 to play USC led just 74-72. A Jair Bolden 3-point shot with 2:08 to play put the Gamecocks up 78-72. Arkansas countered with an Isaiah Joe 3-pointer but Carolina won the free throw battle in the final seconds to secure the win.
AJ Lawson leads the Gamecocks in scoring averaging 14.0 points per game. Maik Kotsar pulls down a team leading 6.4 rebounds a game. South Carolina as a team averages 70.8 points per game while allowing opponents 67.2 points per contest. For the season, Carolina is making 44% from the field, 31.1% from 3-point range and 60.4% from the line.
Missouri has struggled on the road so far this season. South Carolina seems to be getting better as the season progresses.
Missouri-South Carolina Prediction
South Carolina 68, Missouri 59
Saturday‘s game tips off at 3:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. CT). TV: SEC Network.