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 COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF "2019" GAMECOCK FOOTBALL

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  1. ESPN, NCAA.com list Gamecocks right on the edge of tournament field February 22, 2019 Time to put South Carolina on the bubble. At least that’s what a couple “bracketologists” are saying. A day after NCAA.com’s Andy Katz did it, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Gamecocks (14-12, 9-4 SEC) on the edge of making the NCAA Tournament. Katz listed USC on Thursday among his “first four out” for the Big Dance. Lunardi on Friday has the Gamecocks among his first eight out. Carolina has five games left in the regular season, including Saturday’s trip to Mississippi State (19-7, 7-6.) The Gamecocks, after topping Ole Miss on Tuesday, hold a one-game lead for fourth place in the SEC standings. “Let me just throw a number out there,” Frank Martin said Tuesday. “(If a team wins) 12 league games in the SEC and doesn’t get in the NCAA tournament, I think that would be a travesty. I think that would be as sad as sad can be.” KenPom.com gives Carolina at least a 40 percent chance to win four of its final five league games before the SEC tournament in Nashville. USC’s only SEC losses have come against Tennessee (twice), Kentucky and LSU, all teams ranked in the top 13 of this week’s AP Poll. “If they can get to the (NCAA) tournament,” said Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said, “they sure can win games in the tournament.” A Big Dance trip would be Carolina’s second in three years.
  2. WBB GAMECOCK-GAMEDAY THREAD: ***South Carolina vs. Kentucky ***February 21, 2019 -7:00 p.m.*** Who: No. 13 South Carolina (19-6, 11-1 SEC) vs. No. 16 Kentucky (21-5 8-4 SEC) When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 Where: Colonial Life Arena Watch: SEC Network RADIO: 1320 AM IN COLUMBIA AREA SERIES HISTORY: SOUTH CAROLINA TRAILS KENTUCKY IN THE ALL-TIME SERIES, 31-33, BUT HAS WON NINE IN A ROW AGAINST THE WILDCATS AND HAS NOT LOST TO UK AT HOME SINCE JANUARY 2012. LAST MEETING: EARLIER THIS SEASON, SOUTH CAROLINA TRAVELED TO LEXINGTON AND OVERCAME A SLUGGISH START AND SLOPPY FINISH TO BEAT KENTUCKY, 74-70. ALEXIS JENNINGS LED THE GAMECOCKS WITH 18 POINTS AND 12 REBOUNDS. Projections: South Carolina is favored by 1 point by basketball bracketologist Warren Nolan, 4.5 points by Massey Ratings. South Carolina projected starting lineup: Junior guard Tyasha Harris, redshirt junior guard Te’a Cooper, redshirt senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore, redshirt senior forward Alexis Jennings, junior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan Kentucky projected starting lineup: Senior guard Maci Morris, senior guard Taylor Murray, freshman guard Rhyne Howard, sophomore forward Tatyana Wyatt, sophomore forward KeKe McKinney STORYLINES Lessons from last time: When the Gamecocks and Wildcats faced off on Jan. 31, South Carolina led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter and seemed well on its way to a statement win before Kentucky mounted a furious 24-11 run to end the game, closing to within three points in the final seconds and giving USC a bit of a scare. What particularly concerned coach Dawn Staley after the game were the three turnovers Carolina committed in the final 1:02 of the game, giving Kentucky life when the final result should have been settled. Looking ahead to Thursday’s game, however, Staley expressed confidence that those issues won’t repeat themselves. “That’s really uncharacteristic of us, so hopefully it doesn’t rear its ugly head again,” Staley said. “I think we’re at a good place. They’re locked in. We got players, we can go 12, 13 deep with a team like this and hopefully we’ll find somebody on the bench that’s going to be able to execute.” That sentiment was seconded by redshirt senior forward Alexis Jennings. “I felt like we could have done a better job of boxing out. Late in the game, they got some key rebounds, they cut the lead and they got them pretty close, but we’ve capitalized on that and we’ve had two great days of preparation, so I feel like we’re going to do really well going into the game,” Jennings said. Post play vs. guards: South Carolina has built a reputation as a guard-oriented team this season, using three point guards in its starting five. But Kentucky is one of the few teams in the SEC against which the Gamecocks are better served focusing on their forwards, especially on offense, Staley said. “That is our advantage, to play in the paint, pound it in there, see if they can stop us. They do have some really good guards that put us back on our heels and they can knock down 3-point shots, so they can spread you out,” Staley said. Chief among those guards for Kentucky is freshman Rhyne Howard, who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. Containing her was an emphasis in the teams’ first meeting, and it will be so again on Thursday. “I thought we had her under control for the most part, and then towards the end of the game, she hit some big shots for them,” Staley said of the first matchup. “She was just who we saw on film.” For South Carolina, Jennings will be relied upon to keep up her strong play of late — against UK on Jan. 31, she had 18 points, and this past Sunday against Florida, she had a season-high 22 points. Of her last eight games, she’s scored in double figures in seven. “I’m feeling really comfortable. My teammates are finding me in good positions, and when they put me in good positions I’m able to do good things, so I’m very grateful for that,” Jennings said. At the other forward position for USC, junior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan has regressed slightly after putting up eight double-digit scoring performances in a row earlier this year. Over her last five games, she’s averaged 6.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game, all below her season average. “Just emotionally, she’s been inconsistent with how she’s been able to let things roll off her back and continue to play,” Staley said. “I think she’s feeling a little bit of pressure to perform. And you want that, you don’t want her to lie down and die. She wants to do something about it, and she gets pretty frustrated when she’s not able to hit shots like she normally does. But I think there’s other areas in the game in which she can be productive — rebounding and defending. She’s making a concerted effort to do that in practice at least.” Postseason positioning: USC is locked into a top-four spot in the SEC standings, guaranteeing Staley’s team a double-bye in the conference tourney. Defeating Kentucky would ensure the Gamecocks could finish no worse than second in the league. It would also give South Carolina a pair of wins against the same ranked opponent and bolster the team’s momentum heading into a final stretch in which it is trying to secure a top-16 hosting seed and favorable regional in the NCAA tournament. “I like to play teams that have a high RPI, that’s a tournament team. I like to play them twice because they can boost your schedule,” Staley said of playing Kentucky again. “They can boost your RPI, they can make your profile, your resume look a lot better than if you played somebody that’s not a winning basketball team.”
  3. I’m thinking a 4-1 finish and a tourney win does the trick. Anything less and I’m not very confident
  4. South Carolina signee Trae Hannibal scores 62 in final high school game February 21, 2019 .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%} Trae Hannibal’s final high school game was one for the record books. The Hartsville senior and South Carolina signee went for school-record 62 points but it still wasn’t enough as the Red Foxes lost to Wilson, 97-92 in overtime in Class 4A Lower State semifinals on Wednesday. Hannibal also grabbed 20 rebounds in the game, which was moved to Wednesday after the backboard was broken during warmups Tuesday. Hannibal’s 62 points are fifth most in a baskrtball game in South Carolina High School League history. Midway’s Kenneth Robinson holds the state record with 108 points in a game back in 1961. Hannibal’s point total is the most in a SC High School game since former Gamecock Devan Downey scored 67 in 2005. Former Gamecock Larry Davis has the state’s fourth-highest single-game total with 64 points in 1991. Hannibal, the Class 4A co-Player of the Year, finished his career with 1,552 points.
  5. Gamecocks have three players worthy of SEC awards February 20, 2019 It was noted here after the Texas A&M win that Chris Silva is thriving at an SEC Player of the Year level. Such candidacy only grew stronger after 18 more points and three more blocks against Ole Miss. “Silva just kind of had his way in that stretch run,” said Rebels coach Kermit Davis. Silva is now averaging 16 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks an SEC game while shooting 57 percent from the field. Martin on Tuesday didn’t stop with his senior forward when discussing Gamecocks worthy of postseason hardware. He threw Hassani Gravett and A.J. Lawson into the mix. “How’s Chris not in the conversation for Player of the Year?” Martin asked. “How’s A.J. not in the conversation for Freshman of the Year? How’s Hassani not in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year? “I’m not going to sit here and brag because we got games left. Like I tell you guys, I’m not into bragging. Because as soon as you start bragging, somebody knocks you down and then you look like a fool. But we are in fourth place with five (games) to go. We’re in fourth place, we’re not in 11th place. We’ve overcome all the adversity early in the year. And those three guys, individually, are playing as well as anybody for those awards. “Any individual credit those guys eventually get, they deserve.” When Gravett was on the floor against Ole Miss, the Gamecocks outscored the Rebels by 27 points. The ace reserve finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. In conference games only, Gravett leads the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (49.3). USC is now 8-1 in SEC play when Gravett scores 10 or more points. Lawson on Tuesday had his fourth game with at least 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. “He looks the part on tape,” Davis said. “He’s even more competitive in person. He’s so athletic. He’s downhill, he’s tough-minded. He’s gonna be an All-SEC player, probably make an All-SEC freshman team, for sure.”
  6. South Carolina an NCAA Tournament team? Frank Martin, Kermit Davis make the case February 20, 2019 Of the NCAA Tournament field Joe Lunardi projected and posted to ESPN.com on Tuesday morning, South Carolina has wins over five of those 68 teams. The latest came Tuesday evening when the Gamecocks rallied past Ole Miss 79-64 at Colonial Life Arena. “South Carolina’s got a really good team,” said Rebels coach Kermit Davis. “They looked like an NCAA Tournament team tonight, for sure.” For sure? Perhaps he’s got a point. USC, with a 9-4 record, is now into sole possession of fourth place in the SEC standings. That normally fits the profile for an at-large bid to the Big Dance. But then there’s the overall record (13-12 when you don’t include the Dec. 31 win over Division II’s North Greenville), something that doesn’t scream for a ticket to March Madness. Critics will nod to losses to Stony Brook (NET ranking: 151) and Wyoming (317) as reasons why Carolina shouldn’t yet be included in NCAA Tournament discussion. (Neither Lunardi nor CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm even list the Gamecocks on the bubble.) When presented a platform to discuss his team’s postseason chances Tuesday, USC coach Frank Martin first hesitated and noted the Gamecocks’ next game — “I’m on to Mississippi State, man” — but then came around. Sure, South Carolina didn’t perform well in November and December, but it wasn’t always at full strength. Home losses to national power Virginia and rival Clemson came without Maik Kotsar. The 20-point loss to Wofford came a day after Justin Minaya’s injury. Keyshawn Bryant, Minaya’s replacement, played that game with protective goggles to help with headaches. “Why don’t people give us credit, like they give other people, when their good players are hurt?” Martin asked. “But no one picked us to be where we’re at, so no one’s gonna give us credit for the other stuff. “Meaning, when you play Virginia and Clemson and your starting power forward is out. When you play Wofford and your starting small forward tears his knee 10 minutes to go (in practice) the day before the game and his backup hadn’t practiced in three days with headaches and has to play with sunglasses. No one ever says anything about that. They just say, ‘Yeah, they stunk. That’s why they lose. They don’t belong.’ “We had a bad game at Wyoming. I wish I could give you an example or a reason for why we played bad that day. We had a bad game there. But all those other games, we had adversity.” South Carolina missed the Big Dance in 2015-16 despite 24 regular season wins. Those Gamecocks went 11-7 in the SEC. These Gamecocks, starting with a trip to Starkville on Saturday to face the Bulldogs (18-7, 6-6), have five opportunities left. “Let me just throw a number out there,” Martin said. “(If a team wins) 12 league games in the SEC and doesn’t get in the NCAA Tournament, I think that would be a travesty. I think that would be as sad as sad can be.” KenPom.com gives Carolina at least a 41 percent chance to win four of its final five league games before the SEC Tournament in Nashville. USC’s only SEC losses have come against Tennessee (twice), Kentucky and LSU, all teams ranked in the top 13 of this week’s AP Poll. It’s beaten Auburn (projected No. 8 seed by Lunardi), Florida (No. 12), Mississippi State (No. 7), Norfolk State (No. 16) and the Rebels (No. 8). “If they can get to the (NCAA) tournament,” Davis said, “they sure can win games in the tournament.” A Big Dance trip would be Carolina’s second in three years. “That’s our goal,” said senior forward Chris Silva. “We’re trying to get there. It’s just going to take everybody, everybody on the same page. We want to get there. So everybody’s working. We’re hoping we make it there.
  7. Another SEC game, another big rally for Gamecocks in crucial win over Ole Miss February 19, 2019 THE STATE Frank Martin says it ages him. The way South Carolina digs itself an early hole before waking up and rallying past an SEC opponent, that recent trend isn’t making the Gamecocks’ 52-year-old coach any younger. His hair thins. His voice grows more hoarse. USC was at it again Tuesday against Ole Miss. Instead of putting an end to their maddening ways and rolling the Rebels from the opening tip, the Gamecocks played to the narrative. They couldn’t crack the lid on the basket on one end and allowed everything to swish on the other. Coveted fourth place in the SEC was on the line and to get in an 11-point deficit less than four minutes wasn’t ideal. But, remember, this is how Carolina rolls in 2019. If you were nervous, you aren’t paying attention. The Gamecocks beat the Rebels, 79-64. Chris Silva scored 18 points, Hassani Gravett added 15 and Martin aged several more years. USC (14-12, 9-4) moved a game ahead of Ole Miss (18-8, 8-5) for No. 4 in the league standings. The victory is Carolina’s fifth this SEC season after being down double-digits. A 16-0 run was a difference-maker in the first half. In the second, it was a 9-0 sprint. Ole Miss, down by as many as 11 in the second half, rallied to tie it at 61 with 6:15 left. But USC led 70-61 less than three minutes later. USC was again prolific from beyond the arc, hitting 47 percent of their 3-pointers. When the Rebels threatened late, it was a 3 from Gravett that helped seal things. Lawson finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Ole Miss made its first five field goal attempts en route to building a 13-2 lead. But then the Rebels went cold, allowing the Gamecocks to creep back. USC forced a scoring drought of around eight minutes as took advantage on the other end. A transition Hassani Gravett 3-pointer cut the deficit to three. An Alanzo Frinl layup cut it to one. A top-of-the key Silva put the Gamecocks on top with at the 9:15 mark. Over the final 16 minutes of the half, Carolina outscored Ole Miss, 38-19. Nothing from the furious rally got the Colonial Life Arena crowd going more than a two-handed put-back slam from Lawson that gave USC a 27-20 lead with 5:39 left. South Carolina led 40-32 at halftime. NEXT GAME Who: South Carolina at Mississippi State When: 6 p.m. Feb. 23 Where: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi TV: SEC Network
  8. With coveted SEC seed on line vs. Ole Miss, Frank Martin has a message for home fans February 19, 2019 KenPom prediction: Ole Miss 78, South Carolina 75 1. Coveted No. 4 seed on the line Tennessee-LSU aside, this is the SEC’s most important game this week. South Carolina and Ole Miss enter tied for fourth place in the league standings, a game ahead of four teams. The winner here takes a significant step in securing a double-bye at next month’s SEC Tournament. “I’m real proud of them,” Frank Martin said of the Gamecocks, “and I hope our fans are, too. And I hope they show up because we need them. We’re getting to that point of the season where every game gets really hard. Our kids need all the help we can get right now.” 2. A chance for hot shooting to continue USC has made 58 percent (40 of 69) of its 3-pointers over the last three games. It’s not something Martin wants to rely on for wins, but the Gamecocks have a good chance to keep the perimeter success going against Ole Miss. The Rebels are last in the SEC in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to make 36.8 percent of their attempts. USC is 8-3 this season when shooting 36 percent or better from beyond the arc. “We’re not as bad or not as good,” Martin said. “I mean, we’re not a 60 percent 3-point shooting team. That’s not who we are. But we’ve learned to take good shots, we’ve learned to play inside-out.” 3. Shuler’s homecoming Irmo’s Devontae Shuler is Ole Miss’ third leading scorer, first in steals and is second on the Rebels in assists and 3-point field goal percentage. The sophomore guard, who attended Irmo High School but graduated from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, picked Ole Miss over USC, among others, in October 2016. “I recruited him real hard,” Martin said. “I’m a big fan of Devontae. His sister, Donnella, and I stay in touch to this day. I’d rather him speak about his recruitment. I don’t think it’s my place to be speaking about guys who don’t sign with us. “But I’m a big fan of Devontae. Always have been, always will be. He’s a great kid.” OLE MISS Coach: Kermit Davis (421-245 in 21 seasons overall; first season at Ole Miss — 18-7) Projected starters: G Devontae Shuler (9.7 points per game), G Breein Tyree (18.4), G Terence Davis (15.6), F Blake Hinson (8.7), C Dominick Olejniczak (5.8) Last game: Beat Missouri 75-66 on Saturday at home KenPom ranking: 34 (No. 29 in offense efficiency, No. 51 in defense efficiency) NET: 33 Notes: Hinson, a former top 150 recruit, is the younger brother of now ex-Gamecock basketball player Evan Hinson. ... After four straight losses from Jan. 22-Feb. 2, the Rebels have rebounded to win four straight, most notably a 60-55 result at Auburn on Feb. 13. ... Tyree is second in the SEC in scoring during conference games, averaging 19.2 points per game. SOUTH CAROLINA Coach: Frank Martin (243-156 in 12 seasons overall; seventh season at USC — 126-102) Projected starters: G Tre Campbell (7.1), G A.J. Lawson (13.8), F Keyshawn Bryant (8.8), F Chris Silva (14.2), F Maik Kotsar (7.4) Last game: Beat Texas A&M 84-77 on Saturday at home KenPom ranking: 93 (No. 92 in offense efficiency, No. 119 in defense efficiency) NET: 95 Notes: The Gamecocks have scored 80 or more points 10 times this season, already matching what they did over 37 games in 2016-17. They’re 9-1 when hitting such a benchmark. ... In conference games, South Carolina leads the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage, but is next-to-last in free throw percentage. ... Silva hasn’t committed four or more fouls in three straight games, the best stretch of his season.
  9. FeatheredCock

    Chris Silva Career

    Chris Silva stats Points: 1,378, needs to score 128 more points to get into all-time top 10. That's 18.2 ppg assuming worst. The Gamecocks only play one game in SEC tournament Rebounds: 821, currently ranks 6th all time. Would be tough to crack top 5 as he would need 179 more and that would require an average of 25 rpg. Blocks: 175, currently ranks 6th all time. Would need 51 more to crack 5th all time. 7.2 bpg Free Throws Made: 536, currently ranks 5th all time. Would need 32 more makes to reach 4th all time. 4.5 made FTs per game. This is doable. All in all, he has had a great career. SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year All-SEC First Team SEC All-Defensive Team Key Member of a Final Four run 17 pt, 10 rebounds against Duke as a sophomore 13 pt, 9 rebounds against Florida to get to Final Four
  10. The recent USC basketball trend that’s become symbolic of the Gamecocks’ season February 19, 2019 THE STATE Frank Martin will turn 53 next month. It’s just that this South Carolina basketball season has him convinced he’s approaching his 70s. The Gamecocks’ rally past Texas A&M on Saturday was their fourth SEC win in which they’ve come back from a double-digit deficit. “I’d rather us not be down 13, 14,” Martin said Monday. “That accelerates the aging process a lot. But it’s a fun ride.” USC hosts Ole Miss on Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena with the winner moving into sole possession of fourth place in the SEC standings. The Gamecocks (13-12, 8-4 SEC) and Rebels (18-7, 8-4) are both surprises to have such an opportunity. Ole Miss, under first-year coach Kermit Davis, was picked in the preseason to finish last in the league. Had media members had a chance to resubmit that poll around Christmas, it’s likely the Gamecocks would be pegged to land in the SEC cellar. But that narrative started to change when Felipe Haase threw that baseball pass to Chris Silvaand South Carolina shocked the Gators in Gainesville. Silva’s dunk with 2.5 seconds left proved the Gamecocks were better than their 5-7 non-conference record, but also that they could never be counted out of a game. Florida seemingly had a stranglehold of USC that evening, leading by 14 with 11 minutes left. Carolina has since rallied for similar victories against Vanderbilt (down 12 with 13:51 left), Arkansas (down 13 with 15:37 left) and A&M (down 10 with 19:48 left). “That’s one of the things that makes me proud of these kids,” Martin said, “because if you actually look at those games, it’s kind of a microcosm of our season. Like, things didn’t go our way for numerous things back in the first part of the year. We’ve lost games, we’ve had injuries and lineups have changed, Jermaine’s (Couisnard) situation. It’s just been one thing after another. “And for whatever reason, they keep coming back. They don’t go away. They don’t ever sit down and say, ‘Man, we just can’t get this done.’ And it’s the same way in games.” Silva closed the Arkansas win by scoring eight of USC’s final 14 points. He made all four of his free throw attempts in the final minute of the A&M win. “We had to learn to play the full game, 40 minutes,” Silva said. “So it doesn’t matter how much time is left on the clock, those guys just keep playing. If we’re down five or down 10 or whatever, we want to play until the clock runs out.” GAMECOCK REUNION According to his social media posts, Sindarius Thornwell was hosting a party in Charlotte late Saturday afternoon in connection with the NBA All-Star Game. Perhaps that’s why Silva sprinted to see the former Gamecock standout following the Texas A&M win. “Sin, when he’s here, he’s just like in and out,” Silva said. “You really can’t get a hold of him.” Thornwell, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, and Dozier (Boston Celtics) were among the 13,473 at CLA to see USC’s sixth home victory in seven tries. “It’s good to see them come back,” Silva said. “We got like a brand-new amazing locker room and for the young guys to see those people that made it possible for these locker rooms to change and become whatever it is right now, it’s important. They need to learn that when they’re seniors, they got to do something like that where freshmen are coming in and know that OK, the program is at this level because of what they did before.” AN EARLY VISITOR Martin had good reason for being a few minutes late to his Monday news conference. “There was someone I can’t speak about on campus that I didn’t expect until later in the day,” Martin said. “And we’re just sitting there talking and I looked at my phone ... I apologize about that.” Cliff Omoruyi, a four-star center in the 2020 recruiting class, was at South Carolina for an unofficial visit. Omoruyi is rated by Rivals as the nation’s No. 56 player and by 247Sports as No. 59. The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder attends Roselle Catholic in New Jersey, the same school that produced Silva and Alanzo Frink.
  11. Gamecocks historic day from three-point land spurs comeback victory over A&M February 18, 2019 South Carolina came back from a 13 point deficit to beat Texas A&M 84-77 Saturday in Columbia. The Gamecocks had their largest deficit with five minutes to go in the first half and went into the half down by seven. The Aggies held the lead until six minutes into the second half when South Carolina caught fire from beyond the arc. South Carolina tied the program record for most three-pointers made in a game with 16. Chris Silva was the star for the Gamecocks putting up 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Silva also only committed three fouls. Freshman AJ Lawson put up 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He shot lights out from the three-point line, making six out of his seven three-point attempts. He has proven to be the best shooter for the Gamecocks, and has so much more potential. For reference, Sindarius Thornwell shot 38.6 percent in his freshman year while Lawson has shot 41.5 percent. Thornwell wasn’t an exceptional shooter until his senior season. Hassani Gravett also came off the bench to put up 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. He has proven himself to be the perfect sixth man for the Gamecocks. At the beginning of the season, it seemed like the guard position would be the biggest problem, but Lawson and Gravett along with Tre Campbell have showed they can perform at a satisfactory level. South Carolina will return home on Saturday to face Ole Miss in a game that will determine who keeps the fourth spot in the SEC since they are both 8-4 in SEC play.
  12. Historic shooting performance helps Gamecocks rally past Texas A&M February 16, 2019 Gamecock royalty was sitting courtside — and A.J. Lawson knew it. Before the shot pushed through the bottom of the net, he turned to P.J. Dozier. A swish and a smile later, South Carolina had regained momentum. Playing a game they needed to have for the SEC standings, the Gamecocks didn’t make it easy against Texas A&M. But they produced enough big plays to give their fans another come-from-behind win at Colonial Life Arena. USC 84, Texas A&M 77 The Gamecocks used 16 3-pointers — tying a school-record — to move to 8-4 in the SEC and stay in the driver’s seat for a top-four seed at next month’s SEC Tournament. Lawson, looking like someone else who once starred as a young USC player, finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The Gamecocks (13-12 overall) were down by as many as 13 in the first half and 10 in the second. But, like they have many times this SEC season, the Gamecocks were superior when it mattered. The win is USC’s sixth by single digits since Jan 1. Chris Silva had 20 points — including one 3 — and 13 rebounds. Hassani Gravett added 14 — including four 3s. All of Tre Campbell’s 13 points came in the second half. The senior’s 3 at the 13:59 mark of the second half was part of a game-changing 14-3 run. When Lawson splashed a corner 20-footer and showed off for Dozier, the Gamecocks moved ahead by six with 4:22 left. For a second straight Saturday, the Gamecocks dug themselves in a first half hole. Texas A&M, like Arkansas a week earlier, was the aggressor out of the gate. The Aggies entered winners of two straight and jumped out to a 24-12 lead by the 11:03 mark. Wendell Mitchell, who averages 12.5 a game, had 15 points less than 15 minutes in. It was all A&M until Carolina finally woke up via Chris Silva. The senior forward threw down a two-handed slam off a Hassani Gravett lob to cut the lead to 10. A possession later, he drilled a top-of-the key 3. Momentum mostly stayed on Carolina’s side until the Aggies stole it back before the break. A Josh Nebo jumper with 25 seconds left was followed by a Felipe Haase turnover and T.J. Starks layup to give A&M a 42-35 advantage. NEXT GAME Who: Ole Miss at South Carolina When: 7 p.m. Feb 19 Where: Colonial Life Arena TV: SEC Network
  13. It’s a 7-team race. Here’s why USC is best positioned for an SEC No. 4 seed February 15, 2019 If all conference tournaments ended Friday, South Carolina would be a No. 6 seed in the NIT. At least that’s the prediction from dratings.com, one of the few outlets that offers “bracketology” for college basketball’s second-tier postseason event. That wouldn’t be a bad outcome for a Gamecocks team that was 5-7 entering January. USC (12-12, 7-4 SEC) has rallied in conference action and now has a legitimate chance to be playing past the SEC Tournament for a third time in four years. After Carolina’s 85-73 loss at No. 1 Tennessee on Wednesday, the hard part seems over. There’s not a ranked opponent left on USC’s schedule. The Gamecocks host Texas A&M (10-13, 3-8) at 1 p.m. Saturday. “We gotta win out these games,” said senior guard Hassani Gravett. “We got real opportunities in front of us and we look forward to them.” While the Volunteers (11-0), LSU (10-1) and Kentucky (9-2) will fight for the title, there’s another race in the SEC where the Gamecocks sit in a favorable spot. South Carolina enters the weekend tied with Ole Miss for fourth place in the league standings. No. 4 is a coveted position because it means a double-bye in the conference tournament. The Gamecocks and Rebels, though, hold just a one-game lead on Alabama and a two-game lead on Mississippi State, Auburn, Arkansas and Florida. Of that group of seven, USC has the most favorable schedule. The combined SEC record of its final opponents is 28-49. Arkansas has the hardest final stretch of games, facing teams with a combined SEC record of 46-31. Team (SEC record)Combined SEC record of final seven opponents South Carolina (7-4)28-49 Ole Miss (7-4)39-38 Alabama (6-5)35-42 Mississippi State (5-6)35-42 Auburn (5-6)37-40 Arkansas (5-6)46-31 Florida (5-6)39-38 South Carolina has been consistent in beating the SEC opponents it should and falling to the league’s best this season, as all four losses have been to Tennessee, LSU and Kentucky. Should the Gamecocks stick with that pattern, they’re in good shape for this final month. Potential hurdles include three road games — at Mississippi State on Feb. 23, at Missouri on March 2 and at Texas A&M on March 5 — a flip in close game results and overall fatigue. USC, 5-1 in games decided by six points or fewer since Jan. 1, is down to an eight-man rotation after Evan Hinson’s departure. “(Alanzo Frink) and Felipe (Haase) both have to play some more,” Carolina coach Frank Martin, speaking on the impact of Hinson’s decision, told the Gamecock IMG Sports Network on Thursday night. “They both got to be available. And the guy that’s going to have to do more now is Maik Kotsar because that means Maik becomes an option at small forward for us.” Six Gamecocks logged at least 23 minutes Wednesday, including a career-high 39 for Chris Silva. GAME INFO Who: Texas A&M (10-13, 3-8 SEC) at South Carolina (12-12, 7-4) When: 1 p.m. Saturday Where: Colonial Life Arena TV: SEC Network Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area Series: Texas A&M leads 4-3 Last meeting: Feb. 3, 2018 — Texas A&M 83, South Carolina 60 KenPom prediction: South Carolina 75, Texas A&M 71 TEXAS A&M Coach: Billy Kennedy (358-290 in 21 seasons overall; eighth season at Texas A&M — 147-111) Projected starters: G Savion Flagg (11.7 points per game), G Wendell Mitchell (12.5), G Chris Collins (0.8), G Brandon Mahan (6.9), F Christian Mekowulu (8.2) Last game: Beat Georgia 73-56 on Tuesday at home KenPom ranking: 95 (No. 122 in offense efficiency, No. 100 in defense efficiency) NET: 81 SOUTH CAROLINA Coach: Frank Martin (242-156 in 12 seasons overall; seventh season at USC — 125-102) Projected starters: G Tre Campbell (6.8), G A.J. Lawson (13.5), F Keyshawn Bryant (9.2), F Chris Silva (13.9), F Maik Kotsar (7.8) Last game: Lost to No. 1 Tennessee 85-73 on Wednesday in Knoxville KenPom ranking: 93 (No. 97 in offense efficiency, No. 107 in defense efficiency) NET: 97
  14. Gamecocks can’t match Tennessee’s firepower, fall to No. 1 Vols in Knoxville February 13, 2019 They crowded Admiral Schofield into a turnover on one possession, forced an air ball on the next and drew a foul on the next. The South Carolina Gamecocks knew what they were getting into Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. A main reason behind Tennessee’s No. 1 ranking was a roster stacked in offensive riches. The Volunteers, from Schofield on the wing to Grant Williams in the post to Jordan Boone on the perimeter, pose threats from every angle. But let the record state that USC made three consecutive stops Wednesday. It happened over a tiny stretch of the first half that easily gets lost in the Vols’ 85-73 win before an orange-clad crowd of over 20,000. South Carolina (12-12, 7-4 SEC) did a ton of things well Wednesday. It’s just that it needed a near-perfect performance to beat these Vols (23-1, 11-0). They’ve won 19 straight games because they don’t get fazed by a two-minute drought in a 40-minute game. It’s that kind of relentless pursuit that should serve UT well come the postseason. Five different Volunteers scored in double figures as they overcame a dazzling shooting performance by the Gamecocks. South Carolina made a season-best 14 3-pointers, but never were within single digits after the nine-minute mark of the first half. After being stopped three straight times, Tennessee exploded for a 15-3 run that established the game’s tone. The Volunteers over-powered the Gamecocks like they did in the first meeting, but they added new characters. Sixth man Jordan Bowdenm, who was injured for UT’s 92-70 win at Colonial Life Arena, had 16 points. Kyle Alexander, who fouled out in 10 minutes at CLA, had 10. Williams and Schofield, terrors in the first game, combined for 29. South Carolina was led by Tre Campbell’s 19 points. NEXT GAME Who: Texas A&M at South Carolina When: 1 p.m. Saturday Where: Colonial Life Arena TV: SEC Network
  15. Gamecocks signee shows off his athleticism in the paint, ability to block shots and knack for cleaning up at the rim.
  16. USC has a blueprint to challenge No. 1 Tennessee. Can the Gamecocks execute it? February 13, 2019 THE STATE South Carolina on Wednesday will be the third team this season to get a second crack at No. 1 Tennessee. Missouri cut its margin of defeat by 12 points while Florida lost by more in its rematch with the Volunteers. USC coach Frank Martin spent Sunday bunkered in his office with assistant Bruce Shingler. The two watched again the Volunteers’ 92-70 win over the Gamecocks from last month. They’ve translated their notes to a scouting report and the Carolina players have prepared accordingly. So how will it impact the final result in Knoxville? Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) is given at least a 40 percent chance to win the remainder of its regular season games, according to KenPom.com. For Round 2 with USC, the Vols are given a 96 percent chance at victory. There’s a daunting challenge facing the Gamecocks (12-11, 7-3) at Thompson-Boling Arena. But at least there’s no mystery. USC knows exactly what it has to do better to have a shot at a stunning upset. The Jan. 29 experience gave the Gamecocks a blueprint. FINISH STRONG The 22-point loss masks the fact USC was within two with 13 minutes left. “We were locked in,” said Chris Silva. “We just had two mental breakdowns on defense that allowed them to go up.” Down 65-61 at the 10:44 mark, the Volunteers hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to begin their pull-away. It was a finish uncharacteristic of this Carolina team. Take the Tennessee contest out and the Gamecocks have outscored SEC opponents, 197-157, in the final 10 minutes of games. The Vols ended the Jan. 29 contest on a 21-9 run. “The wheels came off,” Martin said. “Missed shot, missed shot, missed shot. They score, score, score. So all of a sudden a four-point game becomes 14. And when it got away from us there, we never did a very good job of fighting to give us a chance coming down the stretch.” HIT JUMP SHOTS, A LOT OF THEM Keyshawn Bryant had 15 points in a half against Arkansas on Saturday. He failed to score against Tennessee. Hassani Gravett averages over two 3-pointers a game in SEC play. He didn’t make one against Tennessee. A.J. Lawson missed four 3s against the Volunteers and Felipe Haase didn’t attempt one. “When we made mistakes on the perimeter and they got open 3s,” Martin said, “they made them. When they made mistakes and we got open 3s, we missed them. “You’re not going to beat the No. 1 team in the country shooting layups. That’s the objective, but you gotta make jump shots. If you remember when we played Virginia, I said, ‘You’re going to beat Virginia, you gotta make 3s.’ If you’re going to beat Tennessee, you’re going to have to make your open perimeter shots. And you don’t have to make 100 percent of them — that would be nice — but you gotta make a good percentage of them.” Vanderbilt, which took the Vols to overtime on Jan. 23, made 10 of 21 of its 3-pointers against Tennessee. HELP A FRESHMAN Silva vs. Grant Williams was the featured matchup in Round 1 that lived up to the hype. Two of the SEC’s best post players put on a show, combining for 51 points and 19 rebounds. But where the Vols established their biggest edge was on the wing. Admiral Schofield (24 points, nine boards) dominated Bryant (no points, one board). The junior’s experience and size (238 pounds to Bryant’s 190) overwhelmed the rookie. Bryant hasn’t gotten much older since the last week of January. He certainly hasn’t gotten any bigger. Can the Gamecocks provide him with more assistance this time around? “It’s not just (Bryant),” Martin said. “It’s everybody that matches up with Schofield. He’s a hard matchup at the 3 for most people. So they understand what we try to do and we gotta fight to defend it a little bit better.” TURN SOMEONE INTO DUANE NOTICE Two years after he was a nonfactor against the Gamecocks in CLA (four points in an 82-55 Tennessee loss), Jordan Bone made his case as the most important player on the floor. UT’s junior was the equivalent of Schofield at point guard. Bone got anywhere he wanted to en route to a 19-point, nine-assist performance. “He got that ball downhill and into the paint way too easy and way too much,” Martin said. “That’s what he does. He came here as a freshman and there’s a guy named Duane Notice, who said ‘You’re not doing that.’ And he couldn’t do it. “He’s continued to get better. He’s fast. Our big guys have to do a better job of helping his matchup to keep him out of the paint.” The Volunteers scored 22 more points in the paint than the Gamecocks. NEXT GAME Who: South Carolina (12-11, 7-3 SEC) at No. 1 Tennessee (22-1, 10-0) When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Where: Thompson-Boling Arena TV: SEC Network
  17. Take Chris Silva out, who do you trust getting a rebound? ‘Potluck,’ Frank Martin says February 12, 2019 THE STATE Shortly before Christmas, in a gym over 1,000 miles away from Colonial Life Arena, Wildens Leveque grabbed 20 rebounds to help Maine’s Gould Academy against Lee Academy. A few days later, eight South Carolina players not named Chris Silva totaled 24 boards in a loss to Clemson. Gould, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound power forward, is signed as part of USC’s 2019 recruiting class. Perhaps he can step in right away and fix a likely issue facing the Gamecocks next season. Perhaps it takes him a while. Frank Martin can’t predict the future. The USC coach only knows what he sees now — a team that relies way too much on a senior to collect missed shots. “If anything kind of picks at my nerves a little bit on a consistent basis,” Martin said, “it’s that.” Silva is eight rebounds shy of becoming the seventh Gamecock in program history with 800 career boards. Such a feat could be achieved Wednesday when Carolina (12-11, 7-3 SEC) faces No. 1 Tennessee (22-1, 10-0) in Knoxville. But what will Maik Kotsar do on the glass against the Volunteers? Felipe Haase? Alanzo Frink? Martin was asked Monday which Gamecock he trusts most to get a rebound, Silva aside. His immediate response: “It’s potluck. ... Pretty much close my eyes and point. Whoever I point at has the same chance of anyone else on the team at getting the next rebound.” Later, he added: “Here I’ll surprise you, A.J. Lawson. He probably rebounds on the defensive end better than anybody but Chris.” Per Sports Reference, Silva leads South Carolina in rebounds per 40 minutes (11.1). No. 2 is the injured Justin Minaya (8.8) followed by Frink (8.2), Kotsar (8.0) and Haase (6.8). Kotsar, a three-year starter next to Silva in the frontcourt, is 6-11, 264 pounds. Yet the junior has fewer defensive rebounds in SEC play than guards Lawson and Hassani Gravett. Haase, a 6-9, 253-pounder, has six fewer than Kotsar. Related: The Gamecocks are No. 301 nationally in defensive rebound percentage, according to KenPom.com. That’s the worst of the Martin era. “That’s been disappointing to me,” Martin said. “Because that’s a desire thing, that’s a pride thing. Rebounding is a desire, it’s a pride thing. “You can coach it all you want. I can teach technique until I’m blue in the face. Some of the best rebounders I’ve ever coached couldn’t care less about technique. They figured out a way to go get the ball. And when they didn’t, you said, ‘Hey man, you gonna rebound?’ If they didn’t get it, somebody was being grabbed by the neck and being thrown to the ground because they took pride in rebounding. “That’s been the one thing that continues to tickle me in a negative way day-in and day-out.” South Carolina has been out-rebounded in four of its past six SEC games. The Gamecocks were minus-23 on the glass at Kentucky last Tuesday and minus-20 at LSU on Jan. 19. Putting himself aside, Silva referenced a different freshmen guard when asked for the Carolina player he trusts most to get a board. “I believe Maik can get a rebound, but I believe in Key,” Silva said of the 6-6 Bryant. “Key’s very aggressive regarding rebounds. ... How athletic he is, he always tries to put it back or come up with a defensive rebound.” Tennessee had 21 points off 13 offensive rebounds in its win over USC on Jan. 29. “We better rebound on Wednesday, I’ll tell you that,” Martin said. “We’re gonna have a long night in Knoxville if we don’t engage on the glass.”
  18. FeatheredCock

    New NET ranking

    #99 (12 point improvement) if the SEC gets 8 teams into the NCAA tournament the Gamecocks would most likely need to pass Missouri, A&M, Arky, and Bama to get on the bubble. First number is NET ranking. Second number is previous NET ranking. Next to last stat or each team is current SEC record. 4 4 TennesseeSEC 22-1 6-0 2-1 13-0 1-0 5 5 Kentucky SEC 20-3 6-1 1-2 13-0 0-0 17 17 LSU SEC 19-4 5-1 2-2 12-1 0-0 20 20 Auburn SEC 16-7 1-5 3-1 11-1 1-0 29 27 Mississippi St. SEC 16-7 3-3 3-1 10-3 0-0 36 41 Ole Miss SEC 16-7 4-3 3-1 9-3 0-0 41 42 Florida SEC 12-11 2-5 3-2 7-4 0-0 43 44 Alabama SEC 15-8 3-5 3-1 9-2 0-0 62 60 Arkansas SEC 14-9 3-4 1-1 10-4 0-0 87 102 Texas A&M SEC 9-13 3-4 0-2 6-7 0-0 91 78 Missouri SEC 11-11 1-5 3-1 7-5 0-0 99 111 South Carolina SEC 12-11 3-5 1-1 7-5 1-0 114 109 Georgia SEC 10-13 1-6 1-2 8-5 0-0 124 117 Vanderbilt SEC 9-14 1-6 0-1 8-7 0-0
  19. Coach Martin provides an update on injured Gamecocks February 11, 2019 South Carolina’s 2018-19 basketball season summed up in six words: Nonconference losses, SEC wins, multiple injuries. The latter of those themes was brought up Monday during a news conference with Frank Martin at Colonial Life Arena. Two days after announcing Justin Minaya will be taking a medical redshirt, the Gamecocks coach said the same for Jason Cudd. Cudd, a sophomore center who hasn’t played since the win over North Greenville on Dec. 31, won’t be back this year because of a knee injury. He was hurt during a practice before USC’s win over Missouri on Jan. 13. “Cudd is off crutches,” Martin said. “He’s off crutches. He’s starting to move around. He’s not in a place where he’s jogging yet.” Cudd, a 7-footer from Socastee High, has logged 28 games in a Carolina uniform, but 23 of those came as a freshman. He has career averages of 1.1 points and 0.9 rebounds. Cudd, Minaya and T.J. Moss are all officially out for the remainder of this season. Moss, a freshman point guard, suffered a high ankle sprain before the Virginia loss on Dec. 19. He’s also dealt with a foot injury that required surgery. “T.J.’s deal is like a five to six month thing for everything to completely heal where he’ll be allowed to get back out there,” Martin said of the former three-star prospect from Memphis. “But he’s close … he’s out of the cast, he’s in a boot now. He’s close to now being off that (scooter), where he can actually put his foot on the ground with the boot on. “We gotta be patient there.” Minaya, a starting swingman out since late November because of knee surgery, was thought to have a chance at returning this season. But when the final decision was made last Friday, it was the right one, Martin said. “Him going out there right now would be for one thing and one thing only — the University of South Carolina’s benefit,” Martin said. “That doesn’t benefit Justin Minaya in any way. So this allows him to catch his breath and not be in a rush to get out there and try to play in four games. Frank Martin News Conference — 2/11/19 Chris Silva News Conference — 2/11/19
  20. Bryant, Lawson spark South Carolina’s comeback win over Arkansas February 09, 2019 In a sloppy game, South Carolina found beautiful moments. Hassani Gravett grabbed a rebound, whipped an pass to midcourt for A.J. Lawson, who knew what was coming. He had a 2-on-1 break and the his open teammate was Keyshawn Bryant. Alley-oop. Colonial Life Arena rocked as it briefly forget the ugliness the Gamecocks flashed for large chunks of the contest with Arkansas. USC wasn’t perfect against the Razorbacks. It committed numerous turnovers and made some poor decisions, but it managed another SEC home win. Take a bow, Lawson and Bryant. USC’s electric freshmen willed the Gamecocks to a 77-65 win over Arkansas. The rookies combined for 41 points as South Carolina (12-11 overall) improved to 7-3 in the SEC. Arkansas dropped to 14-9 and 5-5 in the league. The Gamecocks trailed this game by 13 points in the second half before Lawson and Bryant spurred a 22-4 run — stamped by the oop — that put them up five. When Arkansas rallied back to tie things at 59, it was Bryant who scored Carolina’s next six points. He finished with 17. Lawson had 24. The duo totaled 31 of USC’s 45 second half points. Prior to Saturday’s tip, Frank Martin voiced his concerns about the randomness to Arkansas’ defense. The Razorbacks weren’t a threat in the way Kentucky was to USC a game earlier. Instead of physicality, Arkansas presented a mystery. The Hogs would press, trap and zone, affecting an offense’s flow. That all proved true in the first half as the Gamecocks committed 15 turnovers that the Razorbacks turned into 16 points. But despite the ugliness, USC was only down four at the break. The Razorbacks, playing a good chunk of the half without All-SEC big man Daniel Gafford (foul trouble), had enough offensive lulls to keep Carolina around. Arkansas led by 12 with 7:47 left, but was outscored 17-9 through the first half buzzer.
  21. FeatheredCock

    NCAA Tourney chances

    Wanted to throw this out and talk about realistic chances if any for the Gamecocks to go dancing at the end of the season. Would this do it to play in the postseason?: 17-14 overall Regular season record 12-6 SEC 4 seed in the conference tourney with a win in the quarters and loss in the semis In or out?
  22. Can USC basketball earned a top-4 seed at the SEC Tournament? The opportunity exists February 07, 2019 At halftime of South Carolina’s game at Georgia last Saturday, USC assistant coach Chuck Martin pointed to what was written on a dry erase board in the visitors locker room. “5-2,” he told the Gamecocks. “You earned the right to be 5-2.” He then added two more numbers. “Let’s get to 6-2,” Martin continued. “You’re fighting for second place, man. You’re right there.” Carolina went out and turned a five-point halftime advantage into a six-point win over the Bulldogs, keeping its good spot in the SEC standings. The Gamecocks are cognizant of where they stand heading into the second half of the SEC season. Tuesday’s loss to No. 5 Kentucky was damaging by score — the 28-point margin was USC’s worst since taking a 77-43 drumming by the Wildcats on Feb. 14, 2015 — but not much beyond that. It’s clear that the SEC is mainly a three-team race at the top — and then everyone else. South Carolina, at 6-3, leads the pack after nationally ranked Tennessee (9-0), Kentucky (8-1) and LSU (8-1). It’s also clear that the Gamecocks aren’t close to the level of the Volunteers, Wildcats or Tigers. They’re 0-3 against that tier, dropping games by an average of 24 points. But finishing fourth place in the league and getting a double-bye for the SEC Tournament is a realistic goal. The combined SEC record for USC’s first nine league opponents is 41-40. The last nine? 33-48. Opportunity exists for Frank Martin’s program to get double-digit SEC wins for the third time in four years. That’s the same standard to get the Gamecocks (11-11 overall) in some form of the postseason for the third time in four years. A peek at what remains: ARKANSAS (5-4), SATURDAY The Razorbacks have quietly turned things around after a slow start to 2019. They’ve won four straight SEC games, including a 90-89 thriller in Baton Rouge that broke LSU’s 18-game home win streak. Arkansas is 38-20 all-time in February under Mike Anderson. It’s taken the last three matchups with the Gamecocks. But this game is at Colonial Life Arena, where USC has been tough to beat in SEC play. Chris Silva is averaging 19.3 points and 8.9 rebounds over the last seven home games. The senior’s performance is always critical, but particularly with Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford (a combined 51 points and 17 rebounds his last two games) on the other side. South Carolina’s win probability*: 46 percent AT TENNESSEE (9-0), FEB. 13 The Volunteers turned a close game into a rout of the Gamecocks in their Jan. 29 meeting. Tennessee is a legitimate national championship contender that has won all but one home game by at least 13 points. After USC, the Volunteers face Kentucky in the league’s most anticipated matchup of the season. Perhaps Carolina can catch the Vols looking ahead? South Carolina’s win probability*: 4 percent TEXAS A&M (1-8), FEB. 16 While South Carolina likely enters this game coming off a loss, the Aggies could be coming in with a little momentum. Texas A&M gets fellow league cellar-dwellers Missouri and Georgia before it arrives at CLA. TAMU, though, is 2-6 away from College Station this season. South Carolina’s win probability*: 66 percent OLE MISS (5-4), FEB. 19 Staying in the top four of the SEC requires those immediately behind the Gamecocks to stay away. This makes the home games with the Razorbacks, Rebels and Alabama all that more important. Ole Miss has cooled off considerably since a 13-3 start and a Top 25 ranking. It had dropped five of six games before beating Texas A&M on Wednesday. South Carolina’s win probability*: 42 percent AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (4-5), FEB. 23 Will Justin Minaya be back by now? A final decision on the injured sophomore’s status could come any day. More than likely, he takes a medical redshirt and isn’t available for key road games such as this one. Carolina isn’t a deep team and this contest would be No. 27 for freshmen Keyshawn Bryant and A.J. Lawson. How are they holding up at this point? South Carolina got a career night from Maik Kotsar to beat the Bulldogs in the first matchup, but the junior hasn’t scored more than nine points since. MSU is 10-2 at home this year. South Carolina’s win probability*: 14 percent ALABAMA (5-4), FEB. 26 The Tide is an interesting study. On one hand, it’s the only SEC team to beat Kentucky and give Tennessee a game in Knoxville. On the other, it’s lost to Texas A&M and got blown out by Auburn. This might be the biggest toss-up game left on Carolina’s schedule. South Carolina’s win probability*: 43 percent AT MISSOURI (2-7), MARCH 2 Should USC take care of business at home, the Gamecocks are 10-5 in the SEC entering a very winnable final three games. Carolina beat the Tigers in early January thanks to Silva dominating in wake of Jeremiah Tilmon’s foul issues. It’s not crazy to think the opposite could take place in the rematch. But if Silva stays on the floor and again dominates his post matchup, the Gamecocks are in good shape. If not, a winnable road game turns into a tall task. South Carolina’s win probability*: 33 percent AT TEXAS A&M (1-8), MARCH 5 The Gamecocks lost in College Station by 23 points last season, but that A&M roster featured All-SEC picks Tyler Davis and Robert Williams in the frontcourt. South Carolina’s win probability*: 41 percent GEORGIA (1-8), MARCH 9 South Carolina gets to close a regular season at home for the first time in 14 years. It’s Senior Day for Silva, Hassani Gravett and Tre Campbell as the Gamecocks will try for a sixth straight win over the Bulldogs — and, perhaps, a top-4 SEC seed. Georgia, as of Feb. 7, is still seeking a road SEC win. South Carolina’s win probability*: 63 percent *According to KenPom.com’s calculations
  23. Gamecocks routed by the fifth-ranked Wildcats 76-48 February 05, 2019 LEXINGTON, KY. The blue-clad crowd wasn’t as much cheering Kentucky on as it was trying to give the Wildcats a little boost. That gradual noise came over Rupp Arena a few times during Tuesday, a sign that the visitors were making the locals uncomfortable. But South Carolina, a team with two all-time wins in this building, could only hush the 20,000-plus for so long. Eventually the hosts had to take over. The fifth-ranked Wildcats used a big half-ending scoring run to spring a 76-48 rout of the Gamecocks. USC dropped to 11-11 overall and 6-3 in the SEC while UK improved to 19-3 and 8-1. This game wasn’t trending in a blowout direction early. Even with Chris Silva in foul trouble, Carolina led 24-22 with 7:07 left in the first half. It was able to tame one of college basketball’s best environments with an array of offensive answers. Tre Campbell hit his first four field goals, including a third 3-pointer at the 7:51 mark. When Kentucky responded with a Jermarl Baker layup, it was A.J. Lawson who hit back with one of his own. There were seven changes over the first 14-plus minutes. But South Carolina, thanks to poor free throw shooting and rebounding, could never jump out to a big enough cushion. The Wildcats finally pounced with a 17-4 run that have them a 39-28 advantage at the break. It ended with an E.J. Montgomery dunk off a Keyshawn Bryant turnover with 1.7 seconds left. Bryant, one of three Carolina freshmen to make his Rupp debut, committed a team-high five turnovers. His classmate Alanzo Frink fouled out with two points in eight minutes. Lawson finished with 12 points. Kentucky’s end of first half run was extended to 40-14 late in the second. The Wildcats finished 21 offensive rebounds to USC’s nine. UK went 21 of 27 from the free throw line. USC went five of 14. P.J. Washington led Kentucky with 20 points. Silva, who picked up with his fourth foul with 12:31 left in the game, had just four points and four rebounds.
  24. Chris Silva, Gamecocks hold on to beat Georgia, move to 6-2 in the SEC February 02, 2019 ATHENS, GA. Chris Silva sprinted to the scorer’s table and hardly slowed on his turn toward the court. He barely slapped hands with Alanzo Frink before officially replacing the freshman and giving South Carolina stability again. The Gamecocks aren’t a deep team, but they’re a capable one when their best player is available. USC beat Georgia, 86-80, on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum to improve to 11-10 overall and 6-2 in the SEC. Silva had 19 points and six rebounds. Carolina, up by as many as 15 in the first half, never trailed in this game. It only looked vulnerable when Silva was watching from the bench. Georgia had cut the advantage to five with 7:28 left when Frank Martin gave his senior the look. The 6-foot-9, 234-pounder rose without hesitation and checked back in, despite three fouls. USC was up 10 less than three minutes later. Silva’s mere presence helped an open 3 for Hassani Gravett at the 4:52 mark that made it an 80-70 game. Gravett hit another two minutes later to make it 83-75. The Gamecocks shot 69 percent from deep, including three in a row from Felipe Haase in the middle of the second half to give Carolina a 13-point lead. But Georgia never went away. Two free throws by Turtle Jackson with 1:06 left cut things to 83-80. On USC’s ensuing possession, Silva help keep alive an offensive rebound that was collected by A.J Lawson near mid-court. He was fouled and made both FTs to put Carolina up five. Lawson made one more with 4.7 seconds left to stamp the final score. The freshman had 19 points. South Carolina led by as many as 15 in the first half before the previously cold-shooting Bulldogs caught fire with Silva on the bench. After missing 19 of its first 23 field goal attempts, Georgia made nine of its last 12 to cut USC’s advantage to 45-40 at the break. Over that seven-minute stretch, Silva logged just 14 seconds of action. The All-SEC forward got a blow at the 9-minute mark with the Gamecocks up 10. When he returned over six minutes later — and with USC up 40-31 — he quickly picked up his second foul. He sat the remainder of the period. Georgia closed within five with 1.8 seconds left thanks to Nicolas Claxton’s free throw following an A.J. Lawson shooting foul with 1.8 seconds left. NEXT GAME Who: South Carolina at Kentucky When: 7 p.m. Tuesday Where: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky TV: SEC Network
  25. Gamecock men's basketball team still has a viable path to NCAA bid February 01, 2019 So they lost, probably an expected result considering the opponent, and limp into Georgia on a two-game losing streak. At 10-10, South Carolina can’t afford to look at potential postseason possibilities, just as much as they couldn’t afford to when they were 10-8. It’s still faintly glowing, but finishing in the top half of the SEC is the ticket toward lighting the room. The Gamecocks pick up that path Saturday at Georgia. USC remains in fourth place in the league, a game back of Kentucky and ahead of Ole Miss, Alabama and Florida (with a tiebreaker over Alabama). A top-four finish in the league would mean a double-bye in the SEC tournament, which would be a large advantage. On selection weekend, the sooner a team stops getting discussed, the worse it’s going to be. With a top-four finish in the conference, the Gamecocks wouldn’t even start play in the SEC tournament until Friday, and one win gets them to Saturday. Win that one, and it’s anybody’s ballgame Sunday; and if they win Sunday, nobody can keep them out of the NCAA Tournament. Every game from here until the end is to make it as advantageous as they can to win that final weekend. The only way to do that is to win the next game, then go win the one after. They won’t be replaying Tennessee on Saturday (although they’ll have to face the Volunteers again over the next month). Georgia is also a 10-10 team but a mere 1-6 in the league. What does USC have to do to win? Play defense.

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