Dec. 13, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Bruce Ellington tallied a season high 15 points to lead South Carolina (4-5) to its second straight win with a 66-58 victory over Presbyterian (4-5) Tuesday night at the Colonial Life Arena.
Ellington, who has increased his scoring output in all three games that he has played since returning to the team, also hit his season high marks with three assists and a steal. Malik Cooke was nearly perfect in his 14-point night, going 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-3 from the charity stripe. He also made his lone attempt from 3-point range.
Freshman Anthony Gill put together a 10-point, 8-rebound effort, and sophomore Damontre Harris matched his career high with five blocks in the game.
After beginning the night cold from the field and falling behind 20-10 midway through the first half, South Carolina used a 12-0 run over a two-minute period in the second half to turn the tide.
Trailing 30-28, Ellington’s free throw on the backend of a three-point play with 15:37 remaining in the game gave the Gamecocks their first lead of the game at 31-30. Brian Richardson added two on Carolina’s next possession, and Cooke finished a reverse layup in transition to push the lead to 35-30.
Following a timeout, Cooke responded with five more unanswered points to give the Gamecocks a double-digit lead before the Blue Hose ended the bleeding with a bucket with 13:41 remaining in the game.
Presbyterian was unable to pull within four points for the remainder of the contest with South Carolina swelling its lead to as many as 14 points. The Gamecocks shot 70.4 percent from the field in the second half after only hitting 7-of-29 shots in the first half.
The Gamecocks return to action Saturday at noon when No. 2/2 Ohio State comes to Columbia for a nationally-televised matchup on ESPN.