Nov. 18, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (4-0) picked up a non-conference home win Friday night after downing South Carolina State (1-2) 92-50. Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell led all scorers for the fourth-straight game with 22 points (8-of-15 from the field). It was Thornwell’s third 20-point game of the season.
Carolina went to the first media timeout up 11-3, after starting the game 5-of-7 from the field. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 13-8 after an Edward Stephens 3. The Gamecocks then held the Bulldogs scoreless for the next 3:25 (14:44 to 11:19). Two Khadim Gueye free throws and a jumper by Maik Kotsar pushed the lead back to nine at 17-8 at the 13:44 mark in the opening period.
In the first 10 minutes, Carolina held SC State to just 29 percent shooting (4-of-14). The Gamecocks were the exact opposite, starting the game shooting 59 percent from the field (10-for-17).
Kotsar put Carolina up 25-11 after a nifty reverse layup with 8:56 left in the opening half to force Bulldogs head coach Murray Garvin to take his first timeout of the game. After the timeout, the Gamecocks went on a 10-2 run after 3s from sophomore guard PJ Dozier and r-sophomore guard Hassani Gravett.
Thornwell pushed the lead to 40-18 after knocking down a corner 3 with five minutes left to play in the opening half. The Lancaster, S.C. native, then hit another 3 with 1:46 left to push Carolina’s lead to 45-23. The 3 gave him 16 first-half points, which led all scorers. The Gamecocks ended the half on a 5-0 run to take a 50-25 lead at the break. Kotsar had eight points at the break and led the team with seven rebounds. The Bulldogs did not connect for a field goal the final 2:41 of the first half and finished 9-for-28 (32 percent) from the field.
Carolina continued to build on its lead in the second half. Kotsar hit double-figures for the first time in his career with 16:54 left in the game after a put back lay-in off a Thornwell miss. The lay-in opened up a 30-point lead for the home team, 60-30.
The Gamecocks would lead by 26 or more for the rest of the night.
Kotsar, a native of Tallin, Estonia, finished the game with 15 points and eight rebounds. He was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field.
Chris Silva also was in double-figures with 11 points. He also had seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
Eric Eaves, the Bulldogs leading returner scorer, finished with a game-high 14 points for SC State.
Carolina held SC State to 30.9 percent shooting (16-of-52) from the field. The Gamecocks also had a +23 advantage in rebound margin (47-24), which was a single-game high this season.
- With the win, South Carolina improves to 21-0 all-time vs. SC State.
- The Gamecocks have now won 20 of their last 23 games in Colonial Life Arena.
- Eight players logged 15 or more minutes for Carolina tonight.
- The Gamecocks shot 50.8 percent from the field, marking the second time this year the team shot 50 percent or better from the field.
- Senior guard Justin McKie led all bench players in minutes for the third-straight game (27).
- Sophomore guard PJ Dozier led the team with six assists.
- Freshman guard Rakym Felder led all bench scorers with nine points.
South Carolina hosts Big Ten foe Michigan next Wednesday, Nov. 23, at Colonial Life Arena, before traveling to New York City to conclude play in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational vs. Syracuse at the Barclays Center on Saturday, Nov. 26. Game time vs. the Wolverines is set for 5 p.m. ET, with the contest broadcast on ESPNU, while the matchup vs. the Orange will tip at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
TWEET OF THE GAME