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Nov. 23, 2014

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

Team 1st 2nd Total
Akron 30 38 68
South Carolina 25 38 63
Coach Martin and Sindarius Thornwell

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Gamecocks (2-3) wrapped up play at the Charleston Classic Sunday evening, dropping a 68-63 contest to Akron (3-1). Shooting slumps bookending the game would be the difference as the Carolina offense lost its third game of the season by five points or less.

The offense struggled to find its rhythm in the first half. After a jumper from Sindarius Thornwell in the team’s first possession of the game, the Gamecocks missed their next eight shots and was 1-of-12 while the Zips went ahead 10-4. While the team’s shooting luck would improve, it would shoot just 29 percent from the floor in the first half.

Akron was never able to put up a big lead during the Carolina cold streak thanks to solid rebounding and a strong defensive effort. After a layup at the 6:19 mark to put the Zips ahead 21-18, they would hit just 1-of-9 attempts until the halftime horn. Free throws would carry them to the break, as they made seven in the final four minutes.

Coming in averaging 12 offensive rebounds per game, the Gamecocks had 15 in the first half alone to allow them to attempt 11 more shots. Thornwell had four offensive boards on his own, as did Mindaugas Kacinas. Marcus Stroman led the offense with six points in 15 minutes off the bench.

The Zips came out of the locker room on a hot streak offensively, hitting six of their first seven shots to build their biggest lead of the night at the 16-minute mark, 44-32. A quick 7-0 run from the Gamecocks cut into that margin and forced a timeout, with layups from Kacinas and Chatkevicius that sandwhiched a 3-pointer from Duane Notice.

After avoiding a big deficit, the Gamecocks chased the Zips over the next six minutes of the game with the lead fluctuating from eight down to one before a Chakevicius free throw with 6:55 to play brought about the game’s first tie since it was 2-2.

The Carolina offense went into a four-minute scoreless stretch soon after the tie that allowed Akron to build up a 63-58 lead before a Thornwell jumper with 34 seconds left. Turnovers on four straight possessions in that stretch for South Carolina would be the key.

After Thornwell’s jumper made it 63-60, the Zips hit 5-of-6 free throws to maintain a two-possession lead and outlast the final comeback.

Thornwell led the team with 13 points and was joined in double figures by Chatkevicius (11) and Duane Notice (12). The team pulled down a season-high 21 offensive rebounds, leading to 14 more shots than Akron and 17 second-chance points.


Turnovers on four straight offensive possessions from the 2:59 mark until just 34 seconds remained allowed the Zips to build a two-possession game and run out the clock.

KEY STAT After hitting just 6-of-13 free throws in the second half, Carolina would make just 11-of-20 overall for its worst day of the season from the charity stripe.


  • The Gamecocks owned the boards with a 45-32 advantage for the game and have out-rebounded the opposition in each game this season.
  • The Gamecocks entered Sunday averaging 12 offensive rebounds per game. They would have 15 by halftime and 21 for the game. Demetrius Henry led the team with seven offensive boards.
  • After leading the team again with 13 points, Sindarius Thornwell wrapped up the weekend averaging 15.7 points in the tournament.
  • The total margin of defeat in three games this season for Carolina has been just 11 points.

QUOTABLE South Carolina head coach Frank Martin on what he learned about his team playing three games in four days
“That we are right there. We’re coming off a stretch where you’re playing Baylor, who is a Sweet 16 team last year. We play Charlotte who – look at the run they had last year at this time of the year – four of their starters, three are four year guys, and one of them is a three year guy. They understand a little better than us. We’re right there with Baylor, right there with them [Charlotte], once again today. We didn’t play real well today. We didn’t. But I don’t want to take away from Akron. That’s not fair to those kids and that program. Those kids earned that win and we didn’t. But we’re right there. Someone asked the question to start, but we’re maybe four possessions away from being undefeated. But, we’re not. Bottom line is we need to understand that we’re that close and we have some problems we need to fix. If we don’t fix them we’ll continue to fall short. If we fix them, we’ll be ok.”


The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena Wednesday, hosting North Carolina-Asheville at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs enter at 2-3, coming off a Saturday loss to East Tennessee State.