Dec. 30, 2014
|SCORE BY PERIODS|
|North Carolina A&T||16||38||54|
|Shamiek Sheppard and Mindaugas Kacinas|
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team showed little signs of rust from the holiday break, clicking on both ends of the floor in a convincing 91-54 win over North Carolina A&T (2-13) Tuesday night. Six different players scored in double figures for the Gamecocks (8-3), who shot 56 percent from the floor.
Strong man-to-man defense by the Gamecocks forced three early turnovers, and A&T was not able to even attempt a field goal until almost three full minutes had passed. It did not make a field goal until the 16:40 mark, as South Carolina built an early 10-2 lead before the first media timeout.
Laimonas Chatkevicius scored seven points with five rebounds in the first five minutes of the game, and led all scorers with nine points at the break. Despite a high success rate from deep, making 3-of-5 attempts in the first half, the Gamecocks opted to take it in the paint offensively. That led to great success, as they would make 13-of-22 two-point field goals and outscored the Aggies 24-4 in the paint for the opening 20 minutes and 42-14 for the game.
Marcus Stroman spearheaded the team’s fast break attack early, passing out five assists to go with five rebounds and three points in nine minutes of the opening frame. Three of those assists would come on fast-break layups. The freshman guard finished with five points, seven assists and five rebounds.
The Aggies went almost five minutes without a field goal from the eight-minute mark until 3:10 to go in the half, allowing the Gamecocks to take a 40-12 lead. The margin would grow as large as 47-16 before the teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime. North Carolina A&T shot 20 percent in the half (5-of-25) and did not hit on any of its seven 3-point attempts.
In the second half the Aggies were able to find a rhythm offensively, but still could not keep the Gamecocks from scoring inside. The Garnet and Black again hit better than half of its attempts from the field in the final 20 minutes and also made 16 free throws in that span.
Mindaugas Kacinas led the charge offensively coming out of the break, scoring eight points and pulling down four rebounds in 10 minutes off the bench. He had his second perfect shooting game of the season, making all five field goals and also hit all six free throw attempts. He finished with a game-high 16 points, just two off matching his career high.
The team’s 55.8 percent success rate for the game is the fifth-highest in any game during the Frank Martin era, and the 91 points are second only to last season’s 92 scored against Marshall.
The Gamecocks held the Aggies to just two made field goals in the first seven minutes of the game, racing out to a 19-4 lead that it would never relinquish. The defense keyed the fast start, forcing six turnovers and five missed field goals in that span.
KEY STAT The Gamecocks shot 82 percent from the free throw line in the game (28-of-34). Four players were perfect from the charity stripe, led by Mindaugas Kacinas’ six makes. It was the second-most free throws made during Coach Martin’s tenure. The season high coming into Tuesday night for Carolina was 19.
- Shamiek Sheppard made his collegiate debut late in the first half. The freshman made a successful return from knee surgery over the summer and played five minutes for the game. He scored his first points in the closing seconds of the game on a corner 3, much to the delight of the crowd at Colonial Life Arena.
- The six-game win streak is the longest by Carolina under Frank Martin and is the most in a row since the 2010-11 campaign.
- Tonight was the third game scoring over 80 points this season for South Carolina and the first game of the season scoring over 90 points.
- South Carolina has won six straight games by double figures for the first time since the 1944-45 season.
- The 37-point win is the largest margin of victory this season and the largest since a 38-point win over Longwood Nov. 9, 2013.
- Along with Mindaugas Kacinas, each of the five starters scored in double figures. Those top six scorers combined to shoot 23-of-38 from the field and 24-of-27 at the free throw line.
QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
I am really happy with how we played. I thought our mindset was very good in practice coming into the game, and I thought we went out and played the game the right way. We had some turnovers in the first half away from the ball, those cannot happen. We had turnovers when we were throwing it to guys, and instead of just fending off with their bodies, they were grabbing the defender to try and keep him away; you cannot have those turnovers. I don’t know why we had them, we have not had them all year but we had them today. But again, 20 assists, that means you have guys playing through your structure. We can make the extra pass, and then obviously you can make all the extra passes you want but the ball has got to go in the basket for an assist to register, but we have some guys that are making shots.
The non-conference season will come to an end on Saturday, Jan. 3, as the Gamecocks travel to New York City to take on Iowa State in the Barclays Center as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Presents series. The Cyclones are currently ranked ninth in the country and enters a Wednesday night matchup with Mississippi Valley State with a 9-1 record. The two programs have never met, but Coach Martin was 7-3 against them in his time at Kansas State.
TWEETS OF THE GAME
— plasticgirl (@koenig71) December 30, 2014
— Bob Grant (@BGrantPrincipal) December 31, 2014