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MBB: Stony Brook upsets South Carolina

Justin Minaya's three-point attempt with one-second left was blocked, and Stony Brook upset South Carolina 83-81 to hand the Gamecocks their first loss of the season.

The Seawolves led by as much as nine late in the second half, but a frantic rally in the final minute got the Gamecocks a look at a game-winning three. Threes by Minaya and Tre Campbell trimmed an eight point deficit to two with 34 seconds left. With the clock running down, Elijah Olaniyi's layup attempt was blocked, but Akwasi Yeboah came up with the offensive rebound. His putback attempt rolled off, and Felipe Haase got the rebound with nine seconds left. Haase passed to freshman A.J. Lawson, who hesitated a bit before pushing the ball. He got near the free throw line and kicked to Minaya on the wing. Minaya had a decent look, but Jeff Otchere closed hard and tipped Minaya's shot as time expired.

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Katie Dugan

"Give their guy credit," Frank Martin said. "He could have run back in the paint because A.J.'s gotten to the rim almost every play in the second half and he's coming. They could have just collapsed and given up the three."

Martin considered fouling Stony Brook on the final possession to prolong the game, but thought the Seawolves were "scrambling" and let the game play out. That decision worked out, since Olaniyi's layup attempt was off-balance and too early in the shot clock. But Maik Kotsar fumbled away the rebound and about six crucial seconds.

"Like it was all game," said Kotsar, who finished with seven points and no rebounds. "We should have gotten the rebound. It would have given us a few extra seconds to get a shot up."

Martin agreed, saying "How about if Maik grabs any rebound?"

"They ended up taking a bad shot, and we can't get the rebound," Martin said. "They made a bad play and we've got a clean rebound. All we've got to do is get it and go and we couldn't do it. Then we end up playing with a short clock."

For the game, Stony Brook outrebounded South Carolina 49-33. Stony Brook had 22 offensive rebounds, which led to 24 second chance points. Kotsar wasn't the only culprit. Chris Silva only had two rebounds, and was so ineffective that he sat the final ten minutes of the game after picking up his fourth foul. Hassani Gravett had 12 rebounds against USC Upstate, but only one Friday night.

"If we were going to have any chance to win the game, we had to win the rebounding war, which is easier said than done," Stony Brook coach Jeff Boals said. "We made a concerted effort. We had to block out. We had to make contact. We're not going to out-athlete South Carolina."

Yeboah led Stony Brook with 11 rebounds. Olaniyi added nine, and Jaron Cornish, a 5-11, 178 pound guard, added five. Minaya and Haase each had nine rebounds to lead the Gamecocks. For Minaya it tied a career-high, and Haase was one away from his career-high. No one else had more than two.

"They just physically beat us, plain and simple," Martin said. "They beat us to every loose ball. They beat us to every rebound."

South Carolina held Stony Brook to 26.5 percent shooting in the first half, but offensive rebounding kept the game close. A tip-in by Yeboah, who led Stony Brook with 24 points, gave Stony Brook a one-point lead at intermission. The rebounding dominance continued in the second half, and the Stony Brook shooters found their stroke, making 6-10 from three and shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Lawson led South Carolina with 23 points, six assists, and three steals. After some opening night jitters, he looked much more confident and decisive. Campbell also looked much better after struggling in the opener, had 15 points. Along with freshman Keyshawn Bryant, it was a productive night for the newcomers, which made Martin even more disgusted with the veterans.

"We got nothing from our older guys," Martin said. "I don't think I've ever coached a team that got manhandled the way we got manhandled tonight. It's very disappointing. The guys that were trying to fight to give us a chance were the kids that have never for me before this year. That's really disappointing. I'm excited for them, but really disappointed with all the older guys."

Notes:

Bryant, who had 21 points and seven rebounds in the season-opener, had a relatively quiet game by comparison. He finished with nine points, two rebounds, and three assists. He did have the highlight of the game, throwing down a one-handed alley-oop from Lawson in transition. ... After missing all 18 threes against Upstate, South Carolina missed its first attempt against Stony Brook. But the twentieth attempt was finally good. Lawson drove baseline and kicked to Campbell in the corner for the three. South Carolina finished 9-23 on the game, 39.1 percent. ... Campbell was 4-7 from three and Lawson was 3-8. ... Along with the next three contests, the game, was part of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. ... Announced attendance was 9,657. ... South Carolina's next game is Tuesday against Norfolk State.

- Box score and game stats (PDF)