BATON ROUGE, La. -- Bruce Ellington scored 20 points and South Carolina snapped a two-game skid with a 64-56 victory over LSU on Wednesday night that sent the Tigers to their fifth straight loss.
Malik Cooke added 12 points for the Gamecocks (13-7, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), who never trailed and led by as many as 13 before holding off a late LSU comeback bid by allowing only three points over the final 3:52.Andre Stringer scored 19 points for LSU (10-12, 2-5), while Garrett Green added 12 points and nine rebounds. Malcolm White added 10 points, but the Tigers shot only 35.3 percent (18 of 51) and had six shots blocked, including four by Sam Muldrow.South Carolina led by only four points at halftime but quickly widened the margin to 36-27 when Ellington opened the second half with a 3 and Ramon Galloway added a jumper.The lead hovered around double digits for much of the second half and grew to 57-44 after Galloway's 3 from the right wing was followed by Damontre Harris' follow-up dunk with 7:23 to go.LSU made one last bid to get back into it with a 9-0 run ignited by White's inside basket as he was fouled. Ralston Turner added a jumper and Aaron Dotson a 3-pointer from the corner during the surge. Then Stringer's driving layup, set up by a flamboyant crossover dribble, capped the surge that pulled LSU to 57-53 and brought the crowd to its feet with 3:52 left in the game.Soon after, however, Turner fouled out and South Carolina began to pull away again when Ellington hit a clutch pull-up jumper and Muldrow scored inside to make it 61-53 with 2 minutes to play. LSU never threatened after that.South Carolina led by as many as nine in the first half when Brian Richardson hit a 3 with 3:56 to go. Stringer responded with a 3, then Dotson hit a jumper and Stringer added a free throw to pull LSU as close as 26-23, but the first of Ellington's three 3-pointers put the Gamecocks back up by six.LSU closed the half with Green's free throws to pull to 31-27, but would not get closer than four points for the rest of the way.