COLUMBIA, Mo. — Frank Martin wanted to talk about anything but free throws.
“I ain't going there,” he said after South Carolina squandered a 13-point second-half lead in a 71-65 loss at No. 22 Missouri on Tuesday night.
“You ask me to talk about the economy, I'll give you whatever you want. I'll give you my opinions on whatever.
“Don't make me go there because it won't be good for me, my school. Definitely my wife will be (angry) at me because you know what comes after I go there.”
Missouri was 28 of 36 from the free-throw line overcoming 33- percent shooting and a dismal 5-for-27 showing from 3-point range, while the Gamecocks were 11 for 17 at the line.
“We committed some over-the-backs and some hand checks that we can't commit,” Martin said. “Those are bad fouls. I thought both teams were going at it at the rim,” Martin said before pausing. “I'm not going to go there because I'm probably not going to wake up really happy tomorrow if I go there. I don't know what to tell you. They came at us. We went at them.”
Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown hit key 3-pointers in the final 1:11 to help secure the victory for the Tigers. Ross had a career-best 21 points and Brown had 17 for Missouri (14-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), which is 11-0 at home this season and has won 12 straight at the Mizzou Arena since losing to Kansas State and Martin, now in his first year at South Carolina, on Feb. 21, 2012.
Paid attendance of 11,830 was more than 3,000 shy of capacity, but Martin thought the crowd was a major factor. Martin, who's 6-5 against Missouri but just 1-5 on the road, said that's always been the case.
Missouri is 26-1 at home the last two seasons under Haith. The lone loss is to Martin and the Wildcats.
“It's a hard, hard place to win,” Martin said. “The record here is just ridiculous.”
Brenton Williams had 16 points with four 3-pointers for South Carolina (11-7, 1-4), which has lost four conference games by a combined 18 points and faced its first ranked opponent of the season.
RJ Slawson added 10 points for the Gamecocks, who shot 37 percent.
Ross' 3-pointer made it 66-63 with 1:11 to go and Brown's 3-pointer made it 69-65 with 14 seconds left.
“When we had the 13 point lead, we went on a little stretch between the 16 and 12 minute mark where we didn't execute offense very well and the crowd started get into it and we started to sort of take bad shots out of our offense,” Williams said. “They started making runs on fast breaks on the other end.”