NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Kerbrell Brown tipped in Josh Gonner's missed layup with 1.9 seconds remaining to lift 23rd-ranked South Carolina to its fifth straight victory, 57-55 over Vanderbilt in Southeastern Conference action.
After Mario Moore missed a 3-pointer for Vanderbilt (13-4, 2-4 SEC East), Matt Freije put home the rebound with 9.2 seconds remaining for a 55-55 tie.
The Commodores called a timeout and South Carolina (18-2, 5-1) inbounded the ball to Gonner, who rushed upcourt. Gonner missed his shot, but Brown was there to clean up the miss.
"It is a play that scatters the defense,'' Gamecocks coach Dave Odom said. "In case you do miss the shot, it is a difficult blockout. Kerbrell got his hand on it, and that was the basketball game.''
A desperation shot by Freije was short as time expired, dropping the Commodores to 10-1 at home.
"We had a lot of open looks on shots that we should have taken, and on shots that we took, we just couldn't get them to fall," Freije said.
Gonner scored 17 points and Carlos Powell added 10 and was the only other player to reach double figures for South Carolina, which has won three straight against Vanderbilt and 13 out of 16. Rolando Howell finished with eight points in 25 foul-plagued minutes.
Freije collected 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Vanderbilt, which have lost two straight games. The Commodores fell out of the rankings following Saturday's loss at Arkansas.
"In some aspects this was a great college basketball game, in some other aspects it wasn't," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "Of course, we're very disappointed on the outcome, but we have to congratulate South Carolina."
The physical game featured an ugly fight in the first half when Vanderbilt's Corey Smith exchanged punches with South Carolina's Renaldo Balkman and both players had to be separated before they were ejected. Shortly after, Freije drew a technical for throwing the ball at a Gamecock.
"It was stupid of me to throw that ball at him," Freije said. "I was still emotional from what had happened to Corey, and I reacted badly about it."
The Gamecocks committed 16 turnovers and shot just 38 percent (21-of-55). But a stiff defensive effort limited the Commodores to 35 percent (17-of-48) shooting.
Vanderbilt was hurt by Smith's loss. Moore was unable to pick up the scoring slack with seven points on 2-of-12 shooting.