COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Sindarius Thornwell scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half and Duane Notice hit a foul shot with 3:11 left that put South Carolina ahead for good in a 63-57 victory over Mississippi State on Tuesday night.

Notice added his only basket, a 3-pointer with 2:12 to go, that extended the lead for the Gamecocks (22-8, 12-5 SEC) who won the second-most Southeastern Conference games in their history and clinched one of the top four seeds for next week's league tournament.

Not that it was easy.

Mississippi State (14-15, 5-12), playing without injured leading scorer Quinndary Weatherspoon, erased a 10-point deficit midway through the half and took a 52-50 lead on Tyson Carter's 3-pointer with 4:29 to go. But Thornwell tied things up with two foul shots before Notice's go-ahead free throw. Mario Kegler had 12 points and Carter 11 to lead the Bulldogs.

Chris Silva had 15 points and 11 rebounds for South Carolina, his third double-double game this season.