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 COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF "2019" GAMECOCK FOOTBALL

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  1. What are AJ Lawson’s NBA Draft chances? National analyst weighs in on USC freshman April 17, 2019 THE STATE On Dec. 5, less than a week after he scored 25 points and led South Carolina to a win, A.J. Lawson received his first bit of NBA Draft buzz. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic released that afternoon an “NBA Draft Big Board” with a ranking of 100 players for June’s two-round event. No. 1 was Duke’s Zion Williamson. No. 9 was Murray State’s Ja Morant. No. 49 was Lawson. Seven games into his college career, USC’s star freshman had developed some one-and-done potential. “I saw the start, went back and watched the tape,” Vecenie told The State on Wednesday. “I got pretty excited by what I saw. He’s a very, very gifted ball-handler. The jump shot obviously hadn’t come along yet, but the vision stuff seemed like it was translating. He’s got length and he was getting into passing lanes. His defense wasn’t high-level, but he was adjusting to college basketball. “I liked what I saw.” Lawson on Wednesday declared for the NBA Draft. He’s not hiring an agent and can return to the Gamecocks for a sophomore season. The 6-foot-6 guard — and reigning All-SEC freshman teamhonoree — is no longer on Vecenie’s board. What changed? Vecenie, a self-proclaimed “big fan” of Lawson’s, nodded to a dip in production at the beginning of SEC play. Lawson, from Jan. 5 at Florida through Jan. 29 against Tennessee, averaged 11.6 points per game, but shot under 38 percent from the field, 22 percent from 3-point range and had as many assists (nine) and turnovers. “I would say it’s far to say early on in SEC play,” Vecenie said, “he struggled a little bit. He was trying to adjust to the game a little bit. Basically from the Virginia game (Dec. 19), where they struggled against the national champion, to maybe even through January. Looking at his numbers now ... the vision stuff wasn’t really translating to the highest levels. So you take him off. You say, ‘Hey, maybe I jumped the gun on it a little bit.’” Lawson finished 2018-19 as South Carolina’s leader in assists (2.9 per game), steals (1.1), second in scoring (13.4) and fourth in rebounds (4.3). He shot 41 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3. For one six-game stretch from Feb. 9 (Arkansas) to Feb. 23 (Mississippi State), he made 61.5 percent of his 3s. Vecenie called Lawson one of the top 35 freshmen in college basketball. “I’m very interested in A.J. Lawson,” Vecenie said of the Canadian he scouted during a “Basketball Without Borders” showcase in February 2018. “I’ve been a really big fan of his, going back a couple years now, realistically. Just his game and the size. He’s a pseudo lead guard, more of a combo guard. He has ball skill. He’s improving as a shooter, but not quite there yet as a shooter. There’s a lot of talent there.” Enough to get drafted in a couple months? “I would take a flier on him in the second round,” Vecenie said, “but I don’t know if every team necessarily feels that way.” Lawson has until May 29 to decide whether to remain in the draft or return to school. If the latter is chosen, Vecenie said Lawson could be a first round pick in 2020. “I’m a fan of A.J. Lawson’s game,” Vecenie said. “It’s just that little bit of craft, that little bit of strength on the ball he needs to continue to develop. He’ll get there.” Lawson is a listed 172-pounder. “One reason he can genuinely benefit from staying in school is from the strength and conditioning program at South Carolina,” Vecenie said. “Strength and conditioning programs at a school like South Carolina in the SEC, those are gonna be better than the strength and conditioning program in the G League, where is where he’d probably spend the majority of his time next year.” Add some weight, develop a more consistent jumper and the Lawson narrative likely changes this time next year. “What you should do is you should set yourself up in the easiest way in which you can have a long-standing, long-lasting (NBA) career,” Vecenie said. “And the best way to do that is by getting a guarantee contract right from the jump in the NBA, being as a first round pick or being as one of the first 10 guys in the second round, something like that. “In his case, I don’t know if I can guarantee you that he would be selected in a place where he’d get a guarantee contract right from the jump. Having said that, I think if he was to return to South Carolina, was to kill it, be their lead ball handler, be the guy who really dominates the ball, comes in after a summer where he just dominates and really improves his game, yeah, I think there’s real room for growth in his, quote-unquote, draft stock. “
  2. FeatheredCock

    Chris Mullen resigns @ St John's

    Frank Martin at the top of their list!
  3. The Gamecocks starting lineup options for next basketball season March 29, 2019 Because of a variety of injuries, Frank Martin used six different starting lineups during the 2018-19 South Carolina basketball season. The USC coach mixed and matched his Gamecocks to 16 wins and a fourth place finish in the Southeastern Conference. As it stands now — late March 2019 — it’s not crazy to think Martin could again tweak his starters more than a handful of times next season. The Gamecocks, assuming everyone comes back to good health, have options at a variety of positions. Here’s a way-too-early look-ahead to what’s next: BEST FIVE ON THE FLOOR PG Jair Bolden SG A.J. Lawson SF Justin Minaya PF Keyshawn Bryant C Maik Kotsar Martin suggested earlier this week that it’s likely South Carolina plays differently next season as it adapts to life without Chris Silva. There’s not going to be a proven scoring big man to dump the ball inside to, so perhaps the Gamecocks go small and play with even more pace than they showed last year. Bolden and Lawson are interchangeable in the backcourt, same with Minaya and Bryant at the forward spots. How much weight is added to Bryant’s 6-foot-6, 190-pound frame? The rising sophomore could be a post-up candidate, creating scenes similar to what the 6-5, 211-pound Sindarius Thornwell did as a senior. Defensively, there’s a lot to like about this group. Minaya was USC’s best perimeter defender until he hurt his knee last November. Lawson is coming off a freshman campaign in which he led the Gamecocks in steals. Bolden, a transfer from George Washington, reminds Silva of former Carolina guard Duane Notice. And Kotsar, despite his noted offensive struggles, is still a defensive asset with his ability to guard multiple positions. POINT GUARD HEAVY PG Jair Bolden or Trae Hannibal SG Jermaine Couisnard or T.J. Moss SF AJ Lawson PF Justin Minaya or Keyshawn Bryant C Maik Kotsar Martin said Tuesday he likes playing two point guards and that’s “non-negotiable.” How about three? Bolden, who averaged over 11 points and three assists a game his last season at GW, is plenty capable. Couisnard, a 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman, is too. Hannibal, a 6-foot-1 incoming freshman from Hartsville, brings an “athleticism, a mindset, a dynamic that we haven’t had at point guard since I’ve been here,” Martin said. And then there’s the 6-foot-6 Lawson, who led the Gamecocks in assists last season. ROOKIE IMPACT PG Trae Hannibal SG A.J. Lawson SF Justin Minaya PF Keyshawn Bryant C Wildens Leveque Martin started T.J. Moss twice at point guard before the rookie went down with a season-ending injury in December. It’s further proof that he’ll play who best fits the situation, no matter a player’s class. Hannibal hasn’t stepped on campus, but his lasting image as a high schooler was a 62-point, 20-rebound performance in a state playoff game. Leveque is 6-10 and is regarded as Silva-esque with his defensive potential. “He blocks shots a higher clip than Chris did when Chris was in high school. He’s a bigger player,” Martin said Tuesday. TRADITIONAL PG Jair Bolden SG A.J. Lawson SF Keyshawn Bryant PF Felipe Haase C Maik Kotsar That’s a 6-3 point guard, 6-6 shooting guard, 6-6 small forward, 6-9 power forward and 6-11 center.
  4. The season is in the books what should happen next? How many say give Frank Martin another year? Should he be given two more years? Do you hope he leaves on his own? Say let Frank go cut him loose now?
  5. Hassani Gravett Media Availability - 4/2/19
  6. Jamie Shaw posted this on another site hope he does not mind me sharing it here. SC signee Trae Hannibal is simply on another level ... last Friday he played in the inaugural Pee Dee All Star game & CRUSHED it Here are the RAW Highlights of the game ... ENJOY!!
  7. Texas Tech vs. Auburn final for me and Auburn taking it all. Auburn reminds of Gamecock run. Never seen this one coming, Go SEC!!
  8. Frank Martin will be available to the media on Tuesday, March 26, Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena.
  9. What to expect from Jermaine Couisnard at USC? Let a Duke star fill you in March 25, 2019 THE STATE The mystery player on South Carolina’s 2019-20 roster has the endorsement of Duke’s latest hero. R.J. Barrett had the winning bucket Sunday as the Blue Devils survived UCF at Colonial Life Arena and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. Barrett’s presence in Columbia brought to the surface a storyline surrounding Frank Martin’s next team. What’s to be expected of Jermaine Couisnard? Barrett and Couisnard weren’t teammates at Montverde Academy in central Florida, but they shared the same hallways and often practiced on the same floor. Barrett, the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, was the headliner for Montverde’s undefeated national title team while Couisnard, a South Carolina signee, was starring for the school’s post-graduate squad. When the sides scrimmaged against one another, it wasn’t unusual for the 6-foot-7 Barrett to be matched up with the 6-4 Couisnard. “He can shoot,” Barrett said of Couisnard on Thursday. “Anywhere over half-court is his range. I remember guarding him, and he would pull in my face at half-court. “I think he’ll be good (at South Carolina).” Couisnard has yet to suit up for USC. He sat this winter due to an eligibility issue. Martin has clarified several times that Couisnard will be full-go next season as a redshirt freshman. The combo guard will join a young core of Gamecocks that includes A.J. Lawson, Keyshawn Bryant and Justin Minaya. “He’s really competitive,” said Barrett, who averages over 22 points a game for Duke. “He talks trash, he gets into it. I love that about him. He wants to win so bad. But off the court, all that goes away. He’s the coolest guy. “I was glad I was able to compete with him.” Kevin Boyle Jr., Montverde’s post-grad coach, confirmed to The State last year the epic practice battles between Barrett and Couisnard. “R.J.’s a very tough player to guard with his size and ability to seamlessly transition from attacking the rim to quickly turning his back and making tough post shots,” Boyle Jr. said. “For the most part, I’d say it was definitely close (between Couisnard and Barrett). And that’s where we first started to see his ability to make tougher shots. You say, ‘Hey, now we’re playing against a team that’s No. 1 in the country and you’re not going to have gap to kick to easy stand-still shots. You’re gonna have to make shots over long arms.’” Couisnard was a three-star prospect who chose USC after pursuit from the likes of Louisville, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio State and West Virginia, among others. Before heading to Montverde, he averaged 29.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists during his senior season at East Chicago Central High School in Indiana.
  10. Evaluating the Frank Martin era at South Carolina. What’s possible for his future? March 22, 2019 THE STATE Three hours before South Carolina learned that officially its 2018-19 basketball season was over, Gamecocks coach Frank Martin shared a story on Twitter about incoming freshman Trae Hannibal and added “My man” with a fist emoji. In the days since USC was left out of the NIT, Martin has been relatively quiet — while buzz builds around him. Two prominent college basketball voices threw his name into the mix for the UNLV job. A writer for the Las Vegas Review Journal tweeted that Martin was contacted about the Running Rebels opening, “but financial terms don’t appear to make sense for him at this time and talks likely won’t proceed.” It’s all made for fodder among fans across message boards, talk radio and social media. What’s the best way to properly evaluate Martin’s seven seasons as South Carolina’s coach? Is he happy in his current job? Would he leave? Jeff Goodman, lead college basketball analyst for WatchStadium.com, listed Martin among his candidates for the UNLV gig shortly after the Rebels fired Marvin Menzies. Fox Sports’ Doug Gottleib tweeted March 18: “If I’m UNLV, why not see if Frank Martin wants a fresh start? Helluva coach, great with Vegas kind of kids.” (For the record, former USC All-American Sindarius Thonrwell replied to Gottleib, “Cut it out my coach ain’t going no where.”) Martin is 129-106 after seven seasons in Columbia, and all signs point to he’ll be back for an eighth. Martin is third all-time in wins at South Carolina. He led the Gamecocks in 2017 to their first NCAA Tournament win in 44 years — and then to their first Final Four, ever. USC has won 10 or more SEC games six times since joining the league in 1991, half of which have come under Martin, including this past season. (Note: The SEC schedule went from 16 to 18 games in 2012-13) “The feel of the South Carolina program,” Goodman told The State, “would be that it’s a football school, which Frank was able to take them to the Final Four, despite some of their shortcomings in terms of tradition and resources compared to other schools in the league, things of that nature. “I mean, what he did was ridiculous.” But a small portion of the fan base also likes to look at what he hasn’t done. The ‘17 Big Dance came after an NIT appearance the year before. Those are Martin’s lone postseason appearances at Carolina. The Gamecocks are 33-32 since the Final Four run — and the departures of Thornwell (Los Angeles Clippers) and P.J. Dozier (Boston Celtics). “Your margin for error when you’re at South Carolina is slim,” Goodman said. “It’s slim. You don’t get pros every year. You lose a pro, it hurts. It hurts more. “You get to a Final Four and then people think you’re going to be going to the NCAA Tournament every year at South Carolina. That just doesn’t happen. “But he got you a Final Four. If I had told any South Carolina basketball fan, ‘All right, we’ll give ya a Final Four, but you’re not going to go to the tournament for eight years,’ they’d probably sign up. “On one hand, it’s not like he set the world on fire every year. So you can look at it objectively and be like, ‘All right, he had one really good year.’ And then on the flip side, you’re like, well, it’s a really hard job. He did get them to the Final Four.” Martin, the 22nd-highest paid coach in America, is signed to South Carolina through 2023. He’s on pace for 219 wins by then, second only to Naismith Hall of Famer Frank McGuire at USC. But to accomplish such a feat, he’d have to stick around. “I think Frank Martin would leave for the right situation,” Goodman said. “He’s not gonna leave for just anything. I know he loves his boss, I know he loves the area, everything like that. “But again, if there was a better situation that came up, where they was probably more support overall, yeah, I could see him leaving if it was a top 10 or 15 school or something that was more about basketball. I think there’s a chance.” South Carolina ranked fourth in the SEC this season in attendance. The average of 11,472, however, is only the fifth-highest of the Martin era. On March 9, after USC rolled Georgia to clinch fourth place in the SEC in front of an announced crowd of 11,927 at the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena, Martin was clear on where his program stood — and the perception battles it still fights. “We’ve fought to build a culture here,” Martin said, “and we continue to fight to build it. It’s not there. ... Too many people around here want to speak about our bad days and they don’t want to speak about the totality of the good days. And that’s unfortunate. “But when I talk about apathy, and I’ve talked about that a lot over the last seven years, that’s what I’m talking about. ... I’m extremely proud of where we’re at. I just think that needs to be told and people need to stop talking about South Carolina like we’re still irrelevant like we were seven eight, nine years ago. We’ve earned the right for people to put us in the conversation with the successful programs in this conference.”
  11. How would you rate the 2018/2019 season and why? Don't be shy, speak what you feel eigher way. Coaching grade? Recruiting grade? Which players can take the Gamecocks to postseason play next season? Can they make a run to even get to the Big Dance or NI? Season grade? What do you want to see? What do you expect next season?
  12. 73 Auburn 24-9; 11-7 SEC 64 South Carolina 16-16; 11-7 SEC Score By Periods Team 1 2 F Auburn 36 37 73 South Carolina 36 28 64 Game Recap: Men's Basketball | 3/15/2019 5:48:00 PM | By: STEVE MEGARGEE (Associated Press) South Carolina Falls to No. 22 Auburn in SEC Quarterfinals, 73-64 Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 27 points and 11 rebounds BOX SCORE Story Links FINAL BOX (PDF) SEASON STATS (PDF) FULL SCHEDULE ROSTER NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jared Harper scored 27 points and No. 22 Auburn showcased its record-setting 3-point attack to beat South Carolina 73-64 on Friday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The fifth-seeded TIgers (24-9) won their sixth straight to advance to a Saturday semifinal against No. 8 seed Florida (19-14). The Gators eliminated the top seed in this tournament Friday with a 76-73 quarterfinal upset of No. 9 LSU. South Carolina (16-16) waits to see whether it merits an NIT invitation. The fourth-seeded Gamecocks went 5-8 in nonconference action this season but earned the fourth seed in this tournament by going 11-7 in SEC play. Auburn went 13 of 34 from 3-point range and broke the SEC record for 3-point baskets in a single season by increasing its total 368. That surpasses the record that had been held by Arkansas, which made 361 during its drive to an NCAA Tournament runner-up finish in 1995. Bryce Brown had 19 points and Samir Doughty added 10 for Auburn. Chris Silva led South Carolina with 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Felipe Haase and Tre Campbell each added 12 points. South Carolina and Auburn posted identical 11-7 SEC regular-season records, but the Gamecocks got the No. 4 seed and bye to the quarterfinals by virtue of their 80-77 victory over Auburn on Jan. 22. Silva scored a career-high 32 points in that January game and started the rematch by picking up right where he left off. He had 14 points by halftime as South Carolina led for much of the first half. Auburn rallied with its perimeter game and forced a 36-all halftime tie when Danjel Purifoy hit a 3-point shot with 23 seconds left as the shot clock was expiring. The Tigers pulled ahead early in the second half and stayed in front thanks to Harper, who continually drew fouls driving to the basket and even once while attempting a 3-pointer. Harper didn't have any free-throw attempts in the first half but was 12 of 14 from the line in the second half. Neither team ever led by more than six points until Auburn finally started to pull away in the last four minutes of the game. KEY STATS > For a stretch midway through the second half, South Carolina held Auburn without a field goal for nearly seven minutes. But the Tigers made up for it at the free throw line, going 14-of-16 the final 20 minutes of the game. NOTABLES > First Team All-SEC senior forward Chris Silva had 27 points and 11 rebounds, for his 12th double-double of the season (27th career). He finished 9-of-12 (75.0 percent) from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from distance. > Senior graduate transfer Tre Campbell and sophomore big man Felipe Haase each finished with 12 points, rounding out the Gamecocks in double-figures. > Campbell led the team with five assists and 37 minutes. > All-SEC Freshmen Team selection A.J. Lawson played 13 minutes after missing the past three games with an ankle injury.
  13. South Carolina falters down the stretch in SEC Tournament loss to Auburn March 15, 2019 A.J. Lawson turned and winced with the whistle. His first big dent in his return game from injury felt like a crucial moment. South Carolina’s chance to reach the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time in 16 years was on the brink of crunch time when Lawson, USC’s star freshman guard, challenged too hard on a 3-point attempt by Auburn’s Jared Harper. A three-shot foul was awarded to the Tigers as Lawson headed to the bench. USC spent a good chunk of its conference season short-handed, so it was only fitting that the Gamecocks essentially stayed that way in the postseason. Lawson, one of the best rookies in the league, wasn’t his usual self after a three-game absence for an ankle injury. Fourth-seeded Carolina basically had to battle No. 5 Auburn with a familiar lineup of seven scholarship players. The fight was there, the result wasn’t. Clutch-shooting Auburn pulled through with a 73-64 win on Friday at Bridgestone Arena. The Tigers (24-9) advance to face 8-seed Florida in a Saturday semifinal. South Carolina dropped to 16-16 and now awaits its NIT fate.
  14. The first bit of news South Carolina’s produced at the SEC Tournament is good news March 14, 2019 Frank Martin told reporters Thursday night that he anticipates A.J. Lawson returning to the floor Friday afternoon when the Gamecocks face Auburn in a quarterfinal game at Bridgestone Arena. Tip-off is approximately 3:30 p.m. The game will air on ESPN. “The anticipation is that he will play,” Martin said. Lawson, who was named to the All-SEC freshman team Tuesday, missed USC’s previous three games after spraining his left ankle late in the Alabama loss on Feb. 26. He returned to practice this week, including a Thursday morning session in Nashville. Lawson’s playing status will be confirmed, Martin said, after a Thursday night session. Hassani Gravett, the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year, has replaced the injured Lawson in the starting lineup. That will remain that way Friday, should Lawson be available or not. “I’m going to stick with the five guys who have been starting the last couple games,” Martin said of Gravett, Tre Campbell, Keyshawn Bryant, Felipe Haase and Chris Silva. “If A.J. had had two, three, four full practices under him, I’d probably go back to where we were before. But with all the unknown ... if (Lawson) was an older player that understood how to play after an injury or dealing with an injury — let’s not say after an injury — that’s a different dynamic. Being the first time he’s ever hurt himself in any way, we’re bringing him off the bench and will manage the game accordingly.” Standing in its way is a guard-dominated, pressing Auburn bunch that could potentially wear down the thin Gamecocks. With Lawson, USC has available eight scholarship players. “If A.J.’s available and he can give us a solid number of minutes,” Martin said, “and I feel he’s in a comfortable place in the flow of the game, then we’ll just manage that accordingly. But for some reason, even if he is available, he’s just not very aggressive out there ... and we gotta kind of limit ourselves to Hassani and Tre playing 36 minutes each, then we gotta figure that one out.”
  15. Gamecocks SEC Tournament opener is a favorable matchup. Here’s why South Carolina is one game away from reaching the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time in 13 years. One winnable game. It’ll be fifth-seeded Auburn that faces the No. 4 Gamecocks around 3:30 p.m. Friday. The Tigers beat Missouri, 81-71, on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the league’s marquee event at Bridgestone Arena. While Auburn (23-9) seems like a safe bet to play in next week’s NCAA Tournament — and South Carolina has plenty of work to do — it’s USC (16-15) that perhaps enters this particular contest with an edge. Just ask Bruce Pearl. “When you say it’s all about matchups, and sometimes that’s kind of a canned praise, I think there’s a lot to that,” the Tigers coach said earlier this week. “And I would say that our matchup against South Carolina with Frank (Martin) has been a difficult one. I’d go as far to say his system, matching up against what we do, they’ve been more successful than we have.” Since Pearl took over on The Plains in 2014, his Tigers have two wins against the Gamecocks. That ties for their fewest against any SEC foe over that span, minus Florida. USC’s taken four of the last five matchups, including an 80-77 thriller at Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 22. Chris Silva, with 32 points and 14 rebounds, was dominant that night as Auburn had no post answer with Austin Wiley sidelined with a lower leg injury. The 6-foot-10 Wiley, who entered the tournament averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds, has been in and out of the lineup the majority of SEC season. He missed his fifth straight game Thursday and his status for Friday is to be determined. Without Wiley, Silva played a pivotal role in Auburn’s other bigs — 6-7 Anfernee McLemore and 6-8 Horace Spencer — fouling out in the first matchup. “They got like short guards, a couple guards play bigs and their bigs aren’t that tall, so I find my way to the rim,” Silva said. “My teammates try to find me every time because of the mismatch. I try to use my athleticism, too. “The way they play allows me to be aggressive and get open down low. And during those games, I guess my teammates pass me the ball.” Silva, an All-SEC first-teamer for a second straight season, is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds over his last four games against Auburn. “So whether it’s the way they defend the physicality (that hurts us), obviously Frank does a great job,” Pearl said. “If we get to that point, we’re going to have to evaluate what is is what we do and how we do it and find some things that are gonna be more effective than what they’ve been historically over the last five years.” GAME INFO Who: No. 5 seed Auburn (23-9) vs. No. 4 seed South Carolina (16-15) When: Approx. 3:30 p.m. Friday Where: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville At stake: Spot in SEC Tournament semifinals TV: ESPN Radio: 107.5 FM The Game in Columbia area Series: Auburn leads 24-19 Last meeting: Jan. 22, 2019 — South Carolina 80, Auburn 77 Streak: South Carolina’s won four of five Auburn projected starters: G Jared Harper (15.2 ppg), G Bryce Brown (15.7), G Samir Doughty (7.3), F Chuma Okeke (11.9), F Anfernee McLemore (7.3) South Carolina projected starters: G Tre Campbell (7.0), G Hassani Gravett (11.6), F Keyshawn Bryant (9.1), F Felipe Haase (6.2), F Chris Silva (14.8)
  16. Puts them out according to bracketology. Don't you hate it when that happens
  17. Gamecocks Begin SEC Tournament Action Friday Afternoon Men's Basketball | 3/14/2019 | From USC Sports Informaton | GCF Staff Report Story Links GAME NOTES (PDF) LIVE STATS WATCH TWITTER UPDATES SEC TOURNAMENT CENTRAL NASHVILLE, TENN. - South Carolina (16-15, 11-7 SEC) has earned the number four seed in this week's SEC Tournament, which is being held in Nashville, Tenn., at Bridgestone Arena, and will begin Tournament action on Friday afternoon against the winner of the No. 5 seed Auburn vs. No. 12 seed Missouri contest, which will be played on Thursday. The Gamecocks look for their first semifinal berth in the event since 2006. Karl Ravech (play-by-play), Jimmy Dykes (analyst) and Laura Rutledge (sidelines) will be on the call for the ESPN broadcast. TRIO OF GAMECOCKS EARN SEC POSTSEASON COACHES AWARDS> For the second consecutive season, Gamecock senior standout Chris Silva has been named to the All-SEC First Team and the All-Defensive Team by the league's coaches, while rookie guard A.J. Lawson was named to the All-Freshman Team and senior guard Hassani Gravett was named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year. > Silva becomes the first Gamecock to earn First-Team honors in consecutive seasons since Carolina great Devan Downey was named to the First Team in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Silva led the Gamecocks in conference contests this season in points (16.3), rebounds (7.9) and blocks per game (2.1). He was 53.3 percent from the field, connected on 14-of-28 attempts from 3, and was 102-of-130 at the foul line (78.5%) in SEC play.> Lawson was second on the team with 14.0 points per SEC contest, before missing the last three games of conference play with an ankle injury. He had nine double-figure scoring contests in league games, eight matchups with three or more assists and also pulled down 4.2 rebounds per outing. Lawson marks the first Gamecock on the All-Freshman Team since Sindarius Thornwell (2014) and the third in Martin's seven seasons at Carolina, as Michael Carrera (2013) also earned All-Freshman Team accolades during his career.> Gravett has put together the best season of his career in 2018-19, posting career highs in nearly every statistical category. In league play, Gravett had 13 double-figure scoring games, 11 contests with three or more 3-pointers and he recorded three or more assists eight times. After starting 22 contests a year ago, Gravett embraced his role off the bench this season, thriving during his senior season. Gravett is Carolina's third Sixth Man of the Year in program history, and the second under Martin, as Gamecock standout Duane Notice earned the honor in 2016. SILVA GARNERS POSTSEASON ACCOLADES FROM MEDIA> Senior forward Chris Silva also garnered postseason accolades from the media for the first time in his career, collecting Second Team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press on Monday. He was also named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team by the AP last fall. GRAVETT NAMED TO SEC COMMUNITY SERVICE TEAM> Senior guard Hassani Gravett was named to the SEC Community Service Team earlier this week. Gravett has been very active in community outreach projects throughout his career in the Garnet and Black. The Villa Rica, Ga., native has spent time with military members and their families at Fort Jackson in Columbia and the Ray Tanner Home Run 5K. He also volunteered with the Richland County Sheriff's Department, the City of Columbia, Special Olympics and the Epworth Children's Home through the team's 8K in 8 Days initiative. During his senior season, Gravett has spent time at the Palmetto Children's Hospital, worked with the Salvation Army, worked with youth on the fundamentals of basketball at St. Andrews, Polo Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Parks with the City of Columbia. He also helped out at a Wounded Warriors event in the fall.STARTING FIVE> South Carolina rides a two-game win streak into SEC Tournament action, after posting a road win at Texas A&M (March 5) and a home victory over Georgia to conclude the regular season at 16-15 overall, with an 11-7 mark in SEC play.> With their 11 league wins, Carolina has now had double-figure SEC wins in three of the last four seasons, posting 11+ wins and earning a double-bye in the SEC Tournament in each of those campaigns (11 in 2016, 12 in 2017, 11 in 2019).> South Carolina's seniors have been key to the Gamecocks' success in SEC play. The trio of Chris Silva (16.3 ppg), Hassani Gravett (12.9) and Tre Campbell (8.1 ppg) combined for 37.3 points per SEC game this season. Silva led the Gamecocks with 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, and Gravett (1.7 apg/43.9% from 3), and Campbell (3.4 apg/42.9% from 3) were key on the perimeter.> Entering SEC Tournament action, Carolina has a combined seven Quadrant 1 and 2 wins thus far in 2018-19, and a Division I strength of schedule of 36 (as of March 12). Carolina's Q1 wins include: at Florida, and home against Auburn and Mississippi State; while the Gamecocks' Q2 wins have come against Alabama and Arkansas at home, and Texas A&M and Georgia on the road.> South Carolina has been riddled by injuries this season, having had six players miss significant time. Most recently All-SEC freshman guard A.J. Lawson has missed the last three games and the final eight+ minutes of the Alabama contest with a severe low ankle sprain. Sophomore starter Justin Minaya has missed 26 games due to a knee injury, rookie guard T.J. Moss - who started the previous three games before suffering an ankle and foot injury - has missed 24 games due to injury, junior forward Maik Kotsar missed two crucial non-conference games - Virginia and Clemson - due to a concussion, and reserves Jason Cudd (16 games) and Alanzo Frink (7 games) have also missed games on the injuried list. POWELL NAMED SEC LEGEND> Former South Carolina standout Carlos Powell has been named Carolina's 2019 SEC Legend. It was announced by the conference office on Friday, Feb. 15. Powell earned four letters in the Garnet and Black and ranks eighth all-time in scoring with 1,541 career points. He was part of Carolina's 2004 NCAA Tournament team, and helped the Gamecocks capture the 2005 Postseason NIT championship. His senior season he averaged 53.0 percent from the field, scoring 540 points and averaging 16.4 points per game. He led the Gamecocks in scoring as a sophomore, junior and senior, while also leading the team in rebounds per game his final two campaigns. Following his career at Carolina, Powell has had a successful professional career on the hardwood. FRANK MARTIN> South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is in his seventh season leading the Gamecocks and 12th season overall as a head coach in 2018-19. Martin, the 2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year (CollegeInsider.com), led South Carolina to its first Final Four and a school record 26 wins in 2016-17. In his 11 complete seasons as a head coach, Martin has led his teams to at least 21 wins seven times. Martin is a native of Miami, Fla., and a graduate of FIU.> Prior to his time on the sidelines in the college ranks, Martin spent 15 years in high school coaching in Miami, Fla., including the last seven as a head coach. He was part of five state championships as an assistant at Miami Senior High School (1985-93), before earning two titles as the program's head coach (1995-98). Highlighting Martin's stint as the head coach of the program were consecutive 30-win seasons and consecutive Florida 6A State Championships in 1996 and 1997, with his 1997 squad earning a 36-1 overall record and ranking No. 4 in the USA Today Top 25 Poll. He also served as the head coach at North Miami Senior High School (1993-95) and one season at Booker T. Washington High School (1999-2000).> Among active Division I head coaches, South Carolina's Frank Martin holds the seventh-highest (tied with Michigan's John Beilein) NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.667) behind only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina's Roy Williams, Kentucky's John Calipari, Kansas' Bill Self, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Villanova's Jay Wright.> Martin led team's are 106-102 (.509) all-time in league play.QUICK HITS> South Carolina is in its 111th season of varsity basketball in 2018-19.> Gamecock head coach Frank Martin is joined on the sidelines by assistant coaches Perry Clark (6th season), Bruce Shingler (3rd season) and Chuck Martin (2nd season). Andy Assaley is in his seventh season as the director of operations.> South Carolina is one of 13 DI schools nationally that have two or more former DI coaches serving as an assistant coach. Perry Clark served as the head coach at Tulane, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, while Chuck Martin was the head coach at Marist for five campaigns.> South Carolina advanced to its first Final Four in 2016-17, which included posting its first NCAA Tounament win since the 1973 campaign when it talied a 93-73 win over Marquette in the First Round.> The Gamecocks are 24-14 (.631) in neutral-site contests under the direction of head coach Frank Martin, including a 3-3 mark last season.> Carolina was 15-18 (.454) over the course of the last three seasons in away contests (2015-16, 16-17, 17-18).> Martin is 31-43 (.418) against ranked opponents as a head coach. His teams have four wins over opponents ranked in the top five, and two wins over opponents who are ranked No. 1.> Senior forward Chris Silva was named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team by both the media and coaches; and also named to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, the Naismith Trophy Watch List and the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List. He was also named a Senior CLASS Award Candidate.REGULAR SEASON HIGHLIGHTS> Nov. 6, 2018 - USC Upstate: Rookie guard Keyshawn Bryant erupted for a game high 21 points in his college debut vs. USC Upstate. Bryant hit 8-of-12 attempts from the floor, scoring all his points in just 21 minutes of action. > Nov. 9, 2018 - Stony Brook: Another rookie had a standout performance early in the campaign, as freshman guard A.J. Lawson connected on eight shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, for 23 points, while dishing six assists with three steals vs. Stony Brook.> Nov. 18, 2018 - vs. George Washington: After falling to Providence in its opening game at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off on Nov. 17, Carolina responded with an offensive explosion in the following day's win over George Washington, connecting on 34 makes from the floor, including 13 3-pointers. Senior forward Chris Silva recorded his second double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds.> Dec. 8, 2018 - at Michigan: Carolina battled No. 5/5 Michigan in Ann Arbor in early December, facing its first ranked opponent of the season, but the Wolverines closed the home win. Senior leader Chris Silva led four in double-figures with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Carolina recorded 44 points in the paint against Michigan's lineup. Junior forward Maik Kotsar (7 FGs) and Bryant (6 FGs) were also key to Carolina's offense in the outing.> Dec. 31, 2018 - North Greenville: Carolina snapped a three game losing streak with a convincing win over DII opponent, North Greenville. Prior to the matchup, the Gamecocks had fallen at Michigan, and in back-to-back home games vs. No. 5/3 Virginia and Clemson. Silva (21) and Lawson (22) both turned in 20-point outings in the post-holiday home game.> Jan. 5, 2019 - at Florida (SEC opener): Carolina trailed by 14 points with 11:05 to play, but the Gamecocks chipped away at the Gator lead, and a hail mary pass from sophomore forward Felipe Haase to Silva unmarked under the far basket resulted in a slam-dunk victory for the Gamecocks on the road. Senior guard Hassani Gravett turned in a 22-point effort in the win, and Bryant was key in the comeback with three-straight buckets late in the second half. Also impressive, Carolina held the Gators without a field goal the final 7:17 of the contest.> Jan. 8, 2019 - Mississippi State: It went to overtime, but a dunk from Lawson with just seconds remaining secured the Carolina upset over No. 14 Mississippi State to improve to 2-0 in SEC games. Five Gamecocks were in double-figures, led by Kotsar's career high performance of 25 points on 10 made field goals. > Jan. 16, 2019 - at Vanderbilt: Lawson scored 24 points, including the winning free throws, but Gravett was the star late in the game, scoring nine of Carolina's final 11 points in the game over the final 1:38 of the matchup. The win marked Carolina's second on the road this season.> Jan. 22, 2019 - Auburn: After a road loss at LSU, the Gamecocks rebounded with an 80-77 upset over No. 16/15 Auburn at home. Silva posted a career high 32 points on 11 made field goals, and Haase scored the game-winning point on a corner 3 with 30 seconds remaining. > Feb. 2, 2019 - at Georgia: After back-to-back losses at Oklahoma State and to top-ranked Tennessee, Carolina rebounded with an 86-80 road win at Georgia behind 33 made field goals and a 56.9 percentage from the floor. Silva and Lawson both scored 19.> Feb. 9, 2019 - Arkansas: Carolina posted another comeback win at home, this time vs. Arkansas, and held the Razorbacks scoreless the final 3:11 to clinch the win. Lawson had another big offensive performance, leading the Gamecocks with 24 points on eight made buckets.> Feb. 19, 2019 - Ole Miss: A convincing 15-point home win over Ole Miss was Carolina's second straight after also winning at home the previous game vs. Texas A&M. Carolina once again trailed by double-digits in the game, but a 16 point run in the first half would give the Gamecocks the lead for good.> March 5, 2019 - at Texas A&M: A 71-54 road win at Texas A&M would snap a three-game losing streak for Carolina. Silva scored 22 with a career high 17 rebounds, and Gravett added 17. It was Carolina's second game without injured guard A.J. Lawson.> March 9, 2019 - Georgia: A Senior Day win would cap the regular season for Carolina, and senior forward Chris Silva would come up big again, scoring a game high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. The Gamecock D held the Bulldogs to just 11 made field goals in the contest.SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS> Carolina is 16-15 overall this season, including an 11-6 mark in home games, and a 7-2 record in SEC home games.> Carolina reached double-digit SEC wins for just the sixth time, but the third time in the last four seasons, after the March 5 win at Texas A&M which moved the Gamecocks to 10-7 in SEC action in 2019.> The Gamecocks' 11 SEC wins match the 1998 and 2016 teams for the third-most SEC wins in a season in program history.> Rookie forward Keyshawn Bryant has put together a solid freshman season resume thus far. The Winter Haven, Fla., native has 13 double-figure scoring games, including in each of the last three outings, averaging 14.7 points per game during the stretch.> Senior forward Chris Silva has led or shared the team lead in scoring 12 times, in rebounding 15, blocks 22 and he has a team high 22 double-figure scoring games this season. Over his last five games, he is averaging 17.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.> According to KenPom.com's Efficiency and Tempo data (March 12), South Carolina has played at the fastest offensive pace in the SEC this season, with an average possession length of 15.7 seconds (23rd in the nation). That is faster than the noted up-tempo offenses of Arkansas and Auburn. It is the fastest pace that a Frank Martin-coached team has ever played at South Carolina.> Rookie guard A.J. Lawson is fourth among freshmen in the SEC in scoring (overall games) at 13.9 points per game this season.> Silva's 1.97 blocked shots per game (overall games), rank fourth in the SEC and 40th nationally. In SEC play, he blocked 2.05 shots per game.> Entering SEC play, Carolina ranked 300th nationally (NCAA stats games through Jan. 2) in 3-point field goal percent, averaging just 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. In the most recent NCAA stats (games through March 11), Carolina is 81st nationally at 36.5 percent.> Rookie guard A.J. Lawson (48-133), senior guard Hassani Gravett (64-155) and graduate student guard Tre Campbell (47-127) have combined to hit 159 of Carolina's 232 3-pointers this season, connecting on 38.3 percent of their attempts.> Five different Gamecocks have registered at least 30 assists on the season, led by Lawson's 83 (3.0 per game).> Senior guard Hassani Gravett has 20 games this season with multiple made 3-point baskets, including hitting four at A&M on March 5.> The Gamecocks are 8-2 when having 15 or more assists.> Carolina is 12-7 when making six or more 3-point baskets.> Senior forward Chris Silva has a team high 61 blocks, which surpasses his career high for a season (51 in 37 games in 2016-17).> The Gamecocks are 12-3 when outrebounding their opponent, including a 8-0 mark when outrebounding opponents in SEC play.> Carolina is 11-3 this season when leading at the half.> South Carolina returns seven letterwinners from last season's 17-16 squad, including senior guard Hassani Gravett and senior forward Chris Silva.> Carolina welcomed nine newcomers to its roster this season, including transfers and six freshmen student-athletes. Jair Bolden (transfer/George Washington/guard), redshirt-junior Raymond "Quad" Borup (r-junior/forward), graduate transfer Tre Campbell (transfer/Georgetown/guard), Keyshawn Bryant (freshman/guard), Jermaine Couisnard (freshman/guard), Alanzo Frink (freshman/forward), A.J. Lawson (freshman/guard), T.J. Moss(freshman/guard) and Nathan Nelson (freshman/forward).COMING UP NEXTThe winner of Friday's contest will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of the first quarterfinal matchup, which will feature the winner of the No. 8 seed Florida vs. No. 9 seed Arkansas matchup, against the Tournament's top seed, LSU.
  18. Bracket Set For 2019 SEC Tournament Men's Basketball | 3/10/2019 Story Links PRINTABLE BRACKET (PDF) COLUMBIA, S.C. - The bracket is set for the 2019 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, which will be held next week, Wed., March 13-Sun., March 17, in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena. Top-seeded LSU (16-2), No. 2 seed Kentucky (15-3), No. 3 Tennessee (15-3) and No. 4 South Carolina (11-7) have received double-byes in next week's event (MORE)
  19. USA Today: USC’s Frank Martin among the 25 highest paid coaches in the country March 13, 2019 South Carolina has a reputation as a school where basketball takes a backseat to football. If men’s basketball coach Frank Martin’s salary is any indication, that’s not exactly true. According to USA Today’s annual database, Martin’s salary of $2.95 million a year ranks 22nd in the the country. The seventh-year head man has his team at 16-15 heading into the SEC tournament, off a season with a brutal schedule and rash of injuries. Martin comes in fifth in the SEC behind Kentucky’s John Calipari ($9.28 million, 1st overall), Tennessee’s Rick Barnes ($3.25 million, 14th), Georiga’s Tom Crean ($3.2 million, 16th) and Alabama’s Avery Johnson ($3.06 million, 19th). Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is the only coach beside Calipari above $5 million at $7.04 million. The data also shows Martin earned $60,000 in bonuses last season, and his $12.6 million buyout after the season is 15th nationally. Martin has made the NCAA Tournament only once in his seven seasons, but he led the Gamecocks to the first Final Four in program history. That team won the program’s first tournament game since 1972. To make the tournament again, South Carolina will almost assuredly have to win the SEC auto-bid, as some bad losses offset some big wins on USC’s schedule.
  20. WATCH: Frank Martin & selected player from today's news conference plus the latest on AJ. Lawson March 12, 2019 AJ. Lawson, Chris Silva, Hassani Gravett News Conference — 3/12/19 Frank Martin News Conference — 3/12/19 Freshly minted as an All-SEC freshman team member, A.J. Lawson met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since spraining his ankle. He sounded like a player ready for a return to the floor. “I feel like I’ve been healing very quickly,” Lawson said at Colonial Life Arena. “I’ve been getting better day by day and I’m just thankful. And I’m trying to get on the court as much as I can, do more things and as the day goes on, just see how it goes.” The fourth-seeded Gamecocks (16-15 overall, 11-7 SEC) have a double-bye in the SEC Tournament and won’t play until a quarterfinal game Friday afternoon against either fifth-seeded Auburn (22-9, 11-7), 12th-seeded Missouri (14-16, 5-13) or 13th-seeded Georgia (11-20, 2-16). By then, Frank Martin said Tuesday, he’ll have a firm decision on whether Lawson returns from a three-game absence. “A.J.’s been doing more and more every day,” said the USC coach. “We’re gonna make a decision of him Thursday at our practice (in Nashville).” Martin said Lawson participated in the team’s shoot-around before the Georgia game last Saturday and has followed up with practice reps. “(Wednesday),” Martin said, “he’s gonna participate in more stuff and then Thursday the plan is to try and turn him loose and see what happens there. That’s the plan with him.” Lawson, USC’s first member of the All-SEC freshman team since Sindarius Thornwell in 2014, is averaging 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3 assists per game. “Right now, I’m just taking it day by day to get better and better to be on that court and show my best,” Lawson said, “be 100 percent and be out there and help my team out.”
  21. Chris Silva lands SEC honor after monster week to close regular season March 11, 2019 After failing to record a single rebound in a loss at Missouri, South Carolina’s Chris Silva responded by scoring 46 points and grabbing 27 boards over the Gamecocks next two games — both wins. Not bad. Such a bounce-back allowed Silva to be named SEC co-Player of the Week. The league announced the honor Monday morning. This marks the first time a Gamecock has landed this kind of honor since Sindarius Thornwell in February 2017. Silva had 24 points and 10 rebounds — good for his 11th double-double of the season, seventh in SEC play and 26th time of his career — in the 66-46 win over Georgia on Saturday. Afterward, Bulldogs coach Tom Crean referenced the Missouri performance to help best frame Silva’s resiliency.
  22. FeatheredCock

    Bracket Set For 2019 SEC Tournament

    Bracket Set For 2019 SEC Tournament Men's Basketball | 3/10/2019 Story Links PRINTABLE BRACKET (PDF) COLUMBIA, S.C. - The bracket is set for the 2019 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, which will be held next week, Wed., March 13-Sun., March 17, in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena. Top-seeded LSU (16-2), No. 2 seed Kentucky (15-3), No. 3 Tennessee (15-3) and No. 4 South Carolina (11-7) have received double-byes in next week's event.South Carolina finished the 2019 league campaign with an 11-7 record and two-straight victories to finish out the season, including a 66-46 victory over Georgia on Senior Day at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks began the league campaign 4-0, kicking off the season with a 71-69 road win at Florida on Jan. 5, and also captured road victories at Vanderbilt, Georgia and Texas A&M. The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, and will face the winner of the No. 5 Auburn (11-7) vs. No. 12 Missouri (5-13)/No. 13 Georgia (2-16) contest on Friday afternoon 25 minutes following the conclusion of the session's opening game, which tips at 1 p.m. ET. Carolina is 21-27 all-time in SEC Tournament action, including a 1-1 record in last year's event as the No. 11 seed. Gamecock head coach Frank Martin is 5-6 all-time in the SEC postseason event.Below is a complete schedule of the 2019 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament. Fans should continue to visit Gamecocksonline.com for updates on Carolina basketball.Wednesday, March 1312 Missouri vs. 13 Georgia SEC Network 7:00 pm11 Texas A&M vs. 14 Vanderbilt SEC Network TBD*Thursday, March 148 Florida vs. 9 Arkansas SEC Network 1:00 pm5 Auburn vs. Game 1 Winner SEC Network TBD*7 Ole Miss vs. 10 Alabama SEC Network 7:00 pm6 Mississippi St. vs. Game 2 Winner SEC Network TBD*Friday, March 151 LSU vs. Game 3 Winner ESPN 1:00 pm4 South Carolina vs. Game 4 Winner ESPN TBD*2 Kentucky vs. Game 5 Winner SEC Network 7:00 pm3 Tennessee vs. Game 6 Winner SEC Network TBD*Saturday, March 16Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner ESPN 1:00 pmGame 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner ESPN TBD*Sunday, March 17Championship Game ESPN 1:00 pm
  23. South Carolina routs Georgia, clinches 4-seed and double-bye in SEC Tournament March 09, 2019 Chris Silva and Hassani Gravett traded grins and a couple hand-slaps. One half from their final home game ending at South Carolina, USC’s seniors could afford to take a moment for themselves. The Gamecocks will be the No. 4 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament. They’ll have an all-important double bye in Nashville thanks to their most veteran players guiding a 66-46 rout of Georgia on Saturday afternoon. Silva had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Gravett had 12 points and Tre Campbell added 11 as the Gamecocks built a 23-point halftime lead en route to their 11th SEC win. Georgia (11-20, 2-16) tried to spoil an ideal Senior Day with a second half rally, but the Bulldogs never got to within single digits over the final 20 minutes. Not long after a pre-game ceremony, Silva, Gravett and Campbell looked like a trio wanting to go out with a bang. They scored 38 of USC’s 44 first half points. Two Silva free throws at the 13:42 mark began a 31-8 half-closing run that was capped by two more Silva FTs. In between, there was an aggressive “And-1” drive from Campbell, a couple 3s from Gravett and a top-of-the key swish from Silva. The team of seven scholarship players — as A.J. Lawson missed his his third straight game because of a sprained ankle — was the more energetic bunch against a Georgia team that entered having already clinched the SEC Tournament’s 13-seed. The Bulldogs, though, showed fight in the second half. South Carolina started the period by missing 17 of its first 19 shots — allowing UGA to cut the lead to 10 on three occasions — before back-to-back buckets from Keyshawn Bryant (dunk) and Maik Kotsar (short jumper) gave Carolina some breathing room with four minutes left. Bryant scored eight of his 14 points in the second half.

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