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Couisnard, South Carolina stun No. 10 Kentucky 81-78

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Freshman Jermaine Couisnard made the most of his first college start. His success against No. 10 Kentucky could mean bigger things ahead for South Carolina.

Couisnard had a career-high 26 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, and South Carolina (9-7, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) stunned No. 10 Kentucky 81-78 on Wednesday night.

Couisnard had options on the final possession after the Wildcats tied things at 78-all with 4.1 seconds left. But he rushed up the left side of the court and sent up a shot that banked off the backboard and went through.

The basket touched off pandemonium at Colonial Life Arena as Couisnard tried to outrun his teammates before they caught him for hugs and congratulations.

“I was trying to play tag with my teammates. They'd go one way and I'd go the other,” he said. “They finally caught me. I was trying to have fun, to enjoy the moment."

Couisnard was given options on the final play by Gamecocks coach Frank Martin.

“Jermaine was going to get that shot," Martin said. “He wasn't going to be denied.”

At first, Couisnard said, “I thought it was an airball."

Instead, it was the first big moment for a player who's turning into the generator Martin needs at point guard. He had 17 of his points in the second half to spur a rally from 14 points down against the Wildcats (12-4, 3-1).

The position had been a sticking point for Martin this season, trying to get more consistent play from junior Jair Bolden and even having leading scorer A.J. Lawson run the offense at times.

Couisnard, though, brings courage and personality to the team, Martin said, unafraid to make plays and do whatever is necessary for South Carolina.

“Jermaine's becoming the hearbeat of our team," Martin said.

Moments before Couisnard's dramatic shot, Immanuel Quickly banked home a shot with 4.1 seconds to go that tied things at 78. Quickly led Kentucky with 20 points.

Keyshawn Bryant scored 15 points for the Gamecocks, who had four players in double figures.

Kentucky led by 14 less than five minutes into the second half and was still up 54-41 on EJ Montgomery's two foul shots with 11:41 left.

That's when Justin Minaya started a 27-14 run over the next seven minutes that ended with Couisnard's basket off the glass to tie things at 68-all.

After Ashton Hagans put Kentucky up again with two foul shots, Minaya answered with a 3-pointer that sent the crowd into pandemonium.

Minaya added two more baskets between a drive by Lawson and South Carolina was ahead 76-71 with 1:46 to go.

Kentucky tied it a final time on Quickly's jumper after Lawson missed two foul shots with a chance to seal the game.

Kentucky coach John Calipari liked his team's play for the first 30 minutes, but his team failed to put away the Gamecocks when it had the chance.

“I though when we had them up 14, ‘Let's get 20,'" Calipari said. “But they never stopped."

South Carolina ended a three-game losing streak against Kentucky. The Gamecocks past five wins over the Wildcats since 2009 have all come at Colonial Life Arena.

It was impossible to imagine South Carolina winning after an awful first half where it missed its first 10 shots and was shooting less than 25 percent from the field.

THE BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats had four players in double figures and seemed to have the game in control. But they missed eight of their final 10 shots.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks entered this one on a three-game losing streak that included a dreadful home defeat to Stetson. But on the plus side, they've now beaten a pair of top-10 teams. They topped Virginia on Dec. 22.

MORE DISCIPLINE

Calipari was bothered by his team's lack of discipline and that it played like freelancers doing their own thing instead of as a team. Hagans went 2 of 10 from the field with five turnovers. Another starter in EJ Montgomery was just 1 of 4. Both players fouled out.

“The lack of discipline that we have, especially with guys doing their own thing," Calipari said. ��You can't play that way in a big-time game."

BOARDING

South Carolina outrebounded Kentucky overall 43-41, but doubled them up in offensive rebounding, 20-10. Martin said his players are learning how to play college basketball and the lessons are showing up on the court.

UP NEXT

Kentucky plays at Arkansas on Saturday.

South Carolina travels to Texas A&M on Saturday.

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1st Half

Time Team Play Score
20:00   Jumpball received by Kentucky  
19:50   Lost ball turnover on EJ Montgomery, stolen by Justin Minaya  
19:50   Personal foul on Keion Brooks Jr.  
19:29   Keyshawn Bryant missed 3-pt. jump shot  
19:27   Defensive rebound by Keion Brooks Jr.  
19:21 +2 Nick Richards made layup, assist by Ashton Hagans 2-0
19:14   AJ Lawson missed layup, blocked by Keion Brooks Jr.  
19:12   Offensive rebound by South Carolina  
19:00   AJ Lawson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:58   Defensive rebound by Keion Brooks Jr.  
18:49   EJ Montgomery missed jump shot  
18:47   Offensive rebound by Keion Brooks Jr.  
18:46   Keion Brooks Jr. missed layup  
18:44   Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar  
18:44   Jumpball received by South Carolina  
18:30   Traveling violation turnover on Keyshawn Bryant  
18:19   Traveling violation turnover on Nick Richards  
18:09   Jermaine Couisnard missed layup, blocked by Nick Richards  
18:09   Offensive rebound by South Carolina  
18:09   Personal foul on Ashton Hagans  
18:02   Personal foul on Tyrese Maxey  
17:54   Lost ball turnover on AJ Lawson, stolen by Keion Brooks Jr.  
17:48 +2 Tyrese Maxey made layup, assist by Ashton Hagans 4-0
17:36   Jermaine Couisnard missed layup  
17:34   Defensive rebound by EJ Montgomery  
17:29   Personal foul on Maik Kotsar  
17:21   Lost ball turnover on Ashton Hagans, stolen by Maik Kotsar  
17:07   Maik Kotsar missed floating jump shot  
17:05   Defensive rebound by EJ Montgomery  
16:59   Kahlil Whitney missed layup  
16:59   Offensive rebound by Nick Richards  
16:59   Nick Richards missed tip-in  
16:59   Offensive rebound by Nick Richards  
16:59   Shooting foul on Maik Kotsar  
16:58 +1 Nick Richards made 1st of 2 free throws 5-0
16:58 +1 Nick Richards made 2nd of 2 free throws 6-0
16:51   Out of bounds turnover on Keyshawn Bryant  
16:23   Offensive foul on Immanuel Quickley  
16:23   Turnover on Immanuel Quickley  
16:10   Personal foul on EJ Montgomery  
15:59   AJ Lawson missed jump shot  
15:57   Defensive rebound by Nate Sestina  
15:37 +2 Tyrese Maxey made floating jump shot 8-0
15:26   Shooting foul on Kahlil Whitney  
15:26 +1 AJ Lawson made 1st of 2 free throws 8-1
15:26 +1 AJ Lawson made 2nd of 2 free throws 8-2
15:08   Immanuel Quickley missed jump shot  
15:06   Defensive rebound by AJ Lawson  
14:51   Keyshawn Bryant missed floating jump shot  
14:49   Defensive rebound by Nick Richards  
14:33   Personal foul on Jermaine Couisnard  
14:26   Traveling violation turnover on Nate Sestina  
14:11   Justin Minaya missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:09   Defensive rebound by Immanuel Quickley  
13:46   Traveling violation turnover on Nate Sestina  
13:31   TJ Moss missed jump shot  
13:29   Offensive rebound by Keyshawn Bryant  
13:24 +2 Keyshawn Bryant made dunk 8-4
13:16   Personal foul on Justin Minaya  
13:09   Shooting foul on Jalyn McCreary  
13:09 +1 Nick Richards made 1st of 2 free throws 9-4
13:09   Nick Richards missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
13:09   Defensive rebound by Keyshawn Bryant  
12:50   Lost ball turnover on Keyshawn Bryant, stolen by Ashton Hagans  
12:44   Ashton Hagans missed layup  
12:42   Offensive rebound by Nick Richards  
12:38 +2 Nick Richards made tip-in 11-4
12:33   Jermaine Couisnard missed layup  
12:31   Offensive rebound by Jermaine Couisnard  
12:30   Jermaine Couisnard missed jump shot  
12:30   Offensive rebound by Wildens Leveque  
12:20   Wildens Leveque missed layup  
12:18   Offensive rebound by Keyshawn Bryant  
12:10 +2 Keyshawn Bryant made layup 11-6
12:03   Keion Brooks Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:01   Defensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
11:56   Personal foul on Nick Richards  
11:56   Wildens Leveque missed free throw  
11:56   Defensive rebound by Immanuel Quickley  
11:56 +3 Immanuel Quickley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ashton Hagans 14-6
11:24 +2 Jalyn McCreary made jump shot, assist by Keyshawn Bryant 14-8
11:13 +2 Nick Richards made dunk, assist by Ashton Hagans 16-8
10:53 +2 Wildens Leveque made jump shot, assist by Keyshawn Bryant 16-10
10:29   Offensive foul on Nick Richards  
10:29   Turnover on Nick Richards  
10:15   Jermaine Couisnard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:13   Offensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
10:11   Personal foul on Nate Sestina  
10:11   Jalyn McCreary missed free throw  
10:11   Defensive rebound by EJ Montgomery  
9:58   Ashton Hagans missed layup  
9:38   Jermaine Couisnard missed layup, blocked by EJ Montgomery  
9:36   Defensive rebound by Kentucky  
9:12 +3 Immanuel Quickley made 3-pt. jump shot 19-10
8:48   AJ Lawson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:46   Defensive rebound by EJ Montgomery  
8:22   Ashton Hagans missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:20   Defensive rebound by AJ Lawson  
8:10   TJ Moss missed layup  
8:08   Defensive rebound by EJ Montgomery  
7:57   EJ Montgomery missed jump shot  
7:55   Offensive rebound by Kentucky  
7:55   Personal foul on AJ Lawson  
7:46 +2 Nate Sestina made jump shot, assist by Tyrese Maxey 21-10
7:35 +3 Jermaine Couisnard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Justin Minaya 21-13
7:25   Nate Sestina missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:23   Defensive rebound by Wildens Leveque  
7:12 +3 Jermaine Couisnard made 3-pt. jump shot 21-16
6:52 +2 Nate Sestina made layup, assist by Ashton Hagans 23-16
6:52   Shooting foul on Keyshawn Bryant  
6:52   Nate Sestina missed free throw  
6:52   Defensive rebound by Alanzo Frink  
6:40   Keyshawn Bryant missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:38   Defensive rebound by Tyrese Maxey  
6:33   Personal foul on Keyshawn Bryant  
6:38 +1 Ashton Hagans made 1st of 2 free throws 24-16
6:33 +1 Ashton Hagans made 2nd of 2 free throws 25-16
6:12   Justin Minaya missed jump shot  
6:10   Offensive rebound by South Carolina  
6:04   Jermaine Couisnard missed jump shot  
6:02   Defensive rebound by Kahlil Whitney  
5:46 +2 Tyrese Maxey made jump shot 27-16
5:31   Jermaine Couisnard missed layup  
5:29   Defensive rebound by Ashton Hagans  
5:23   Tyrese Maxey missed dunk  
5:21   Defensive rebound by South Carolina  
5:21   Unsportsmanlike technical foul on Tyrese Maxey  
5:21 +1 Jermaine Couisnard made free throw 27-17
5:03   Jalyn McCreary missed jump shot  
5:01   Offensive rebound by Alanzo Frink  
5:01   Personal foul on EJ Montgomery  
5:01   Alanzo Frink missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:01 +1 Alanzo Frink made 2nd of 2 free throws 27-18
4:42   Personal foul on TJ Moss  
4:42   Kahlil Whitney missed free throw  
4:42   Defensive rebound by Justin Minaya  
4:30   TJ Moss missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:28   Defensive rebound by Nate Sestina  
4:18   Kahlil Whitney missed dunk, blocked by Justin Minaya  
4:16   Defensive rebound by Jalyn McCreary  
4:02   Lost ball turnover on Jermaine Couisnard, stolen by Nate Sestina  
3:46 +2 Kahlil Whitney made layup 29-18
3:46   Shooting foul on Jalyn McCreary  
3:46   Kahlil Whitney missed free throw  
3:46   Defensive rebound by Jermaine Couisnard  
3:39 +2 Jermaine Couisnard made layup 29-20
3:14   Shooting foul on Jermaine Couisnard  
3:14   Ashton Hagans missed 1st of 2 free throws  
3:14 +1 Ashton Hagans made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-20
3:04   Trae Hannibal missed jump shot  
3:02   Offensive rebound by South Carolina  
3:00   Lost ball turnover on AJ Lawson, stolen by Keion Brooks Jr.  
2:40   Nate Sestina missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:38   Defensive rebound by TJ Moss  
2:29 +2 Jalyn McCreary made floating jump shot 30-22
2:10   Backcourt turnover on Ashton Hagans  
1:54   Shooting foul on Immanuel Quickley  
1:54   AJ Lawson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:54 +1 AJ Lawson made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-23
1:32   Tyrese Maxey missed floating jump shot  
1:30   Defensive rebound by TJ Moss  
1:25 +2 TJ Moss made floating jump shot 30-25
1:12 +2 Ashton Hagans made layup 32-25
1:12   Shooting foul on TJ Moss  
1:12 +1 Ashton Hagans made free throw 33-25
59.0   Justin Minaya missed 3-pt. jump shot  
57.0   Defensive rebound by Ashton Hagans  
45.0   Ashton Hagans missed jump shot, blocked by Alanzo Frink  
43.0   Defensive rebound by Trae Hannibal  
35.0   Trae Hannibal missed layup  
33.0   Offensive rebound by Alanzo Frink  
33.0   Alanzo Frink missed tip-in  
33.0   Offensive rebound by Trae Hannibal  
23.0   Alanzo Frink missed jump shot  
21.0   Defensive rebound by Johnny Juzang  
7.0   Kahlil Whitney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5.0   Defensive rebound by Trae Hannibal  
0.0   End of period  

2nd Half

Time Team Play Score
19:52   Keion Brooks Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot  
19:50   Defensive rebound by AJ Lawson  
19:39 +2 Jermaine Couisnard made layup 33-27
19:39   Shooting foul on Keion Brooks Jr.  
19:39   Jermaine Couisnard missed free throw  
19:39   Defensive rebound by Nick Richards  
19:26   Lost ball turnover on Ashton Hagans, stolen by Jermaine Couisnard  
19:21   Shooting foul on Nick Richards  
19:17   Keyshawn Bryant missed 1st of 2 free throws  
19:17 +1 Keyshawn Bryant made 2nd of 2 free throws 33-28
18:53   Personal foul on AJ Lawson  
18:41 +2 Immanuel Quickley made jump shot 35-28
18:34   Lost ball turnover on Justin Minaya, stolen by Immanuel Quickley  
18:24   Shooting foul on Maik Kotsar  
18:26 +1 Tyrese Maxey made 1st of 2 free throws 36-28
18:24   Tyrese Maxey missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
18:24