COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Malik Cooke scored 18 points and spearheaded a late rally as South Carolina escaped the upset bid of Mississippi Valley State with a 61-57 victory on Tuesday night.
The Gamecocks trailed by 11 points with just over six minutes remaining but closed the game on a 22-7 run to avoid losing their third straight to a smaller conference foe. Eric Smith gave South Carolina (2-2) the lead for good on a jumper with just less than two minutes remaining to help South Carolina snap a two-game losing streak. Cooke scored 12 of his 18 points during that span, including South Carolina's final seven points.
Freshman Damien Leonard added 16 points for the Gamecocks in the preliminary round game of the Las Vegas Invitational.
Terrence Joyner led the Delta Devils (0-4) with 22 points.