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Gravett, Lawson Lead Gamecocks to Win Over Coastal
Men's Basketball  . 

Gravett, Lawson Lead Gamecocks to Win Over Coastal

by By: DAVID CLONINGER (Associated Press)

Duo combined to score 48 points, each dropping a career high

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson and Hassani Gravett each notched a career-high in points as the Gamecocks held on to beat Coastal Carolina 85-79 on Friday night.

Lawson was scoreless in South Carolina’s last game, but with preseason All-SEC selection Chris Silva again in early foul trouble Friday, he shouldered the scoring load with 25 points against the Chanticleers. Gravett added 23.

The Gamecocks (4-3) erased an eight-point deficit in the first half to lead by nine at the break, but the Chanticleers, who hit 11 3-pointers, never went away.

Coastal erased a 10-point deficit to lead by one seven minutes into the first half, but Silva, playing with three fouls, woke up. He swished a soft hook shot from the right side, put a miss back with a thunderous dunk and tightened his defense.

His six points when the game was tied at 61 made up most of a 9-0 USC run to give the Gamecocks a comfortable lead. Silva ended with nine points and five rebounds, crediting the burst to clearing his mind.

”I think I just been overthinking, putting too much pressure on myself,” Silva said. ”I kind of forgot how to enjoy the game. Coach told me to go out there and play as hard as you can and enjoy the game.”

The Chanticleers’ Zac Cuthbertson and his teammates’ long-range shooting kept Coastal close but South Carolina, in the bonus with 12 minutes to play, kept hitting free throws. The Gamecocks were 25-of-33 from the line and stroked 10 3-pointers of their own.

”We know that this team, right now, the game goes through Silva and (forward Maik) Kotsar,” Coastal coach Cliff Ellis said. ”You got to make other people beat you. Well, Gravett did what he’s supposed to do.”

> South Carolina’s backcourt of A.J. Lawson (25) and Hassani Gravett (23) combined for 48 points, going 13-for-20 (65 percent) from the field. The duo made six of the team’s 10 3s.
> Lawson’s 25 points marked a new career high and are the most by a Carolina freshman since Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 at Georgia (1/22/14)  – he went 6-for-10 from the field and 11-for-15 at the free throw line with six rebounds and a pair of assists.
> Gravett’s 23 points were a career high as well, as he tallied his first career game scoring 20 points or more. He went 7-for-10 from the field with four assists in 33 minutes off the bench.
> The Gamecocks had 12 blocks, led by senior forward Chris Silva who had a career-high six swats in just 19 minutes. It marks the 42nd career game with two or more blocks for the 2018 First Team All-SEC selection.
> The 12 blocks by Carolina are the most in the Frank Martin era. The previous high came when the Gamecocks had 11 at Texas A&M (2/3/18).
> Freshman Alanzo Frink made his collegiate debut, playing nine minutes off the bench Friday night.

Carolina hits the road for a pair of non-conference contests next week. The Gamecocks first face Wyoming on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on Stadium TV. Carolina will then travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a Saturday contest against No. 7/5 Michigan on FS1 at noon.