Feb. 2, 2017
BATON ROUGE, La. — No. 19/20 South Carolina (18-4, 8-1 SEC) led from start to finish in an 88-63 victory at LSU (9-12, 1-8 SEC) Wednesday night. With the win, the team remains tied with No. 8/6 Kentucky (18-4, 8-1 SEC) atop the SEC standings. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by senior Duane Notice and sophomore PJ Dozier’s 17 points.
Carolina had a textbook start on the road, opening up a 12-3 lead at the first media timeout with 15:47 to go. The Gamecocks started the game 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from behind the arc after transition 3s from Notice and Dozier.
The lead grew to 18-3 after an offensive rebound and layup by sophomore Hassani Gravett with 14:16 on the clock. The Tigers went on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 10, but two baskets by senior Sindarius Thornwell made it 22-8, forcing a timeout by LSU head coach Johnny Jones with 11:42 left in the opening half.
The timeout was unsuccessful in halting Carolina’s momentum, as an and-1 play by Notice pushed the lead to 20 for the first time, 30-9, with 8:46 on the clock. The three-point play capped an 8-0 run for the Gamecocks, as they led 32-14 at the under eight media timeout. Carolina started 12-for-20 (60 percent) from the field and held the Tigers to 5-of-14 (36 percent) shooting, forcing eight turnovers.
Brandon Sampson scored eight-straight points for LSU to make it 40-25 with 4:18 left, but the Gamecocks answered as the lead grew went back to 19, 44-25, at the final media timeout of the first half with 3:10 to go.
Three Carolina players were in double figures at the half, as Carolina led 50-32. Dozier led the way with 14. Sophomore Chris Silva had 12 and Thornwell had 11 as the Gamecocks shot 58 percent (19-for-33) in the first half. Carolina forced 11 turnovers and outscored LSU 30-16 in the paint en route to scoring 50 points in the opening half for the first time this season in SEC-play.
The Gamecocks started the second half 1-of-7 from the floor, as the Tigers cut the lead to 12, 52-40, at the first media timeout with 15:47 left in the game. Notice hit two free throws after a technical foul on the Tigers to make it 59-40 with 14:49 to go.
South Carolina extended its run to 13-0 over a four-minute span take its biggest lead of the game, 65-40, with 11:43 remaining at the under 12 media timeout. It was 75-56 at the next media break, but a 3-pointer from the right wing by senior Justin McKie matched the Gamecocks biggest lead, 81-56, with 4:36 to go.
Carolina led 81-60 at the final media timeout with 3:09 on the clock and went on to win by 25, 88-63, marking its largest road victory of the season in conference play. The Gamecocks shot just under 50 percent (30-for-61) from the floor in the game, forcing 22 turnovers that led to 34 points. Silva and Thornwell each finished with 16 points to join Notice and Dozier in double figures.
Notice (17), Dozier (17), Silva (16) and Thornwell (16) combined for 66 of the team’s 88 points to fuel Carolina to the SEC road win.
- Tonight’s 25-point win was the second largest SEC road win for Carolina, and the biggest since a 94-60 victory at Tennessee on Jan. 23, 2002.
- With his start tonight, Thornwell is now the all-time leader in program history with 117 career starts.
- Thornwell has scored 1,584 points in his career and will likely pass Mike Dunleavy Sr. for No. 6 on the all-time scoring list in the Gamecocks home contest vs. Georgia on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena.
- Carolina has forced 173 turnovers in SEC play (19.2 avg.), forcing 15-plus turnovers in each of the team’s nine conference games.
- Tonight’s win marks the Gamecocks first vicotry in the Maravich Center since an 82-73 overtime win on Jan. 16, 2013. The game was head coach Frank Martin’s first ever SEC-win.
- South Carolina’s 8-1 start in league play is the best mid-way record in program history since the 1997 squad started conference action 11-0. That team went on to win the SEC Regular Season Championship.
- South Carolina improved to 15-1 this season when leading at halftime.
South Carolina hosts Georgia on Saturday for Legends Weekend at Colonial Life Arena. Tip time vs. the Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Fans are encouraged to wear white to help “White Out” the arena for the matchup. The Gamecocks posted a 67-61 win over UGA in the SEC opener on Jan. 4 in Athens. Beth Mowins (pxp) and Dalen Cuff (analyst) will have the call.
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