Jan. 24, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 23/24 South Carolina (16-4, 6-1 SEC) collected its sixth SEC win of the season at Colonial Life Arena Tuesday night with a 98-69 win versus Auburn (13-7, 3-5 SEC). The Gamecocks made 15 3s, led by senior Duane Notice, who matched a career-high with 27 points and six 3-pointers. Senior Sindarius Thornwell tallied 22 points, also matching a career-high with five 3s in the win.
Carolina got off to a fast start and built a 9-0 lead two minutes into the game after a 3 by Thornwell from the left wing with 18:01 on the clock. The Gamecocks started 3-for-5 from the field and had an early 5-0 edge in the rebound column.
The Tigers went on a 6-2 run to trim the deficit to five, 13-8, just before the first media timeout of the game with 14:35 to go, but back-to-back 3s by Notice put the Gamecocks up by nine again, 21-12 with 11:15 left at the next break.
Auburn then answered with a 7-0 run to cut it to 21-19 after two free throws by Anfernee McLemore. Another Thornwell 3 put Carolina back up seven, 26-19 with 7:38 to go as the Gamecocks opened up the game 4-for-9 from deep.
South Carolina’s hot shooting from deep continued, as senior Justin McKie nailed back-to-back long-balls to extend the lead to double-digits for the first time in the game. The second 3 forced a timeout by Tiger head coach Bruce Pearl with 5:02 to go, his team trailing 31-19.
The Gamecocks would make four more 3s down the stretch, as they ended the half on a 13-3 run to take a commanding 48-27 lead at halftime. Notice led the way with 15 at the break, going a perfect 4-for-4 from deep. Thornwell had 12 and went 4-for-5 from deep. Carolina shot a season-high 10-of-16 (63 percent) from behind the arc in the opening half. The Gamecocks were also plus in the rebound margin, 24-16, at the break.
Carolina’s defense held Auburn to just 28 percent (8-for-29) from the floor in the first half. The 27 points allowed by the Gamecocks marked the 12th time this season they’ve held an opponent to under 30 points in the first half.
The Tigers opened the second half on an 8-4 run trimming the deficit to 52-35 at the first media timeout of the second half with 15:59 left in the game. Carolina pushed the lead back to 20, 60-40, at the next media timeout with 11:56 to go. Sophomore Chris Silva had eight of the team’s first 12 points of the second half.
The lead remained 20 at the under eight media timeout, 74-54, with 7:45 to go. The Gamecocks heated up again from deep out of the timeout, going on an 8-0 run, fueled by Notice’s fifth and sixth 3s of the game. Carolina put the game on ice, extending the run to 16-2 after a pair of 3s from McKie and Thornwell made it 90-56 with five minutes left in the game. The final tally from Colonial Life Arena would be 98-69.
McKie (13) and Silva (16) joined Notice and Thornwell in double-figures. McKie went 3-for-4 from behind the arch, and his 13 points set a new career-high and Silva was perfect from the free throw line, going 8-for-8 to match a career-high.
South Carolina’s 15 3s set a new record for the most 3-point makes in the Frank Martin era. The previous high was 13 vs. Rider on Nov. 19, 2012, Martin’s first year at the helm. The Gamecocks fell one 3-ball shy of tying the single-game school record (16).
- Thornwell moved into seventh place on the all-time scoring list, surpassing Carlos Powell (1,541 points, 2001-05). The Lancaster, S.C. native, now has 1,552 career points after scoring 22 tonight.
- Thornwell also moved up on the career steals list to fifth all-time. With two steals vs. Auburn tonight, he passed BJ McKie (1996-99) and Michael Foster (1984-87) and now has 166 career takeways.
- Tonight marked just the second time in four years South Carolina’s senior trio of McKie, Notice and Thornwell scored in double-figures in the same game. The last time it happened was Dec. 1, 2014 vs. Marshall.
- Notice (6), Thornwell (5) and McKie (3) combined for 14 of the team’s 15 3s.
- Notice led the team with 32 minutes and was the only player on both teams to log 30-plus minutes Tuesday night.
- The Gamecocks have now won 28 of their last 32 games at Colonial Life Arena.
- South Carolina improved to 13-1 this season when leading at halftime.
South Carolina will be on the road for the next two games, beginning on Saturday with an 8:30 p.m. ET matchup at Missouri on the SEC Network. Carolina continues road action at LSU the following Wednesday (Feb. 1) with a 9 p.m. ET tip vs. the Tigers.
TWEETS OF THE GAME
– Ryan Brown (@RyanBrown_PxP) January 25, 2017
When the whole squad wins free @ChickfilA:
– Alex M. Grant (@AlexGrantTV) January 25, 2017