The University of South Carolina tipped off against Stetson on New Years Eve-Eve at Colonial Life Center, where the Gamecocks were 21 point favorites.
The game was surely not a blowout, as the ‘Hatters’ ended their four game losing streak with an upset against South Carolina.
South Carolina had just finished a two game win streak against rivals Clemson and top-ten ranked Virginia going into Mondays game.
South Carolina started the game off struggling to pick up any defensive rebounds, allowing Stetson to get several second chance buckets.
Even big-man Maik Kotsar failed to box-out opponents leading a strong start for the Atlantic-Sun team.
Defensively, South Carolina allowed Stetson to run through the paint scoring frequently.
After cracking down on Stetsons paint play, the Gamecocks were slow on defensive switches to prevent key three-point shots.
When they didn’t score, the Gamecocks would send the ‘Hatters’ to the line with prevalent fouling throughout the game.
South Carolina’s slow start crept to the end of the half, as at halftime they shot a poor 37% from the field, a terrible 50% from the free-throw line and 0% from 3-point land.
Wildens Leveque produced decent numbers, as he was vital on the boards in the second half of play.
Kotsar was the Gamecocks leading scorer with 11 points and a few hustle plays in the game.
Trae Hannibal seemed to bring energy off the bench and make a couple big plays including two steals.
Ultimately, committing 27 fouls, and letting Stetson shoot 36 times at the free-throw line (making 24 of them), killed us.
South Carolina was irrelevant from three-point range, as they shot 21%, making only four of their nineteen shots.
Also, committing 15 turnovers in one game, certainly didn’t help the Gamecocks on offense either.
There were four or five officiating calls that were questionable, killing the momentum for the Gamecocks comeback.
Not to blame the officials though, as South Carolina’s poor play until the final two minutes of the game cost them the game.
With South Carolina looking to play teams like Florida,Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Arkansas through the month of January, sloppy offensive play and slow defensive switches will doom the Gamecocks over this tough month of basketball.
South Carolinas next game is against Florida, January 7th at Colonial Life Arena.