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November 14, 2013

Martin: We let one slip away

After a longer-than-usual film session for University of South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin and his staff Thursday, the 66-64 loss to Baylor was a bit harder to swallow than it may have seemed after Tuesday's game when it was widely hailed as something of a moral victory for a second-year coach with eight new faces.

"Let one get away the other afternoon," Martin said to open his Thursday afternoon press conference at the Colonial Life Arena. "We did some things well, but we also are not anywhere near who we need to be in order to win high-level games here. We've got to find a way to be a little more disciplined."

Martin took umbrage at any notion he should be happy his team was competitive.

"You know, everyone says, 'compete,'" Martin said. "Competing is a lot deeper than who runs fast, who jumps after balls. Competing is being able to do your job and be disciplined at doing your job regardless of what the opponent is doing, and we don't understand that yet.

"We have guys that are trying, but we don't have guys that understand how to compete yet. That's part of the stuff you deal with when you're so young, trying to stay disciplined to your responsibilities."

Martin said the film session made clear the areas he needs to focus on before Sunday's game at Clemson.

"Our perimeter defense was embarrassingly bad," Martin said. "Our zone allowed us to kind of stay in the game, but our perimeter defense was embarrassingly bad. We need to get better. It was bad early in the game."

"But our zone allowed us to kind of hang in there in the first half and then gave us a chance when we were down five to kind of tie it and just hang around. It's good that the zone helps us and it's got to help us.

"I have found confidence in that zone more this year with this team because we're bigger in the perimeter, but still, the culture of our program, who we want to be, needs to become a little better as we defend on the perimeter. The personnel is there, it's just a matter of developing their understanding and a desire to do it on a more consistent basis."

Martin said one positive of the game was his offense, though it could have been a lot better had the Gamecocks (1-1) simply been able to make the easy shots.

"We missed so many bunnies," Martin said. "After going through it, our play off the ball was not very good. The guys without the ball did not particularly play well. That means they didn't get to their spots. When guys were trying to make a play, guys stood around and watched.

"You have to move. Movement off the ball is just as important as movement of the ball. We are not good off the ball. And yet, we were able to run good-enough offense to win. We have to make some of those shots. We missed too many little chips. You can't miss them all, you have to make some, and we didn't make any." Martin said despite the close misses, was sunk the Gamecocks in Waco was simple: rebounds.

"At the end of the day, what got us was that Brady Heslip made five threes, and three came off of offensive rebounds. Two came off free throws, one off a regular jump shot they missed, we don't box out and they kick it out.

"That's nine points we could have negated if we just boxed out and rebounded. Rebounding got us."

South Carolina will have the opportunity to rebound Sunday at 5 p.m. when it travels to Littlejohn Coliseum to face Clemson.

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