No. 16/15 South Carolina (9-1) notched its first true road win of the season, 77-66, at South Florida (5-4) on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore PJ Dozier tallied a new career-high 23 points (9-of-18), marking his fourth-straight game with 20-plus. Senior Duane Notice hit four 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 15.
Carolina won the opening tip and jumped out to a 9-6 lead after a Maik Kotsar layup with 16:36 left. The freshman from Tallin, Estonia, started the game 3-for-3 from the field with six points. The Gamecocks led 9-8 at the first media timeout with 15:48 left.
The Bulls then went on a 9-0 run to take a 17-12 lead that was capped off with a 3-point play by Geno Thorpe just before the second media timeout with 11:58 left. Carolina countered with a 6-0 run to regain the lead 18-17, forcing a timeout by USF head coach Orlando Antigua with 9:53 left.
The Bulls switched to a 2-3 zone as the Gamecocks had missed seven straight shots from behind the arc. Freshman Rakyn Felder ended the draught from long range and knocked down back-to-back 3s to put South Carolina ahead 24-21,. Jahmal McMurray then hit consecutive 3-pointers to put USF back in front 29-27 at the final media timeout of the first half with 3:47 left.
The Gamecocks trailed by six at the break, 37-31, as the Bulls ended the opening period on a 14-4 run. Felder (3-for-6 from 3) and sophomore PJ Dozier (4-for-9) led Carolina in half one with nine points each. Kotsar had seven points and led the team with four rebounds. McMurray led all scorers with 15 at the break (5-of-10, 2-2 from 3). USF held a 26-17 edge on the glass at halftime.
Back-to-back 3s by Notice brought the Gamecocks within two at the under-16 media timeout with 15:45 left in the second half. A Silva dunk and two Felder free throws put the Gamecocks back ahead, 48-46, with 14:47 to go. A Dozier steal and layup by senior Justin McKie then put Carolina up four, forcing a timeout by the Bulls with 12:16 left.
Dozier threw down a transition dunk after the timeout to cap a 9-0 run for the Gamecocks, which put them ahead 57-51. USF clawed back into it and pulled within one at 57-56 after consecutive 3s by McMurray with 9:03 left. McKie answered with a 3 on the ensuing possession after an offensive board by freshman Khadim Gueye.
After a Dozier made three with 5:23 left, Carolina began to pull away. With the shot clock dwindling, the Gamecocks swung the ball around the perimeter and Notice hit his fourth 3 of the second half to put Carolina up nine, 72-63 with 3:05 left. The Gamecocks would lead by eight or more the rest the way en route to the 77-66 victory.
Felder and Dozier tied for the team lead with five assists, as Carolina matched a season-high 18 assists on the day. Kotsar led the way on the glass for the Gamecocks, snagging nine rebounds. McKie recorded a new career-high with four steals to lead the team.