COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Collin Murray-Boyles scored 16 points and No. 15 South Carolina reached 20 victories for the first time in seven years with a 68-65 victory over Mississippi on Tuesday night.

The Gamecocks (20-3, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) won their first game as a ranked team - and sixth in a row overall - after not appearing in the Top 25 since 2017. That was also the last time they reached 20 victories on the way to the Final Four.

Ta’Lon Cooper and Myles Stute had 12 points each for South Carolina.

Allen Flanigan led all scorers with 26 points, including 16 in the second half to fuel the Rebels' comeback try in the second half.

It looked as if South Carolina had this one in hand in the second half, ahead 53-36 on B.J. Mack's basket with 15:41 to go.

But the Rebels (18-5, 5-5), behind Flanigan, went on a 24-9 run over the next 12 minutes and cut it to 62-60. But Stute followed with his fourth 3-pointer and Murray-Boyles, a freshman, took an inside pass from Josh Gray to extend the lead.

When it looked as if 7-foot-5 Jamarion Sharp had a can't miss basket with 1:20 to go, Murray-Boyles, 10 inches shorter, rose up to knock the shot away.

Mississippi cut it to 68-65 on Flanigan's inside layup with 38 seconds left. It had a final chance after Meechie Johnson's long 3 clanged away, but Murrell's running 3 attempt was way off the mark.

The Rebels lost their second straight and fell for the fifth time in eight games.

South Carolina seemed to answer any concerns about how it would hold up after finally getting ranked by shooting 68% (18 for 29) in the opening half, with seven 3-pointers, to build a 43-31 lead.


Mississippi: The Rebels have had a troubling stretch since starting the season 15-1 with losses in four of their seven SEC games, including two straight. Chris Beard's teams in the past have been known for their strong defense, but it did not show up until after the Rebels fell behind by 17 points.

South Carolina: Where does this surprise season for the Gamecocks head next? South Carolina appears headed for its first NCAA Tournament berth in seven years.


Mississippi: Heads to No. 17 Kentucky on Tuesday.

South Carolina: Hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday.


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