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Nov. 18, 2014

Final Stats | Quotes | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif | media-icon-photogallery.gif Photo Gallery

Team 1st 2nd Total
Baylor 30 39 69
South Carolina 27 38 65
Coach Martin
Tyrone Johnson and Sindarius Thornwell

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team hosted Baylor Tuesday afternoon as part of the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The noon start wouldn’t faze either side, as the physical matchup was closely contested throughout. The Bears (2-0) were able to keep Carolina (1-1) at arm’s length for much of the game, and were able to seal the game with a pair of free throws late in a 69-65 win.

Senior guard Tyrone Johnson scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Gamecocks in a game that featured six ties and six lead changes.

Both teams were cold in first half, with Carolina shooting 32 percent and Baylor 38. It was even colder from deep, with the two sides combining to hit just three of 20 3-point attempts. The charity stripe would be the most forgiving area, with Baylor hitting 11-of-12 and Carolina making 9-of-10.

Baylor controlled the game early, but a 7-0 run from 9:23 to 7:15 of first half gave the Gamecocks an 18-16 lead. As was the case all day long, when one side seemed to gain momentum it would be quickly snatched away, and the Bears would use a quick 6-0 run in the final two minutes of the half to take a 30-27 lead. A Johnathan Motley jumper that fell just before the buzzer capped the run, the forward would lead all scorers in the half with 13.

The Gamecocks went for much of the opening frame without starters Duane Notice (four minutes) and Demetrius Henry (seven), who were plagued by early foul trouble.

In the final 20 minutes, the Gamecocks were unable to cut deep enough into the Baylor lead, taking a brief 36-35 lead with 16:55 to play before a 12-4 run from the visitors put them ahead for good. With Motley picking up his fourth foul with 13:19 to play, Baylor’s senior guard Kenny Chery made up for the scoring slack by scoring 18 of his 20 points in the second half.

The combo of Johnson and Sindarius Thornwell would counter the Baylor duo all game long, though, with Johnson’s 21 and Thornwell’s 16 leading the offense. After scoring 42 points as a group in the season opener against North Florida, the Carolina bench scored just 14 on Tuesday, with 10 coming from another strong performance by freshman Marcus Stroman. The point guard scored 10 points with five rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes of action.

The Bears converted a turnover into a basket with 4:43 to play in the game that completed a 7-0 run to give them their biggest lead of the game at 64-54. The Gamecocks responded with a 7-0 run of their own over the next two minutes to make it 64-61 thanks to a fast-break layup from Thornwell and three straight points from Stroman to put a bow on the run.

A dunk from Michael Carrera with 32 seconds to go cut it to a one-possession game, 66-63, but after Baylor hit the front end of a pair of free throws the Gamecocks missed a 3 in transition and took up too much time committing a foul. Despite Taurean Prince missing both free throws on the other end, the home side was left with less than three seconds following a layup by Johnson to make it 67-65.

After a Gamecock foul on the inbounds pass, Chery hit both attempts at the line to take away the chance at a buzzer-beater.


After South Carolina took a 36-35 lead with 16:55 to play, Baylor hit four straight field goals and a pair of free throws to take a 47-40 lead.

KEY STAT Baylor Guard Kenny Chery scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, including a pair of free throws with a second to play to make it a two-possession game.


  • South Carolina out-rebounded Baylor 33-29, collecting 13 offensive rebounds in the process. Demetrius Henry pulled down eight to lead the team.
  • The Gamecock offense had four players score in double figures, with Marcus Stroman (10) and Michael Carrera (10) joining Thornwell and Johnson.
  • Johnson scored his 19th point with 6:46 to play in the game. He is the first player to score 20 or more in a game for the Gamecocks since Duane Notice against Auburn on March 12.
  • Tuesday’s game is the first of a stretch of four over the next six days. The team will play three games over the weekend at the Charleston Classic.

QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin

Opening Statement
We will be better because of this game. It’s a shame we let a great opportunity for our program kind of escape because you always want to win. For this team, this is good. Losing, not losing is good. This game is good. Losing is never good. I never understand how losing helps your team. But playing this kind of game is good for a team especially this early. You play real good games and it makes everyone look in the mirror and make sure they are doing their part and that’s what this kind of game does for us.

UP NEXT Carolina will open play at the Charleston Classic with a 7:30 p.m. game against Cornell on Thursday. The Big Red is 1-1 heading into a Tuesday night game against Colgate.