Nov. 23, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (5-0) stifled No. 25/24 Michigan (4-1) 61-46 at Colonial Life Arena Wednesday evening, handing the Wolverines their first loss of the season. The Gamecocks had four players in double figures, led by senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. It was the Lancaster, S.C. native’s fourth-straight game scoring 20-plus and his first double-double of the season.
Carolina threw the first punch Wednesday evening, jumping out to a 13-5 lead at the first media timeout with 15:42 left in the first half. Notice and Silva combined for 10 of the team’s first 12 points with five apiece.
Three forced turnovers and a 6-2 advantage on the boards aided the Gamecocks solid start. The Wolverines countered with a 7-0 run to bring the score to 13-12 as Carolina went scoreless for over four minutes.
Michigan struggled to shoot the ball against South Carolina’s stifling defense the entire first half, but was able to keep the game tight with solid shooting from the charity stripe. Eleven of the team’s first 18 points came from the free throw line, as they went 11-of-12 (94 percent).
The Wolverines led 20-19 but a Thornwell 3 put the Gamecocks back in front 22-19 with 7:56 left in the first half. Thornwell started the game 4-of-6 with nine points. Michigan answered right away and the teams headed to the under eight media timeout tied at 22-22. Up to that point, the Wolverines were just 5-of-19 (26 percent) from the field and 1-for-10 (10 percent) from behind the arc.
Senior guard Justin McKie came off the bench and scored five-straight points to put Carolina back ahead 27-23. The Gamecocks remained ahead 29-25 at the final media timeout of the half with 3:43 left. Michigan’s poor shooting continued, as it was 5-for-20 (25 percent) up to that point.
Notice ended the first half emphatically for Carolina with a coast-to-coast transition layup with 20 seconds left. His layup put the Gamecocks up 33-27 at the half. Carolina held the Wolverines scoreless the final 3:19 of the half. Thornwell led all scorers in the first half with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Michigan shot 6-of-24 (25 percent) and 1-of-12 from behind the 3-point line. Sophomore PJ Dozier did an outstanding job on the Wolverines leading scorer, Zak Irvin, as he went 2-of-8 and scored just five points.
It was much of the same story for Michigan in the second half, as they started 1-for-6 from the field. Sophomore Hassani Gravett hit a jumper from the right wing to put Carolina up 37-29 with 15:47 left in the game. A Notice layup then put Carolina up by 10 with 14:48 left. It was the Gamecocks’ first double-digit lead of the game.
Michigan’s Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman tallied a 3-point play on the ensuing possession to cut the lead to seven at 39-32. That would be the closest the Wolverines would get the rest of the night. Abdur-Rahkman’s lay-in ended a 4:08 scoring drought.
After a timeout by Michigan head coach John Beilein, freshman Maik Kotsar scored on an aggressive dribble drive to his left with 10:54 left to put Carolina up 43-33. A pair of Thornwell free throws then pushed the lead to 45-33 with 10:06 left.
An and-1 put back layup by Wolverine big man Mark Donnal ended a 6:53 scoring draught for Michigan. He made the ensuing free throw to cut the lead to 51-40 with 7:35 left. Gravett halted the momentum with a lob to Silva he threw down a thunderous dunk to push the lead back to 13 at 53-40.
With 3:07 left, Kotsar slipped to the hoop again. Thornwell fed him and the freshman big man finished for his 10th point, giving Carolina its biggest lead of the game at 59-43 with 3:07 left.
A Dozier steal put the game on ice in the final 1:20. He threw an outlet pass to Thornwell, who threw it ahead to Notice. The Toronto, Ontario, native, finished to put Carolina up 61-46 with 1:14 left.
Michigan, who came into the game as one of the nation’s top offenses, was held to just 10-of-52 shooting in the game (19 percent). The Wolverines finished with just two assists after averaging 14.3 in their first four games.
- The win tonight over Michigan marks head coach Frank Martin’s 23rd over a ranked opponent in his career.
- The Gamecocks have now won 21 of their last 24 games in Colonial Life Arena.
- South Carolina picked up its first home win over a current member of the Big Ten since a 74-68 win at Frank McGuire Arena vs. Ohio State on Dec. 20, 1988.
- The win was the Gamecocks’ first over a current member of the Big Ten since a 74-67 win over Penn State on Nov. 22, 2007, at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
- Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, who tallied his fourth-straight 20-point performance, came into tonight’s contest T-2 in the SEC in scoring at 20.8 ppg.
- Freshman big man Maik Kotsar finished with 10 points, marking his second-straight game in double figures. Sophomore forward Chris Silva (10) and senior Duane Notice (13) joined Kotsar and Thornwell in double figures.
- Carolina held Michigan’s leading scorer, Zak Irvin, to just five points and 2-of-13 shooting. The five points were 9.5 under his season average of 14.5 entering Wednesday evening’s game.
- Freshman forward Sedee Keita made his South Carolina debut late in the first half when he checked into the game.
- Sophomore guard Hassani Gravett logged a career-high playing 29 minutes off the bench Wednesday night.
South Carolina travels to Brooklyn, N.Y., for a Saturday matchup vs. No. 18/16 Syracuse in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. Game time vs. the Orange is set for 2:30 p.m. on ESPN3. The game marks the third for Carolina at the Barclays Center during Frank Martin’s time with the Gamecocks. Carolina posted a 63-57 win over Manhattan in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invite on Dec. 22, 2012, at Barclays, before a 64-60 upset victory over No. 9/9 Iowa State at the venue on Jan. 3, 2015.
TWEET OF THE GAME