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Gamecocks look to bounce back after tough loss in New YorkGamecock basketball
December 01, 2017
GCF Staff Report
South Carolina vs UMass
GAME INFO Date: Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 Tipoff: 2 p.m. Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Broadcast: SEC Network+ Tickets: GamecocksOnline.com/1Hassani Gravett and Frank Booker before UMass
The South Carolina basketball team is in the midst of a funky six-day stretch that began in Miami, moved to New York and will end in Columbia.
The run of three games in six days began on Monday with a 78-61 win at Florida International. At Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, South Carolina fell to Temple, 76-60.
On the heels of that 9 o’clock tip in New York, it’s another short turnaround for South Carolina (5-2) when UMass (3-4) shows up to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday for a 2 o’clock tip on SEC Network Plus.
“I’m not going to lie,” senior guard Frank Booker said. “[Saturday], we’re going to see what kind of team we are, how we bounce back. … Now that we’ve lost and we’ve been on the road, things like that, are we going to fold? Are we going to have excuses? Are we going to be tired?
“Or are we going to buckle down and actually be ready for the next game and not have any excuses?”
It’s a similar test to last month’s, which followed a disappointing loss to Illinois State in the opening round of the Puerto Rico tipoff in Myrtle Beach, S.C. South Carolina bounced back a day later with an 80-56 win over UTEP, before closing out the tournament two days later with a second win over Western Michigan.
Booker believes the end of this current stretch could send the Gamecocks in either direction.
“It can really help us or it can hurt us,” he said. “It can help us in a way where we can come together. We talk about where we messed up at and where we can learn from. Or we can sit and we can play the blame game.”
Booker, a senior graduate transfer from FAU and Oklahoma, is counted among the group of leaders that’s trying to keep things on the right track. Junior forward Chris Silva, junior guard Hassani Gravett and sophomore forward Maik Kotsar, the three returning players from last season’s Final Four squad, also have a say in keeping the blame game out of the picture.
“That’s a virus. We don’t want that,” Booker said, “So as of [Thursday] night, we talked to each other. We made sure everybody let [Thursday] night go and just go from here.”
- After playing six of its first seven games away from home, South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena to host three-straight non-conference matchups, beginning with Saturday’s game vs. UMass.
- Saturday’s game is Carolina’s first at home since Nov. 13.
- South Carolina suffered a 76-60 defeat to Temple at the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. It marked Carolina’s first game at the venue since posting Sweet 16 and Elite Eight wins over Baylor and Florida, respectively, last March.
- Rookie guard David Beatty hit double-figures for the first time in his Gamecock career with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field vs. Temple. Beatty is averaging 5.0 points per game this season.
- Dating back to the 2015-16 campaign, South Carolina is 32-6 in games played at Colonial Life Arena.
- South Carolina looks to rebound on Saturday vs. UMass after suffering a 76-60 loss to Temple on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in the Under Armour Reunion.
- South Carolina struggled offensively in the matchup vs. the Owls, hitting just 37.9 percent from the field - its second-lowest mark of the season - and just 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.
- Rookie guard David Beatty hit 6-of-11 attempts from the floor for his first-career double-figure scoring game vs. Temple.
- Silva struggled offensively, hitting just 2-of-10 attempts from the floor, but he pulled down a team high nine rebounds and continues to lead the Gamecocks with 8.1 rebounds per game this season, which ranks fifth in the SEC (games through Nov. 30).
- Rookie guard Justin Minaya continues to have a solid start to his career in the Garnet and Black. He scored 11 points with two steals and seven rebounds vs. Temple. For the year, he is averaging 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
- UMass enters Saturday’s matchup with a 3-4 overall record, but the Minutemen have lost three-straight, including a 68-66 decision to Quinnipiac on Wednesday.
- UMass is led by head coach Matt McCall in his first season. He was previously the head coach at UT- Chattanooga, and was an assistant at his alma mater, Florida.
- Sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins leads the squad with 17.3 points per game this season, but he struggled vs. Quinnipiac, hitting just 2-of-13 attempts from the field.
- Junior center Rashaan Holloway is also in double-figures on the year, posting 10.7 per game. He had 14 with seven rebounds in UMass’ last outing.
- UMass has wins this season over UMass Lowell, Niagara and Western Carolina. Its other losses came to Harvard in OT, Minnesota and BYU.
- South Carolina and UMass have met just once, a game that saw the Minutemen claim an 84-66 victory in the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield on Dec. 29, 1992.
- Former UTEP and Auburn head coach Tony Barbee led UMass in that game, hitting 11-of-13 attempts from the floor, and posting a game high 31 points with seven rebounds.
- Jamie Watson led Carolina in the game with 13 points.
- South Carolina continues its homestand when Wyoming visits Columbia for a 7 p.m. ET matchup on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards played for Gamecock head coach Frank Martin at Miami Senior High, and he is also the brother of Gamecock staff member Doug Edwards. The contest will be broadcast on SEC Network+.