South Carolina (4-3) dropped a hard-fought battle with Northern Iowa (7-1), 78-72, in the consolation game of the Cancun Challenge on Wednesday night.
Four Gamecocks scored in double figures led by AJ Lawson, who scored 20 points.
The Panthers went on a 10-2 run to take control late, but Carolina clawed back and pulled within two, 72-20, with 1:01 left. UNI's AJ Green iced the game at the free throw line down the stretch. He finished with a game-high 26 points and was 10-for-10 at the line.
It was a back-and-forth contest for much of the night with 12 lead changes and 11 ties. The Panthers led by seven at the half, but the Gamecocks began the final 20 minutes on a 10-2 run to tighten the game back up.
The Panthers were lights out at the free throw line, going 20-for-24 (83 percent) in the game and 14-for-17 in the second half.
Senior Maik Kotsar (12), sophomore Alanzo Frink (12) and redshirt junior Jair Bolden (11) joined Lawson in double figures. Kotsar has scored 10 or more in four straight games.
The Gamecocks shot well overall, finishing the game an even 50 percent from the field (30-for-60).
South Carolina returns to Columbia to host George Washington on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The contest will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and the Gamecock Radio Network.