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Nov. 20, 2014

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

Team 1st 2nd Total
Cornell 21 24 45
South Carolina 35 34 69
Coach Martin
Sindarius Thornwell & Mindaugas Kacinas

CHARLESTON, S.C. – An opportunistic defense would drive the South Carolina men’s basketball team to a win over Cornell on the opening night of the Charleston Classic, held at TD Arena. The Gamecocks (2-1) forced 17 turnovers en route to a 69-45 win, holding the Big Red (2-2) to 27 percent shooting from the field.

Sindarius Thornwell led the team with 14 points despite playing just six minutes of the second half. Mindaugas Kacinas pulled down 11 rebounds to go with 10 points for the team’s first double-double of the season and his partner on the post Laimonas Chatkevicius added eight points and seven boards off the bench. Every player on the active roster saw time on the floor, with ten scoring at least two points.

After an even start to the game, Carolina went on a 13-0 run from the 15:20 mark until just under ten minute remaining to open up a 22-11 lead. Five different players contributed to the game-changing run. Thornwell led the early charge, scoring 10 of the team’s first 12 points before ending the half with 13.

Bench play would be the difference maker in the first 20 minutes, as the Gamecock reserves outscored their Cornell counterparts 15-0. Kacinas and Chatkevicius combined for 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Marcus Stroman pitched in five points and three steals.

Though it would shoot just 36 percent as a team, Carolina carried a 35-21 lead into the break after forcing 13 turnovers and limiting the Big Red to a tiny 30 percent on 7-of-23 shooting. The Gamecocks had averaged just 13 turnovers forced per game in its first two contests of the 2014-15 season coming into Thursday night.

The second half would be no different, as the lead would dip to 13 with 18:49 to play, but a 13-1 run from then until the 13:19 mark set the team back on the right path. The lead would grow to as large as 28 points. The key in the final 20 minutes would be rebounding, as the Gamecocks enjoyed a 23-15 advantage over a Cornell side that shot just 24 percent in the period.


Five different players scored in a five-minute stretch of the first half that turned an 11-9 Cornell lead into a 22-11 advantage for the Gamecocks. It would never give back the lead.

KEY STAT The defense forced a season-best 17 turnovers and allowed a season-low 27 percent from the field to Cornell.


  • The last time the Carolina defense held an opponent to under 50 points was Longwood on Nov. 9, 2013. Cornell entered the day averaging 65.7 points per game in three contests.
  • The bench production for the Gamecocks was strong, outscoring Cornell’s bench 35-12. For the season, Carolina reserves own an 84-31 advantage.
  • Of its 22 total field goals made, the Gamecocks were credited with 16 assists. It committed just 11 turnovers.
  • Justin McKie scored a career-high eight points on a perfect day from the field, hitting two threes and a pair of free throws.

QUOTABLE “I’m real happy with the effort and the disciplines we played with on defense. I thought we were real sloppy offensively, but we stayed the course. I didn’t think our point guard play was real good today on offense. I don’t think our decision making there was as good as it needs to be. But at the end of the day, the guys were engaged, they competed, and we never allowed them [Cornell] to run their offense, so that allowed us to create open court opportunities. It was good to see us do that, especially after the last game when we never got any of those.” – Head coach Frank Martin’s opening statement following the Gamecock win over Cornell


Carolina will face Charlotte Friday night at 7 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPNU. The 49ers (2-0) earned a trip to the semifinals with a double-overtime win over Penn State, 106-97.