Mississippi guard Stefan Moody (42) and guard Terence Davis (3) react after a basket by Moody during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning
January 19, 2016

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Michael Carrera is one of South Carolina's best players, adept at scoring from 3-point range or in the paint.

The senior might make a pretty good coach someday, too.

The 24th-ranked Gamecocks rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half to force overtime and beat Mississippi 77-74 on Tuesday night.

It was the 6-foot-5 Carrera who made several crucial plays down the stretch, including the game-tying layup in regulation and the basket that put the Gamecocks ahead for good in overtime.

Both came after Carrera suggested to South Carolina coach Frank Martin that he move into the post to take advantage of Ole Miss' undersized frontcourt.

''That's the great thing of having a senior - a guy who's been through it with you,'' Martin said. ''When he talks to you on the bench, you listen.

''It was his suggestion. It wasn't mine.''

And Carrera delivered, scoring 19 points, 17 after halftime. Laimonas Chatkevicius added 17 and 10 rebounds.

Ole Miss led 64-53 with 5:17 remaining in regulation, but South Carolina slowly fought back, tying the game at 66 with 43 seconds left on a layup by Carrera.

Carrera also made the most important play in overtime, hitting a layup while getting fouled. He converted the free throw to give South Carolina a 75-72 lead with 29.3 seconds left.

''We needed a big win like this one,'' Carrera said. ''We stayed together. We lose together, we win together and that's how we've been doing it the whole season.''

South Carolina (17-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) had four players score in double figures.

Ole Miss (12-6, 2-4) has lost three straight games. Stefan Moody led the Rebels with 24 points while Anthony Perez added 16.

The 5-11 Moody has scored at least 20 points in 13 straight games. He became the 38th player in Ole Miss history to score 1,000 career points, needing just 52 games to accomplish the feat.

But the senior left the game with about 5 minutes remaining in regulation with an apparent left hamstring injury and Ole Miss was never the same. Moody returned, but moved gingerly and didn't score again, lacking his usual explosiveness.

His injury was too much for an already hobbled Ole Miss team to overcome.

''To beat a ranked team - an SEC game - somebody has got to make a play,'' Kennedy said. ''We didn't do that.''

Ole Miss was playing its first game without forward Sebastian Saiz, who is averaging 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. He had surgery to repair a detached retina earlier Tuesday and is out indefinitely.

The Rebels did fine without him for most of the game. Perez made four 3-pointers in the first half and Ole Miss took a 39-29 lead into halftime when Moody hit a step back, rainbow 3-pointer over two defenders at the buzzer.

But South Carolina stayed into the game thanks to another balanced effort. Carrera was especially impressive, making 6 of 8 shots from the field, 7 of 8 free throws and adding nine rebounds.

South Carolina had a 49-37 rebound advantage.


South Carolina: Martin and Kennedy have been friends for several years. The two were assistants at Cincinnati under coach Bob Huggins.

Mississippi: Ole Miss guard Martavious Newby missed Tuesday's game with an eye injury. The senior is one of the team's best defensive players and is averaging 5.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.


No. 24 South Carolina is at Tennessee on Saturday.

Mississippi is at Mississippi State on Saturday.


Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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