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Kotsar, South Carolina rally to beat Tennessee 63-61

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina’s Maik Kotsar swished four free throws in the final 21 seconds to deliver an improbable 63-61 win over Tennessee on Saturday.

“Kotsar last year would avoid getting fouled because he did not want to shoot a free throw,” coach Frank Martin said. “Then he has the courage to hit four, and they weren’t Hail Marys. They were all in the bottom of the net.”

Trailing 60-59 with 1:15 to play, the Gamecocks (16-9, 8-4 SEC) were kicking themselves for their own mistakes. One of the nation’s worst teams at fouling and shooting free throws was once again living up to its twin reputation, with 24 fouls and 13 misses from the line.

Yet, after Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi turned the ball over and Jordan Bowden had to foul Kotsar, South Caorlina’s senior forward, to prevent a fast break. Kotsar calmly swished two free throws for a one-point lead.

“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking much. I just knew I had to make them,” said Kotsar, who led the Gamecocks with 13 points. “Just tried to take my time, tried not to rush it.”

Tennessee’s John Fulkerson, who scored a career-high 25 points, then was whistled for charging into South Carolina’s Keyshawn Bryant. Fulkerson had drawn a charge on South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson to clinch a 56-55 win in Knoxville on Jan. 11.

Kotsar was again flawless from the line, and Martin elected to intentionally foul with a three-point lead. Guard Josiah-Jordan James made his first free throw, then threw the second attempt hard into the front of the rim.

He rebounded it but was forced to shoot from the side of the court with less than four seconds to play. He missed to send the Volunteers (14-11, 6-6) to their third loss in five games.

“They finished it the way they wanted to and we didn’t,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “We needed to make one offensive play and we didn’t do it. And they did.”

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers’ NCAA tournament hopes took a hit but they can still get back onto the bubble down the stretch. They play Auburn twice and Kentucky once in their last six games.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have won eight of 11 and can see the postseason glowing. They’re playing confidently even without Justin Minaya, out until at least March with a thumb injury.

THE RETURN

Former South Carolina guard P.J. Dozier was recognized during a timeout. The timing was interesting considering South Carolina received a notice of allegations from the NCAA on Thursday, which mentioned Dozier.

Former assistant coach Lamont Evans is alleged to have accepted bribes from a sports agency representative to steer Dozier toward that agency. Martin, South Carolina nor Dozier were alleged to have committed any NCAA violation in the notice.

Martin said he is confident that nothing will reflect negatively on South Carolina, or threaten accomplishments from Dozier’s teams. He was the point guard during the Gamecocks’ run to the 2017 Final Four.

“This is an isolated matter about a one-time visit between a guy that I brought into the business and the people that got in trouble,” Martin said. “It does not involve any of our student-athletes, it does not involve our staff.”

NOT SO FAST

The Gamecocks and Volunteers combined for 52 fouls.

In the game in Knoxville, they had 51.

UP NEXT

Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt Tuesday in a quick turnaround. The Commodores are living in the basement of the SEC standings.

South Carolina is at Mississippi State on Wednesday. It will be the first of two games with the Bulldogs over 13 days.

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1st Half

Time Team Play Score
20:00   Jumpball received by South Carolina  
19:42   Maik Kotsar missed jump shot  
19:40   Defensive rebound by John Fulkerson  
19:26   John Fulkerson missed layup, blocked by Keyshawn Bryant  
19:24   Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
19:20   Shooting foul on Santiago Vescovi  
19:20   Jermaine Couisnard missed 1st of 2 free throws  
19:20   Jermaine Couisnard missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
19:20   Defensive rebound by Santiago Vescovi  
19:12   Shooting foul on Alanzo Frink  
19:12 +1 John Fulkerson made 1st of 2 free throws 1-0
19:12 +1 John Fulkerson made 2nd of 2 free throws 2-0
18:58   Alanzo Frink missed layup  
18:56   Offensive rebound by Alanzo Frink  
18:52   Lost ball turnover on Alanzo Frink, stolen by Jordan Bowden  
18:52   Personal foul on Alanzo Frink  
18:49   Jordan Bowden missed jump shot, blocked by Keyshawn Bryant  
18:47   Defensive rebound by South Carolina  
18:33   Lost ball turnover on Jermaine Couisnard, stolen by Santiago Vescovi  
18:17   Jordan Bowden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:15   Offensive rebound by John Fulkerson  
18:09   Santiago Vescovi missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:07   Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
17:52 +2 Jalyn McCreary made dunk 2-2
17:34   Santiago Vescovi missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:32   Defensive rebound by Keyshawn Bryant  
17:10   Traveling violation turnover on Jalyn McCreary  
16:55   Yves Pons missed 3-pt. jump shot  
16:53   Defensive rebound by Keyshawn Bryant  
16:41   AJ Lawson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
16:39   Defensive rebound by Santiago Vescovi  
16:33   Offensive foul on Jordan Bowden  
16:33   Turnover on Jordan Bowden  
16:20   Personal foul on Yves Pons  
16:13   Keyshawn Bryant missed jump shot  
16:11   Defensive rebound by Yves Pons  
15:57   Lost ball turnover on Yves Pons, stolen by Keyshawn Bryant  
15:39   Maik Kotsar missed jump shot, blocked by Yves Pons  
15:37   Defensive rebound by Jordan Bowden  
15:19   Personal foul on Keyshawn Bryant  
15:19   Commercial timeout called  
15:18 +2 John Fulkerson made tip-in, assist by Josiah-Jordan James 4-2
15:05 +2 Trae Hannibal made layup, assist by Maik Kotsar 4-4
14:39   Olivier Nkamhoua missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:37   Defensive rebound by Trae Hannibal  
14:27   Keyshawn Bryant missed jump shot  
14:25   Defensive rebound by Josiah-Jordan James  
14:17   Personal foul on Jalyn McCreary  
14:11   Offensive foul on Uros Plavsic  
14:11   Turnover on Uros Plavsic  
13:48   Jalyn McCreary missed jump shot  
13:46   Defensive rebound by Jordan Bowden  
13:36   Offensive foul on Uros Plavsic  
13:36   Turnover on Uros Plavsic  
13:15   Jair Bolden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:13   Offensive rebound by South Carolina  
13:11   Traveling violation turnover on AJ Lawson  
12:56 +2 Yves Pons made jump shot, assist by Josiah-Jordan James 6-4
12:32   Bad pass turnover on Trae Hannibal  
12:08 +3 Santiago Vescovi made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Josiah-Jordan James 9-4
11:49 +2 Jermaine Couisnard made jump shot 9-6
11:31   Lost ball turnover on Yves Pons, stolen by Trae Hannibal  
11:26   Trae Hannibal missed layup, blocked by Yves Pons  
11:24   Offensive rebound by Wildens Leveque  
11:24 +2 Wildens Leveque made layup 9-8
11:24   Shooting foul on Josiah-Jordan James  
11:24   Commercial timeout called  
11:26 +1 Wildens Leveque made free throw 9-9
11:16 +2 John Fulkerson made dunk, assist by Santiago Vescovi 11-9
10:47 +2 Trae Hannibal made layup 11-11
10:30   Santiago Vescovi missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:28   Offensive rebound by Tennessee  
10:28   Personal foul on Jair Bolden  
10:15   Josiah-Jordan James missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:13   Defensive rebound by South Carolina  
10:13   Maik Kotsar missed jump shot  
10:11   Defensive rebound by Tennessee  
10:02   Personal foul on Wildens Leveque  
9:33   Personal foul on Jermaine Couisnard  
9:33 +1 Jordan Bowden made 1st of 2 free throws 12-11
9:33 +1 Jordan Bowden made 2nd of 2 free throws 13-11
9:12   Maik Kotsar missed layup  
9:10   Offensive rebound by Wildens Leveque  
9:11   Shooting foul on Jalen Johnson  
9:11   Wildens Leveque missed 1st of 2 free throws  
9:11   Wildens Leveque missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
9:11   Defensive rebound by Olivier Nkamhoua  
8:52   Traveling violation turnover on Santiago Vescovi  
8:35   Personal foul on Olivier Nkamhoua  
8:35   Jermaine Couisnard missed free throw  
8:35   Defensive rebound by John Fulkerson  
8:06 +2 John Fulkerson made layup, assist by Jalen Johnson 15-11
7:59   Bad pass turnover on Jermaine Couisnard, stolen by Jordan Bowden  
7:50   Offensive foul on Jordan Bowden  
7:50   Turnover on Jordan Bowden  
7:50   Commercial timeout called  
7:29 +2 Jalyn McCreary made hook shot, assist by Trae Hannibal 15-13
7:03   Personal foul on Trae Hannibal  
7:03 +1 Santiago Vescovi made 1st of 2 free throws 16-13
7:03   Santiago Vescovi missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
7:03   Defensive rebound by Keyshawn Bryant  
6:42   Bad pass turnover on Jalyn McCreary, stolen by Santiago Vescovi  
6:42   Santiago Vescovi missed layup, blocked by Jalyn McCreary  
6:40   Offensive rebound by Tennessee  
6:35   Santiago Vescovi missed jump shot  
6:33   Offensive rebound by Yves Pons  
6:25   Yves Pons missed tip-in  
6:31   Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
6:23   TJ Moss missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:21   Defensive rebound by Tennessee  
6:21   Personal foul on Trae Hannibal  
6:21   Santiago Vescovi missed free throw  
6:21   Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
6:13   Personal foul on Yves Pons  
6:13 +1 Maik Kotsar made 1st of 2 free throws 16-14
6:13   Maik Kotsar missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
6:13   Defensive rebound by Olivier Nkamhoua  
5:55 +3 Josiah-Jordan James made 3-pt. jump shot 19-14
5:42   Bad pass turnover on TJ Moss, stolen by Davonte Gaines  
5:42   Personal foul on TJ Moss  
5:42   Davonte Gaines missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:42 +1 Davonte Gaines made 2nd of 2 free throws 20-14
5:26 +2 Maik Kotsar made hook shot 20-16
5:06   Bad pass turnover on Davonte Gaines  
4:42 +2 Maik Kotsar made hook shot 20-18
4:30 +2 John Fulkerson made layup, assist by Santiago Vescovi 22-18
4:30   Shooting foul on Keyshawn Bryant  
4:30   John Fulkerson missed free throw  
4:30   Defensive rebound by AJ Lawson  
4:30   Maik Kotsar missed layup  
4:28   Offensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
4:28 +2 Jalyn McCreary made dunk 22-20
4:01   Shooting foul on Keyshawn Bryant  
4:01 +1 Jordan Bowden made 1st of 2 free throws 23-20
4:01   Turnover on Uros Plavsic  
3:42   Jermaine Couisnard missed jump shot  
3:40   Offensive rebound by South Carolina  
3:40   Personal foul on Santiago Vescovi  
3:40   Commercial timeout called  
3:41 +1 Maik Kotsar made 1st of 2 free throws 23-21
3:40 +1 Maik Kotsar made 2nd of 2 free throws 23-22
3:26   Personal foul on Maik Kotsar  
3:26 +1 John Fulkerson made 1st of 2 free throws 24-22
3:26   John Fulkerson missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
3:26   Defensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
3:11   Shooting foul on Josiah-Jordan James  
3:11 +1 Jermaine Couisnard made 1st of 2 free throws 24-23
3:11 +1 Jermaine Couisnard made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-24
2:43 +2 Jordan Bowden made jump shot 26-24
2:18   AJ Lawson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:16   Defensive rebound by Jalen Johnson  
2:02   Traveling violation turnover on John Fulkerson  
1:45   AJ Lawson missed layup, blocked by John Fulkerson  
1:43   Offensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
1:43   Shooting foul on Jalen Johnson  
1:43   Jalyn McCreary missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:43   Jalyn McCreary missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:43   Offensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
1:42 +2 Jalyn McCreary made jump shot 27-26
1:39   30-second timeout called  
1:30   Bad pass turnover on Josiah-Jordan James, stolen by Wildens Leveque  
1:16 +2 Jair Bolden made jump shot 27-28
1:02   Josiah-Jordan James missed jump shot  
1:00   Offensive rebound by John Fulkerson  
1:00   Personal foul on Jermaine Couisnard  
1:00 +1 John Fulkerson made 1st of 2 free throws 28-28
1:00   John Fulkerson missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:00   Defensive rebound by Jair Bolden  
51.0   Jair Bolden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
49.0   Defensive rebound by Davonte Gaines  
35.0   Traveling violation turnover on John Fulkerson  
35.0   30-second timeout called  
11.0   Jermaine Couisnard missed 3-pt. jump shot, blocked by Josiah-Jordan James  
9.0   Offensive rebound by Jermaine Couisnard  
8.0   Shooting foul on Davonte Gaines  
8.0 +1 Jermaine Couisnard made 1st of 2 free throws 28-29
8.0 +1 Jermaine Couisnard made 2nd of 2 free throws 28-30
0.0 +2 John Fulkerson made jump shot 30-30
0.0   End of period  

2nd Half

Time Team Play Score
19:39   Jalen Johnson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
19:37   Defensive rebound by Alanzo Frink  
19:25 +3 Jermaine Couisnard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jair Bolden 29-33
19:11   Shooting foul on Alanzo Frink  
19:11   John Fulkerson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
19:11   John Fulkerson missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
19:11   Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
18:52 +3 Jair Bolden made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Maik Kotsar 29-36
18:34 +3 Santiago Vescovi made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jordan Bowden 32-36
18:06   Jermaine Couisnard missed layup  
18:04   Defensive rebound by Jordan Bowden  
17:55   Offensive foul on John Fulkerson  
17:55   Turnover on John Fulkerson  
17:40   Traveling violation turnover on Jermaine Couisnard  
17:33   Personal foul on Alanzo Frink  
17:24   Personal foul on Wildens Leveque  
17:22 +2 John Fulkerson made layup, assist by Josiah-Jordan James 34-36
17:23   Shooting foul on Wildens Leveque  
17:23 +1 John Fulkerson made free throw 35-36
17:04   Jermaine Couisnard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:02   Defensive rebound by Santiago Vescovi  
16:36 +2 John Fulkerson made layup, assist by Santiago Vescovi 37-36
16:20   Wildens Leveque missed hook shot  
16:18   Defensive rebound by John Fulkerson  
16:03   John Fulkerson missed jump shot  
16:01   Offensive rebound by John Fulkerson  
15:58   Jordan Bowden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
15:56   Defensive rebound by Jair Bolden  
15:45   Jair Bolden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
15:43   Defensive rebound by Santiago Vescovi  
15:20 +2 Yves Pons made dunk, assist by Jordan Bowden 39-36
15:20   Shooting foul on Wildens Leveque  
15:20   Commercial timeout called  
15:20 +1 Yves Pons made free throw 40-36
14:53 +2 Maik Kotsar made hook shot 40-38
14:30   Shooting foul on Jermaine Couisnard  
14:30   Davonte Gaines missed 1st of 2 free throws  
14:30 +1 Davonte Gaines made 2nd of 2 free throws 41-38
14:12   AJ Lawson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:10   Offensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
14:04 +3 Jair Bolden made 3-pt. jump shot 41-41
13:35   Santiago Vescovi missed jump shot  
13:33   Offensive rebound by Yves Pons  
13:33   Yves Pons missed tip-in  
13:31   Defensive rebound by Jair Bolden  
13:09   Jair Bolden missed jump shot  
13:07   Offensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
12:54   Trae Hannibal missed jump shot  
12:52   Offensive rebound by AJ Lawson  
12:35   Bad pass turnover on AJ Lawson  
12:19 +3 Josiah-Jordan James made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Davonte Gaines 44-41
12:07   Personal foul on Davonte Gaines  
12:03   Shooting foul on Jordan Bowden  
12:03   AJ Lawson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
12:03 +1 AJ Lawson made 2nd of 2 free throws 44-42
11:45   Yves Pons missed jump shot  
11:43   Defensive rebound by South Carolina  
11:43   Personal foul on Davonte Gaines  
11:43   Commercial timeout called  
11:17 +2 AJ Lawson made jump shot 44-44
11:00   Personal foul on Maik Kotsar  
11:00 +1 John Fulkerson made 1st of 2 free throws 45-44
11:00 +1 John Fulkerson made 2nd of 2 free throws 46-44
10:32 +2 Trae Hannibal made jump shot 46-46
9:58   Offensive foul on Davonte Gaines  
9:58   Turnover on Davonte Gaines  
9:46   Lost ball turnover on Keyshawn Bryant, stolen by Josiah-Jordan James  
9:39 +2 Yves Pons made dunk, assist by Josiah-Jordan James 48-46