**From Staff Reports/Photo by Allen Sharpe
Three days after a dramatic and emotional loss at home to Arkansas, a sluggish South Carolina team struggled on the road, losing to Vanderbilt 71-62.
The No. 21 Gamecocks have now lost three of four games to fall to 20-7 and 10-4 in the SEC. On a day when Kentucky pulled out a close win at Georgia and Florida beat Mississippi State, South Carolina fell to third in the SEC.
South Carolina struggled from the outset, shooting just 42 percent from the floor and making only 1 of 9 3-point attempts.
After struggling in the first half, Vanderbilt (14-13, 7-7 in the SEC), shot 50 percent in the second half and made 9 of 25 3-pointers. The Commodores closed the game on a 24-9 run to put the game away.
Senior Sindarius Thornwell had another strong game, leading the Gamecocks with 21 points. It was his fourth straight game with more than 20 points. PJ Dozier added 15 points and Chris Silva had 14.
The two teams plodded through a slow, physical first half. Thornwell scored 10 straight points late in the half to put South Carolina up 24-20 with 4:31 left in the half. Vanderbilt rallied to take the lead but the Gamecocks answered with a 6-0 run to lead 30-27 at the half.
Vanderbilt opened the second half with a 13-6 run to take a 40-36 lead on a pair of 3-pointers by Riley LeChance.
The Gamecocks rallied behind six points by Silva to take 49-46 lead and got strong play from its bench to pull ahead 53-47 with 9:40 left in the game.
The Commodores stormed back, however, and used another 3 by LeChance to take a 64-58 lead with 3:14 remaining. Vanderbilt then put the game away from the free throw line. Matthew Fisher-Davis led Vanderbilt with 17 points. LeChance added 14.
The Gamecocks travel to Florida for a huge SEC game on Tuesday.