NCAA Basketball

Silva's 22 points lead South Carolina to 71-54 win over A&M

By KRISTIE RIEKEN

AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) South Carolina coach Frank Martin was thrilled his team ended its losing streak with a win against Texas A&M on Tuesday night.

He might have been equally as happy that it came thanks to a bounce-back performance from senior star Chris Silva.

Silva had 22 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to help South Carolina snap a three-game skid with the 71-54 victory.

Silva's big game comes after the 6-foot-9 player didn't have a rebound in a loss to Missouri on Saturday.

"I'm really happy for Chris," Martin said. "He's been an unbelievable guy to coach for four years and he's worked his tail off and I so want him to finish his senior year the right way. And the way he played last game, it's not indicative of the kind of player that he is and the kind of conference season he's had."

Silva didn't miss from 3-point range, making a career-best four after never attempting more than three in a game.

"He was a force rebounding and when he's making 3-pointers like he did, it's tough," Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.

Silva said being versatile in his scoring was big on Tuesday night.

"The players got to respect me when I step on the 3 so they've got to guard me," he said. "Down low I try to do the same thing when I post up. Whenever I get the ball I try to make my player guard me so the court opens."

South Carolina (15-15, 10-7 Southeastern Conference) led for the majority of the night and used a big run in the first part of the second half to pull away for good.

The Gamecocks led by 5 at halftime and had pushed the lead to 52-40 after scoring five straight points, capped by a 3 from Silva, with about 15 minutes left.

Wendell Mitchell made four quick points for the Aggies after that. But South Carolina countered with a 10-1 spurt that extended it to 62-45 with about eight minutes remaining and cruised to the victory. Keyshawn Bryant and Hassani Gravett scored three points each in that stretch and Silva capped it with a dunk.

The Gamecocks made 8 of 10 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 13 3s. It was their second big long-range shooting game against the Aggies this season after they tied a school record by sinking 16 in an 84-77 win on Feb. 16.

Freshman A.J. Lawson led the team with six 3s in that first meeting, but with Lawson out with an ankle injury, Gravett joined Silva with four.

Texas A&M (13-16, 6-11) got 15 points from Mitchell and 14 from Savion Flagg as it lost for the second time in three games.

The Aggies had two players in their starting lineup finish with no points.

"It's hard to beat people when you don't get offensive production from everyone that's playing," Kennedy said.

The Gamecocks had shot just 36.3 percent from the field during their losing streak, but rediscovered their offense against A&M, making 45 percent of their field goals, including shooting 57 percent on 3s.

Gravett added 17 points with eight assists for South Carolina and Bryant finished with 15 points.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: The Gamecocks got back on track offensively after three tough games, but will need to keep it up if they hope to make any noise in the SEC tournament next week.

Texas A&M: The Aggies managed to play well enough to hand Vanderbilt its 17th straight loss on Saturday, but they'll have to play much better if they hope to wrap up this tough regular season on a high note or do anything in the conference tournament.

LAWSON'S HEALTH

Martin said Lawson got the cast removed from his ankle on Monday and that he was doing much better. He said he's been doing intense rehabilitation for the last two days, but he isn't sure when he'll return.

"I think he'll play again this season ... but I don't think it will be Saturday," he said.

THEY SAID IT

Martin on what Silva brings to his team: "With him we always have a chance."

UP NEXT

South Carolina: Hosts Georgia on Saturday to end the regular season.

Texas A&M: Wraps up the regular season at Mississippi State on Saturday.

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Updated March 5, 2019

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