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Silva's 32 lead Gamecocks to 80-77 win over No. 16 Auburn

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) One of Frank Martin's best coaching moments this season for South Carolina came away from the games or the practice court. He counseled his senior leader Chris Silva to forget about the team's early problems and savor every minute he had left to play.

Silva has taken that advice and powered the Gamecocks' surprising run through the Southeastern Conference.

Silva was nearly unstoppable, with career highs of 32 points and 14 rebounds, to lead South Carolina to an 80-77 victory over No. 16 Auburn on Tuesday night. He made 11 of 12 shots, 10 of 11 foul shots and had four of his team's eight blocks. Silva's relentless play underneath was also a factor in two of Auburn's post players fouling out.

''Silva was the difference,'' Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. ''We had nobody to guard him.''

It wasn't that way through much of the pre-SEC schedule for South Carolina (10-8, 5-1), which lost to mid-majors Stony Brook and Wofford along with heavyweights Michigan and Virginia to enter league play 5-7 overall.

Silva, the 6-foot-9 forward who tested his NBA value last year as a junior, acknowledged the frustration of some of the early losses.

''Frank told me to enjoy the game and that's what I'm doing right now, enjoying the game,'' Silva said. ''And when I enjoy the game, the emotions come out of me.''

Silva leaped high when the horn sounded, celebrating with teammates and cheering fans over the Gamecocks' fifth victory in six league games.

Felipe Haase's 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left put South Carolina ahead for good, and Silva's final two foul shots sealed the win.

The Tigers (13-5, 2-3) used a late 12-0 run to wipe out South Carolina's 71-61 lead. They were still ahead 77-75 after Jared Harper's two free throws with 56.3 to go. That's when Haase nailed his long-range, go-ahead basket from the right corner.

Chuma Okeke missed a 3-pointer and Danjel Purifoy couldn't connect on a driving basket on Auburn's next possession before Silva came down with his 14th rebound and got fouled with 2.5 seconds to play.

Silva made both, and Auburn threw away the pass on its final possession to lose its second straight heartbreaker following an 82-80 loss to Kentucky last Saturday.

Pearl said games like the past two are just part of the SEC grind, and he'll make sure his players don't get too down on themselves.

''You've got to keep your locker room and you've got to fight through some adversity,'' he said.

Auburn appeared to be finished after Hassani Gravett's floater went in just as the shot clock expired for a 71-61 lead with 6:33 to go. But the explosive Tigers shot their way back in it, making five of their next six attempts in a two-minute span.

Okeke's 3 from the left front put Auburn ahead 73-71 with 4:01 remaining, capping a 12-0 surge.

Brown and Harper scored 17 points each for Auburn.

THE BIG PICTURE

Auburn: The Tigers showed spurts of stellar play amid several long stretches of offensive struggles. They started the game going 4 of 14 from the field before their closing run. They fell behind 62-53, and then scored six points in four seconds to tighten things up.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have found their stride at the perfect time with Silva in charge. He has become the team's most accomplished and capable scorer.

MISSING WILEY

Auburn played without 6-foot-11 Austin Wiley, who has averaged 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds this season, for a second straight game. The Tigers could've used his size and strength against South Carolina's post players. Forwards Horace Spencer and Anfernee McLemore fouled out.

MARTIN'S MINDSET

Martin had wondered at times earlier this year who would step up as leaders. And he was pleased that his team returned from its only SEC loss - last Saturday night at LSU - with a strong resolve to correct mistakes.

''That's leadership,'' Martin said.

NUMBERS

Gravett had three 3-pointers and was South Carolina's only other double-digit scorer with 13 points.

It was Silva's 20th career game with double-figure points and rebounds.

UP NEXT

Auburn plays at No. 22 Mississippi State on Saturday night.

South Carolina visits Oklahoma State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.

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Key Players
J. Harper
1 G
A. Lawson
00 G
29.7 Min. Per Game 29.7
12.3 Pts. Per Game 12.3
3.0 Ast. Per Game 3.0
4.0 Reb. Per Game 4.0
39.2 Field Goal % 36.4
38.7 Three Point % 27.5
81.8 Free Throw % 65.1
  Bad pass turnover on Bryce Brown 0.0
+ 1 Chris Silva made 2nd of 2 free throws 3.0
+ 1 Chris Silva made 1st of 2 free throws 3.0
  Personal foul on Danjel Purifoy 3.0
  Defensive rebound by Chris Silva 3.0
  Danjel Purifoy missed jump shot 4.0
  Offensive rebound by Danjel Purifoy 6.0
  Chuma Okeke missed 3-pt. jump shot 8.0
+ 3 Felipe Haase made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Hassani Gravett 32.0
+ 1 Jared Harper made 2nd of 2 free throws 56.0
+ 1 Jared Harper made 1st of 2 free throws 56.0
Team Stats
Points 77 80
Field Goals 25-61 (41.0%) 30-64 (46.9%)
3-Pointers 7-25 (28.0%) 6-18 (33.3%)
Free Throws 20-26 (76.9%) 14-22 (63.6%)
Total Rebounds 34 40
Offensive 9 12
Defensive 21 22
Team 4 6
Assists 9 16
Steals 7 4
Blocks 4 8
Turnovers 12 11
Fouls 22 21
Technicals 0 0
17 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST
32 PTS, 14 REB
12T
away team logo 16 Auburn 13-5 383977
home team logo South Carolina 10-8 374380
Team Stats
away team logo 16 Auburn 13-5 81.6 PPG 40 RPG 15.2 APG
home team logo South Carolina 10-8 74.6 PPG 40.6 RPG 13.2 APG
Key Players
1
J. Harper G 15.2 PPG 2.8 RPG 6.2 APG 40.2 FG%
30
C. Silva F 14.3 PPG 7.4 RPG 1.0 APG 51.1 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Harper G 17 PTS 4 REB 5 AST
C. Silva F 32 PTS 14 REB 0 AST
41.0 FG% 46.9
28.0 3PT FG% 33.3
76.9 FT% 63.6
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
B. Brown 17 2 1 4/11 3/8 6/7 1 33 1 0 3 1 1
J. Harper 17 4 5 7/15 1/6 2/3 2 37 0 0 2 0 4
C. Okeke 13 7 0 4/12 1/4 4/4 1 28 2 1 2 4 3
S. Doughty 8 3 0 3/5 2/4 0/0 2 28 0 0 1 0 3
A. McLemore 6 6 0 3/4 0/1 0/0 5 18 1 2 2 1 5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
B. Brown 17 2 1 4/11 3/8 6/7 1 33 1 0 3 1 1
J. Harper 17 4 5 7/15 1/6 2/3 2 37 0 0 2 0 4
C. Okeke 13 7 0 4/12 1/4 4/4 1 28 2 1 2 4 3
S. Doughty 8 3 0 3/5 2/4 0/0 2 28 0 0 1 0 3
A. McLemore 6 6 0 3/4 0/1 0/0 5 18 1 2 2 1 5
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
H. Spencer 9 3 0 3/3 0/0 3/6 5 15 1 1 0 1 2
D. Purifoy 3 3 2 1/6 0/1 1/2 3 19 2 0 2 2 1
M. Dunbar 2 2 0 0/3 0/1 2/2 3 12 0 0 0 0 2
J. McCormick 2 0 1 0/2 0/0 2/2 0 9 0 0 0 0 0
M. Parker 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
C. Blackstock - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Macoy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Wiley - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Collier - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Maasdorp - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Cook - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 77 30 9 25/61 7/25 20/26 22 200 7 4 12 9 21
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Silva 32 14 0 11/12 0/0 10/11 4 31 1 4 2 4 10
F. Haase 9 6 3 4/10 1/1 0/0 3 22 0 0 1 3 3
A. Lawson 7 3 0 2/9 1/6 2/2 5 25 0 1 2 1 2
K. Bryant 6 3 5 3/12 0/1 0/2 2 35 0 1 2 3 0
T. Campbell 3 1 2 1/3 1/3 0/0 1 28 2 0 1 0 1
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Silva 32 14 0 11/12 0/0 10/11 4 31 1 4 2 4 10
F. Haase 9 6 3 4/10 1/1 0/0 3 22 0 0 1 3 3
A. Lawson 7 3 0 2/9 1/6 2/2 5 25 0 1 2 1 2
K. Bryant 6 3 5 3/12 0/1 0/2 2 35 0 1 2 3 0
T. Campbell 3 1 2 1/3 1/3 0/0 1 28 2 0 1 0 1
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
H. Gravett 13 2 6 5/9 3/6 0/1 1 29 1 0 2 1 1
M. Kotsar 9 5 0 4/8 0/0 1/4 3 25 0 2 1 0 5
A. Frink 1 0 0 0/0 0/0 1/2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
E. Hinson 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
J. Bolden - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Cudd - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Minaya - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Moss - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Nelson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Couisnard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Q. Borup - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 80 34 16 30/64 6/18 14/22 21 200 4 8 11 12 22