Dec. 21, 2014
|SCORE BY PERIODS
|South Carolina (7-3)
|Tyrone Johnson & Demetrius Henry
COLUMBIA, S.C. – – A reliable inside scoring attack helped lead South Carolina to its fifth-straight win of the season Sunday afternoon, as it defeated Coker College 78-52. The Gamecocks converted on well over half their two-point attempts and scored 50 points in the paint, helping to erase a brief deficit early in the game. The win moves Carolina to 7-3 and marks the first time since the 2012-13 season that the team has enjoyed a win streak this long.
The Cobras scored their first five points off of Gamecock turnovers and held a 5-0 upperhand with 16:46 to play, but back-to-back lay-ins from Tyrone Johnson and Duane Notice off Cobra turnovers halted the run. Both teams struggled to maintain possessions through the next several minutes of play, with the Gamecocks having eight turnovers and Coker seven before the under-12 minute media timeout.
A 3 from Coker’s Aubrey Daniel knotted the game at 13 with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half. The Gamecocks would score eight unanswered to lead 21-13 before a lay-in from Coker’s Jordan Scott stopped the run near the seven-minute mark.
Johnson took a defensive rebound coast-to-coast and pushed the Gamecock lead to nine at 30-21 with 2:27 to play, and Notice sank a 3 just before the break for a 35-23 Carolina upperhand at half.
Demetrius Henry contributed six points and a blocked shot in the final 3:29 of the half for nine points and two blocks at the break. Notice’s 12 points led the Gamecocks in the opening set, and Scott led Coker with seven points.
A pair of lay-ups from Notice and Henry and a 3 from Johnson pushed the Carolina lead to 18 points at 42-24 early in the second half. The team’s traded made baskets, but the Gamecocks began to pull away, leading by 20 with 11:47 to play at 50-30. Carolina would score the next six unanswered, capped by an emphatic breakaway dunk from Sindarius Thornwell.
South Carolina led by as many as 27 in the second half, taking advantage of its size in the interior to make 60 percent of its two-point field goals in the final 20 minutes (15-of-25).
After the foursome of Laimonas Chatkevicius, Henry, Johnson and Notice joined together to score all 35 of the team’s first-half points, the offense would be evenly distributed over the final 20 minutes. Six different players would score four points or more in the second half. Mindaugas Kacinas shined as the game wore down, collecting seven points and five rebounds in just seven minutes played in the final frame.
The Gamecocks outscored the Cobras 50-20 in the paint for the game and made 28-of-53 two-point field goal attempts. The 50 points in the paint is a season best for Carolina.
KEY STAT Chatkevicius, Henry, Johnson and Notice combined for 63 of the team’s 78 points. It wasn’t until a Sindarius Thornwell field goal with 10:03 to play in the second half that a member outside those four scored a point.
- Sunday’s game marked the first-ever meeting between the Gamecocks and Cobras.
- The Gamecocks accounted for 21 assists on 31 made baskets. Both tie for season highs, matching the output from the win over UNC-Asheville.
- This is the team’s fourth straight game allowing less than 60 points in a game. The team’s average margin of victory over the four December games thus far has been 23 points per game.
- Sophomore forward Demetrius Henry scored double-figures with 16 points vs. Coker, marking his third double-figure game this season.
- Henry also recorded a new career high with 16 points vs. Coker, eclipsing his previous career high of 15 points, which he set against UNC Asheville earlier this season.
- Sophomore guard Duane Notice reached double-figures for the sixth-straight game with 19 vs. the Cobras.
- Junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius set a new career high with eight field goals made and matched his previous career high in attempts. His 16 points was one shy of a new career high.
- Freshman Marcus Stroman set a new career high with eight assists and committed just one turnover.
QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
On picking things up in the second half
We obviously didn’t play very well offensively to start the game. We had turnovers, bad cuts, lazy cuts and bad passes. I think we had eight turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game. What never suffered was our defense. At least we were able to stay consistent and not lose steam. We weren’t great defensively, but we didn’t just break down and eventually we had some guys play the game the right way. That led to some baskets and we were able to create some separation.
South Carolina will break for the holidays and will next host North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 30 at Colonial Life Arena. The meeting vs. the Aggies will be the first all-time between South Carolina and North Carolina A&T.
TWEETS OF THE GAME