By WILLIE T. SMITH III
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Chris Silva scored a career-high 27 points and had eight rebounds and South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 71-60 on Saturday for its first Southeastern Conference win of the season.
The Gamecocks (10-5, 1-2) entered with back-to-back losses to Mississippi and Missouri. Vanderbilt, which fell to 6-9 overall, is 1-2 in SEC play.
South Carolina outscored the Commodores by 13 after halftime, thanks mostly to Silva and guard Wesley Myers, who scored all of his 17 points in the second half.
Vanderbilt, which led 28-26 at halftime, closed to 48-45 on Jeff Roberson's free throws with 8:21 to play, but Silva made five straight free throws and the Gamecocks began to pull away, finishing with 10 free throws in the final 58 seconds.
It was a cold-shooting affair from the get-go. The Commodores made just 8 of 23 first-half field goals to South Carolina's 10 of 28. The teams combined for more fouls (20) than made field goals (18) in the opening 20 minutes.
Saben Lee scored 17 points, Matthew Fisher-Davis added 12 and blocked four shots, and Djery Baptiste scored 10 points with three steals for Vanderbilt.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks badly needed a win after dropping its initial two SEC games. With back-to-back road games against Alabama and Georgia up next, the team was in danger of dropping out of the league race early.
Vanderbilt: The loss was disappointing for a Vanderbilt squad that has struggled throughout the season but hoped to build on a win against Alabama in its last game.
Vanderbilt hosts nationally ranked Tennessee on Tuesday.
South Carolina travels to Alabama Tuesday.
© 2018 Associated Press