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GAMECOCK-GAMEDAY THREAD: ***South Carolina vs. North Alabama ***Nov. 06, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.***

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**Nov. 06, 2019 - Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.**

 v_qSWobmD1Cf4q9hlMLLzA_96x96.pngSouth Carolina Gamecocks vs. NORTH ALABAMA University of North Alabama Logo

 
post-2-0-25453800-1507925964.png  Here you go free to listen if not near a radio or TV

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Predictions for South Carolina men’s basketball season

South Carolina begins season No. 8 under Frank Martin when it hosts North Alabama on Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena. Here are six bold predictions for what could happen over the next four months:

 JERMAINE COUISNARD WILL FINISH SECOND ON THE TEAM IN SCORING

A.J. Lawson scored 23 points in last Wednesday’s exhibition win over CIU — and that’s without taking a shot until South Carolina’s ninth possession. The sophomore was selective with his offensive aggression, and still wound up having eight more points than any of his teammates. With Chris Silva gone, expect Lawson’s scoring to go from 13 a game to in the 15-18 range. He’s a shoo-in to lead the Gamecocks in that category. The real question is who finishes behind Lawson.

Here’s a vote for Jermaine Couisnard. While he’s yet to play in a college game, the redshirt freshman has received endorsements from the likes of Jo Jo English, Sindarius Thornwell and R.J. Barrett. He also had two 40-point games in the SC Pro-Am over the summer.

Couisnard could begin the season as the sixth man, but expect major minutes for the East Chicago native. Frank Martin said last Wednesday that Lawson and Couisnard play “really, really well” together.

A Gamecock hasn’t been selected in the first round of the NBA draft since Renaldo Balkman in 2006, but Lawson is trending to break that drought.

He tested the professional waters after an All-SEC freshman season, but opted to return for another year with the Gamecocks. It should serve well both the player and program. Lawson had a great summer of exposure in leading his homeland of Canada to the quarterfinal round of the FIBA under-19 World Cup and then being selected as a participant in Chris Paul’s camp.

Position versatility is key at the next level. The lanky guard can play anywhere from the point to the wing. His seven assists against CIU — the second-most of his career, if the game counted — are a sign of an improved skill set.

By the end of this season, Lawson will have a good feel for where he stands with NBA prospects. He’ll face six players — including Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, the potential No. 1 pick -- who are among Sports Illustrated’s first round mock draft.

 FRANK MARTIN WILL GET HIS FIRST WIN AT CLEMSON

Martin has two wins in seven years against the Tigers, neither of them coming on Clemson’s campus. South Carolina won as the road team in 2015-16, but the game was played in Greenville as Littlejohn Coliseum was being renovated.

Littlejohn will host the rivals Dec. 15. South Carolina should enter at 7-3 or better while Clemson, coming off a conference game at Florida State, figures to be 7-2 or worse.

The Tigers, picked to finish 11th in the ACC, lost four starters off last year’s team. Adding Alabama transfer — and Columbia native — Tevin Mack helps Clemson, but USC has a deeper roster, particularly if Keyshawn Bryant returns from his knee injury by this time.

This game, sandwiched between Houston at home and Virginia on the road, is part of Carolina’s most important stretch of the non-conference season. South Carolina needs it to boost an NCAA Tournament résumé. Expect the Gamecocks to break their three-game skid to the Tigers.

 SOUTH CAROLINA WILL THREATEN A SCHOOL RECORD FOR 3-POINT ATTEMPTS

The Gamecocks are a guard-oriented bunch in Year 1 of the post-Silva era. Yes, they’ll still play inside-out offensively, but Martin knows where their strengths are — and he’ll coach accordingly.

Lawson, Couisnard, Jair Bolden, Justin Minaya and T.J. Moss can all launch. With Couisnard out for an illness, the other four combined to go 8 of 12 from 3-point range against CIU, with Lawson and Bolden hitting three apiece.

Even with Silva as the offensive centerpiece, South Carolina took an average of 21.5 and 20.6 3s per game the last two seasons, the highest marks of the Martin era. Take Silva — and his paint presence — out and the Gamecocks are likely to top those numbers. The school record for 3 attempts in a season is 760, which the 2001-02 team did over 37 games (20.5 average).

If the Gamecocks average 22 3-attempts over 35 games — a projected four beyond the regular season — they’ll get to 770.

 WILDENS LEVEQUE WILL LEAD ALL TRUE FRESHMEN IN MINUTES, THE WHOLE TEAM IN BLOCKS

In Martin’s seven seasons at South Carolina he’s had at least one true freshman average at least 19 minutes per game. There are really only two candidates to keep that tradition alive in 2019-20.

Guard depth will make it difficult on Trae Hannibal or Trey Anderson to crack the rotation, but Wildens Leveque and Jalyn McCreary are in a good position. Bryant’s injury means Martin will shy away early from a small lineup, allowing a true “four” or power forward to start next to Maik Kotsar.

Here’s to giving a slight edge to the 6-foot-11 Leveque over a 6-7 McCreary, 6-7 Alanzo Frink and 6-9 Micaiah Henry. Leveque’s defensive potential is better fit to fill the void left by Silva.

 SOUTH CAROLINA WILL WIN 21 GAMES, BE SWEATING OUT SELECTION SUNDAY

Even with Bryant’s injury, a 20-11 (10-8 SEC) regular season seems doable. Add a 1-1 showing in the SEC Tournament and you’ll have an interesting résumé for the NCAA Tournament committee.

How did the Gamecocks go 10-3 in the non-conference? Here’s to saying USC beats Wichita State in Cancun and then goes 2-2 against West Virginia, Clemson, Houston and Virginia.

What’s included in the 10-8 conference record? Here’s to saying the Gamecocks win their home games against Florida and Tennessee, but road wins only come at Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

All enough to be back in the Big Dance? Here’s to saying yes — as an 11-seed sent to Dayton for a “First Four” game.

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Gamecocks take a 37-27 lead into halftime. Justin Minaya leads the way with 10 1st half points, and freshman Jalyn McCreary has 8 pts. The Gamecocks are either playing great scoring defense, or N. Alabama cannot shoot, as the UNA Lions are 6-32 (19%) in the 1st half, and 0 for 12 from behind the arc.

South Carolina shot a healthy 16-32 (52%) in the first half, so there is offense. That's bolstered by Minaya and McCreary shooting a combined 9-10 in the 1st half. A.J. Lawson had to sit with just 11 minutes of play due to picking up his 2nd foul - he has 3 pts and 3 assists, which currently leads the team.

Overall, UNA out-rebounded USC 22-21 in the 1st half: the Gamecocks are longer, but the Lions have been quicker to the caroms. The fouls have been pretty even as well, although two Lions have 3 fouls each, which could be a problem for them in the 2nd half. The fouls could be a problem for the Gamecocks too, as they were 5 for 11 (45%) from the stripe thus far...

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To start the second half, North Alabama made a furious run where during the first 5 minutes or so, they controlled the game. The score got to 43-39 around the 15 minute mark - lots of sloppy basketball from both teams with turnovers and fouls, but the Lions found their shooting touch while the Gamecocks left theirs in their locker-room.

But the Gamecocks righted themselves, and started putting better effort into rebounding UNA's misses, and went on a huge 18-3 run, led by Minaya. At the 10 minute mark, they lead UNA by 20 now, 61-41.....

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Gamecocks win 77-55 over North Alabama to open their 2019-20 season with a win. It was a game with solid bursts of offense wrapped in periods of sloppy play with tons of turnovers and penalties, but that's a Frank Martin-signature basketball game: physical, intense defenses that turn games into ugly affairs on purpose.

Justin Minaya returned to College basketball from his season-ending injury last season with a vengence, as he led the Gamecocks with 17 pts on 7-10 shooting and a career-high 11 rebounds. Jair Bolden added 14 pts on 5-9 shooting, and 8 boards of his own.

Jalyn McCreary and Jermaine Couisnard added 9 pts each on 4-5 and 3-6 shooting, respectively. A.J. Lawson chipped in 8 pts mostly off of free-throw shooting, but led the team with 4 assists. Overall the Gamecocks shot 49% from the field while holding the Lions to 25% shooting. The Lions were determined to turn the game into a 3-point scoring affair but they just couldn't do it - they shot 2-21 from behind the arc.

This Sunday the Gamecocks return to action as they host an infamous opponent in the Colonial Life Arena, in Wyoming. The Cowboys defeated USC last season in a loss that haunted the Gamecocks all season long. Tip-off is at noon......

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Some observations: Alanzo Frink is our new Chris Silva, in an unfortunate way: he was decent when he was able to stay on the floor, with 6 pts on 3-3 shooting, mostly layups, but he fouled out in only 12 minutes of play. He picked up his first 3 fouls in 4 minutes of play. He needs to cut down on the fouling.

McCreary is a very talented, athletic freshman. He was almost out of control in his first game, but that's a forgivable offense. He picked up 4 fouls, and led the team with 5 turnovers, mostly all those from charges. The game officials were calling charges galore in the game - I don't know if the NCAA tweaked the interpretations of what a charge is and isn't, but this crew was set on writing their own chapter in the book tonight....

We NEED to improve our free throws. The team shot 19 of 36 (53%) from the line tonight, and it's the first game with a lot of youth and inexperience on the team right now, so that could very well improve as the season progresses. But to be the type of physical defensive team that Coach Martin loves, we'll be heading to the FT line tons this season: hitting those shots will help out tremendously. We beat the Lions by 20 tonight, and still left a lot of points on the court....

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Coach Martin played a lot of his bench tonight, which will hopefully pay dividends later in the season.  I can't remember a time when Coach had a bench this long...hopefully they will be able to contribute meaningful minutes.  It would be great if we could keep the defense turned up to 11, and just keep rotating a fresh person in.

I'm sure as in-conference games approach, Coach Martin will settle on his "go to" players and the rotation will slim down, but the out-of-conference part of the schedule should be fun.

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I am just glad the basketball season started so much better than the football season and they won a game they were expected to win. Always great to see the bench come in and add 26 points. That in itself is big.

Coach Martin might do wonders with the team this year. I think Sunday afternoon we will see some vengeance. They will go into that game determined. I predict 11-2 non conf. for a good start to the season. If Martin can develop them enough we should see them make the show this year.  I think they got what it takes.

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30 minutes ago, AikenGameFan said:

I am just glad the basketball season started so much better than the football season and they won a game they were expected to win. Always great to see the bench come in and add 26 points. That in itself is big.

Coach Martin might do wonders with the team this year. I think Sunday afternoon we will see some vengeance. They will go into that game determined. I predict 11-2 non conf. for a good start to the season. If Martin can develop them enough we should see them make the show this year.  I think they got what it takes.

Bold prediction taking into account some of our opponents... Houston, GW, Virginia, Cleveland St, Clem (we owe them another beat down).

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4 hours ago, Cockypantherfan said:

Bold prediction taking into account some of our opponents... Houston, GW, Virginia, Cleveland St, Clem (we owe them another beat down).

Houston, Virginia and Clemsux will be tough but I think we will take at least one of those.

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after the game frank wasnt happy with the perimeter defense and the rebounding but felt we got better in those areas in the 2nd half.  he was talking about how good the team looked early in camp but lately bryant out and some guys in a weakened state or missing practice due to being sick practice hasnt been good.  kotsar was mentioned as looking good in camp having a bad practice prior to the game which caused frank not to expect him to play that well, but he expects him to bounce back.  he called cousinard the best perimeter defender on the team, but the worst perimeter defender in last night's game.  he and everyone else got blown by too often however he did recover on one play to make a nice block that gives an indication of his instincts and ability to be a lot better on that end.  hannibal was singled out as being the one guy who he felt competed defensively on a high enough level. 

 

im being negative, but i still think theres enough talent and depth for us to stay in good shape until bryant gets back. 

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