COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Danuel House tied his career high with 25 points off seven 3-pointers to lead Texas A&M a step closer to the NCAA tournament with a 62-52 victory at South Carolina on Saturday.
House was 7-of-11 from long distance as the Aggies (19-7, 10-4 Southeastern Conference) reached 10 SEC victories for the first time since entering the league three seasons ago. Their overall victories are the most in coach Billy Kennedy’s four seasons and get their first chance to reach 20 wins — Texas A&M hadn’t accomplished that since going 24-9 in 2010-11, also the date of its last NCAA appearance — when they face No. 18 Arkansas on Tuesday night.
South Carolina (13-13, 4-10) cut Texas A&M’s 13-point lead to five twice in the second half, but could get no closer.
Michael Carrera led the Gamecocks with 17 points.
Jalen Jones added 12 points for the Aggies.
House had 17 of his points in the first half. He struggled to find his shot after the break, but came up big at the right times.
The Gamecocks whittled the lead down to 41-36 on Duane Notice’s jumper with 9:21 left. Then House drilled a 3 from the right corner. South Carolina was again within five points, 47-42, on Sindarius Thornwell’s 3 with 5:26 left. And again House answered with a long-distance shot to restore the lead.
House tied the career high in points he accomplished in Texas A&M’s 70-64, double overtime loss to Kentucky on Jan. 10.
Texas A&M won its third straight and fourth in its past five games.
The Gamecocks had come off a win at Georgia last Tuesday night and had hoped to win consecutive games since its seven-game victory streak ended with the start of SEC play.
It was House and the Aggies who struck fast and often from long range.
House, the Houston transfer, hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points as Texas A&M opened a 12-2 lead less than seven minutes in.
After the Gamecocks cut things to 14-11, the Aggies were at it again with House, Alex Caruso and Peyton Allen each making long-distance baskets.
House added two more 3s in the last 90 seconds to send Texas A&M up 34-21 at the break.
The Aggies had 10 baskets the first 20 minutes, eight of them from behind the arc.
While Texas A&M soared, the Gamecocks floundered from the field as they shot just 29 percent.
South Carolina’s leading scorer on the season, Thornwell, picked up two early fouls and played less than three minutes of the opening half.
The Gamecocks had just nine active players with guard Marcus Stroman out again with a throat infection and Demetrius Henry and Shamiek Sheppard suspended for the remainder of the regular season.