Poor shooting dooms Gamecocks at Kentucky
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASKETBALL
LEXINGTON, KY.—In the two days before South Carolina took on No. 5 Kentucky on the road, Frank Martin was pleased with the team’s preparation.
He was encouraged and thought the team would play well, which made what happened the last 30 minutes, after South Carolina controlled the first 10 minutes, of Saturday’s 78-46 loss even more surprising.
“At the end of the day, when you have to play in a game, it comes down to being able to sustain discipline,” Martin said. “As that game unfolded today, the physicality of the game, it challenged our ability to compete. The harder it got, the less we competed. That’s disappointed.”
The Gamecocks (11-11, 6-3 SEC) saw a four point lead dwindle to just two halfway through the first half before they went cold offensively, going about three minutes without a bucket as Kentucky ended the half on a 17-4 run, including a 7-0 spurt to give it the lead.
They struggled to score with Chris Silva in and out of the lineup with two fouls in the first half and he played sparingly the entire game, picking up just four points and four rebounds as he and the rest of the Gamecock team were out-physicaled in every stat imaginable.
“Chris is going to get in foul trouble. It’s life. It’s four years of it on the road against quality opponents,” Martin said. “I need to probably bring him an extra suit when we go on the road so he can just sit on the bench and hold a clipboard.”
Trailing by 11 at half, things didn’t get better for the road team.
After starting the half by making their first two shots, missed 10 straight and didn't hit a field goal in over five minutes.
Kentucky would push the lead to over 20 halfway through the second half thanks to an 18-3 run where the Gamecocks made just two of 12 field goals and had five turnovers in over a three-minute span.
South Carolina shot just 27.6 percent (8-for-29) in the second half. After starting the game 6-for-10, they finished shooting 30.2 percent, 13-for-43.
They shot 5-for-14 from the free throw line as Kentucky ended the game on a 54-24 run.
“You’re not going to run if you can’t get a defensive rebound. We could never get in the open court,” Martin said. “We have to play in the open court on offense, but we never did. Now we have to execute half court offense and we couldn’t execute.”
The Gamecocks were out-rebounded by 23 and the Wildcats had almost as many offensive rebounds (21) as South Carolina did total rebounds (27), something that contributed to the stagnant second-half offense.
“I guess in the second half they wanted it more,” said Tre Campbell, who finished with 12 points, one of which came in the second half.
The Gamecocks now return home with the hopes of getting back to their physical brand of basketball they’ve become known for under Martin.
“At the end of the day, when you have to play in a game, it comes down to being able to sustain discipline,” he said. “As that game unfolded today, the physicality of the game, it challenged our ability to compete. The harder it got, the less we competed. That’s disappointing.”
Up next: South Carolina returns home to host Arkansas (13-8, 4-4 SEC) Saturday as part of Legends Weekend. Tip off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.