South Carolina dominated every facet of the game in a 92-50 rout of SC State. Sindarius Thornwell led all scorers with 22 points.
The Bulldogs won the opening tip and after trading empty possessions, Eric Eaves put the Bulldogs up with a three. But from then on it was all Gamecocks. They led 11-3 at the first media timeout, 17-8 at the under 12, 31-13 at the under eight, and so forth. Justin McKie made a layup at the buzzer to give the Gamecocks a 50-25 halftime lead. With the layup, every player who played iun the first half scored for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina shot 56 percent from the floor in the first half. That fell to 51 percent for the game as Frank Martin began resting the starters early in the second half. Martin complained that the offense was terrible in the last game against Monmouth, and felt that dragged down the defense. Against SC State, the offense had everything working. Passing was solid, players were patient, and decision-making was strong.
Thornwell scored his 22 points in a mere 25 minutes, and he chipped in five rebounds and an assist. It marked Thornwell’s third straight 20+point game. Thornwell was joined in double figures by Hassani Gravett (10 points), Chris Silva (11 points), and Maik Kotsar (15).
Kotsar, the freshman forward stayed out of foul trouble and had the best game of his young career. He shot a perfect 7-7 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds.
“Funny how active Maik was today and he stayed out of foul trouble,”Martin said. “If we can keep him out of foul trouble, Maik’s going to be a real good player for us.”
Defensively, South Carolina held SC State to 31 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers that led to 25 points.
“We took them out of what they wanted to run and made them extend their offense,” Thornwell said. “It’s hard when you’ve got to score from half-court instead of the three-point line.”
But Martin was happiest with the rebounding effort. South Carolina outrebounded SC State 47-24, including 18-8 on the offensive glass.
“I didn’t think we were rebounding the ball as well as we need to on either end of the floor,” Martin said. “I thought we were a lot more active today on the glass and defensively.”
Notes: Freshman forward Sedee Keita did not play as he continues to recover from a wrist injury. Keita has yet to play this season. …Chris Silva fell awkwardly in the second half and had to leave the game. He went to the locker room briefly but returned to the bench. Silva finished with seven rebounds and is expected to be fine. …TeMarcus Blanton did not play with an abdominal injury. … South Carolina’s next game is Wednesday afternoon against Michigan. Tipoff is at 5:00 PM.