South Carolina pulls away late, defeats #9 Virginia, 70-59

mamadi diakite

Mamadi Diakite drives from the corner to finish in close. Diakite tallied a career-high 21 points. Photo by Dan Grogan/GroganVision

Virginia fought back from a 13-point second-half deficit to tie the game, but South Carolina was the better team Sunday.

The Gamecocks took it to the Cavaliers early, then responded after a 16-3 UVA tied the game to take control on their way to a 70-59 win at JPJ on Sunday.

UVA (9-2) couldn’t get out of its own way: it was that simple.

Twelve turnovers on 32 first-half possessions factored mightily into the 33-24 halftime deficit.

The 16-3 UVA run over a 4:33 stretch of the second half got the game to a 45-45 tie on the second of two free throws by Braxton Key with 11:09 to go.

It was still a 51-50 game at the 8:20 mark before South Carolina (8-4) seized the day with a 15-4 run over the next 4:50 that turned the one-point game into a 12-point bulge.

Virginia got it back down to seven inside of two minutes to go, but that was as close as things would get.

Mamadi Diakite had a career-high 21 points for Virginia, but he was the only Cavalier to have any kind of effectiveness on the offensive end.

Kihei Clark had nine points and seven assists, but also had seven turnovers.

Jair Bolden had 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting for South Carolina, which shot 55.1 percent (27-of-49) from the floor.

Story by Chris Graham

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