Friday, November 21, 2014

GAME RECAP: South Carolina 69, Cornell 45




Highlights via WBNG (click here).


— South Carolina’s not going to blow any opponent away because of sheer talent.
So the Gamecocks will be more than happy to accept mistakes to help them win.
Cornell turned the ball over 17 times in a 69-45 USC win on Thursday during the first round of the Charleston Classic, springing the Gamecocks’ superior athletes for quick-strike possessions. USC’s defense then suffocated the Big Red (2-2) by forcing rushed shots, always with a hand or two in the face, and the Gamecocks bounced into the tournament’s winner’s bracket.
USC will face Charlotte, a double-overtime winner over Penn State, at 7 p.m. on Friday. A win there puts them in the tournament championship game on Sunday.
“Hope they’re real tired,” coach Frank Martin said of the 49ers. “They won Puerto Rico last year, and Great Alaska the year before, with pretty much the same group of guys. We got our work cut out for us, and that’s why we’re here.”
The Gamecocks (2-1) turned Cornell’s miscues into 15 points. The Big Red began well, hitting their first four shots as USC, like its last game, couldn’t solve a zone defense.
But Sindarius Thornwell scored 10 quick points to get the Gamecocks started and from there, USC throttled Cornell.
Big men Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugas Kacinas had their post-ups working and USC’s defense camped the Big Red on the 3-point line. Cornell’s percentages sank as USC flexed its muscle, the Gamecocks hauling in 30 defensive rebounds.
“We helped them a little bit with careless ball-handling,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “Their denials, taking away your entry passes, makes it difficult.”
Cornell shot a mere 26.9 percent. While USC was 37.9 for the game, it was 40 percent in the second half.
Martin was pleased to see his offense and defense do what they didn’t do in a four-point loss to Baylor. The Gamecocks knew the Big Red had to flow through their guards and hounded Robert Hatter, Galal Cancer and Devin Cherry throughout (11 combined turnovers). USC also knew it can’t just rely on its guards – the post game is going to have to show up sometime.
The two Lithuanians combined for 18 points. Kacinas posted a double-double with 11 rebounds.
“The coaches talked about their bigs not being really physical,” Kacinas said. “They said to just work hard as you can in the post. Be physical and do work in the post.”
“That’s where we could never rattle Baylor,” Martin said. “We have to stay in there and protect the rim.”
Thornwell finished with 14 and five other Gamecocks had at least six points each. Martin hoped it would carry throughout the weekend.
“Just real happy with the effort and the discipline we play with on defense,” Martin said. “We never allowed them to run their offense.”
------
CORNELL (2-2)
Onuorah 1-5 0-0 2, Miller 2-6 5-5 9, Hatter 2-6 0-0 4, Cherry 3-7 1-1 8, Cancer 2-13 5-6 10, D. Smith 0-5 0-0 0, LaMore 0-0 0-2 0, Fleming 0-0 0-0 0, Abdur-Ra'oof 0-1 0-0 0, Bunce 0-1 0-0 0, Bathurst 0-3 1-2 1, Mischler 0-0 0-0 0, Fallas 4-4 0-0 11, Tomic 0-1 0-0 0, Giddens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-52 12-16 45.
SOUTH CAROLINA (2-1)
Carrera 2-3 0-0 5, Henry 1-3 0-0 2, Thornwell 5-11 1-2 14, Johnson 2-7 2-2 7, Notice 1-4 4-5 6, Stroman 1-6 4-6 6, Chatkevicius 4-7 0-0 8, Theus Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, McKie 2-2 2-2 8, Kacinas 3-8 4-4 10, Steele 1-7 0-0 3. Totals 22-58 17-21 69.
Halftime: South Carolina 35-21. 3-Point Goals: Cornell 5-20 (Fallas 3-3, Cherry 1-3, Cancer 1-4, Miller 0-2, Bathurst 0-2, Hatter 0-3, D. Smith 0-3), South Carolina 8-22 (Thornwell 3-8, McKie 2-2, Carrera 1-1, Johnson 1-3, Steele 1-4, Notice 0-1, Stroman 0-1, Kacinas 0-2). Fouled Out: Miller. Rebounds: Cornell 32 (Cherry 5), South Carolina 44 (Kacinas 11). Assists: Cornell 6 (Cherry, D. Smith 2), South Carolina 16 (Johnson 5). Total Fouls: Cornell 19, South Carolina 15. Attendance: 2,517.



South Carolina coach Frank Martin got the hard game out of the way. He hopes it leads to even bigger things for his Gamecocks at the Charleston Classic.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 13 of his 14 points in the opening period as South Carolina built a double-digit lead and rolled to 69-45 victory over Cornell to close the opening round of the eight-team tournament Thursday night.
Mindaugas Kacinas had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his third career double-double.
Martin had been on edge the past couple of days since his team played nose-to-nose with Baylor, yet fell at home 69-65 in a game televised as part of ESPN’s 24 hours of college basketball. The third-year coach regretted his program missed a big chance to make an early mark and didn’t want the same thing to happen this weekend.
“I told the guys, I’ve been on edge for two days. I don’t like losing,” Martin said. “I don’t enjoy guys that accept losing. We’ve been patient in trying to build our program. Those days are behind us now.”
They looked that way against the Big Red (2-2), who came in after matching their victory total from last year’s 2-26 season. Thornwell took control early on. The first of his three 3-pointers in the opening period put South Carolina (2-1) ahead at 12-11 and started a 14-2 run.
The Gamecocks kept up the pressure after halftime and led by as many as 28 points on Tyrone Johnson’s 3-pointer.
JoJo Fallas had a career-high 11 points to lead Cornell. Galal Cancer had 10 points — although he shot just 2 of 13 from the floor — and Shonn Miller, the Big Red’s leading scorer this season at 16 points a game, was held to nine points on 2-of-6 shooting before fouling out.
Cornell opened with a surprising win at George Mason before getting their second victory against regional rival Colgate, 58-52, on Tuesday. They started fast in trying for No. 3, leading 11-9 in the first five minutes.
But Thornwell followed with the first 3-pointer put the Gamecocks ahead for good and start the game-changing run.
The Gamecocks kept their large margin the rest of the period, building to a 35-21 halftime lead on Thornwell’s last three and two foul shots by Duane Notice.
South Carolina continued the onslaught in the second half, leading 58-30 with 9:40 to go.
“They’re very aggressive, Frank’s done a terrific job coaching them on defense,” said Courtney, whose team finished with 17 turnovers.
NOTES: When asked about playing Charlotte, a 106-97 double OT winner in the game prior to South Carolina, in Friday’s winner’s bracket, Frank Martin said, “I hope they’re real tired.” ... Gamecocks reserve Justin McKie finished with eight points and made both 3-pointers he took. McKie is the son of South Carolina’s all-time leading scorer, BJ McKie, who attended the game. The elder McKie is an assistant coach with Charleston Southern. ... South Carolina forward Mindaugas Kacinas said coaches told him that he played strong and aggressive, he make an impact on the game against Cornell’s front line. “Work hard as you can in the post,” Kacinas was told, “be physical, you’ll get fouled and get open layups.” ... Cornell had played South Carolina once before, an 83-60 loss in the opening round of the ECAC Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden in December 1970. ... The Gamecocks reached the championship of the 2009 Charleston Classic, losing the title to Miami. The Hurricanes are also in this year’s event and defeated Drexel 66-46 earlier Friday.



CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Cornell shot 27 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 17 times, falling into a hole it could never recover from in a 69-45 loss to South Carolina in the first round of the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic. The Big Red dropped to 2-2 on the season, while the Gamecocks improved to 2-1. Cornell will play Penn State on Friday at 9 p.m. in the consolation bracket.

Sophomore JoJo Fallas had a career-high 11 points, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, but Cornell shot just 2-for-17 from beyond the arc otherwise. Senior Galal Cancer notched 10 points and three rebounds, while Shonn Miller notched nine points before fouling out and Devin Cherry posted eight points and a team-high five boards. As a team, the Big Red blocked six shots, including two each by David Onuorah and Dave LaMore.

The Big Red defense did its part, allowing South Carolina to shoot just 38 percent from the floor, but its empty possessions on the other end of the floor was too much to overcome. Sindarius Thornwell netted 14 points and had four rebounds and Mindaugas Kacinas came off the bench to post a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.

Despite a quick burst out of the gate that saw Cornell take a 5-2 lead, things didn't go the Big Red's way. Cornell turned the ball over on four of its first five possessions, but countered that by making its first four field goals to maintain its lead at 11-9.

South Carolina took all the wind out of Cornell's sails with a 13-0 run over the span of 4:35 that allowed the home team to build an 11-point lead (22-11). The Big Red, despite plenty of fight, never got the lead below seven points the rest of the way.

The Big Red continued to misfire and turn it over, ending the half shooting 30 percent from the floor, including 3-of-19 after hitting its first four shots. Despite the struggles from the floor and 13 turnovers, the Big Red was still hanging around at the break, trailing 35-21.

Four minutes into the second half, the lead grew to 20 and drifted to as much as 28 points. A late run by Fallas, who connected on three 3-pointers and energized the Big Red bench with an offensive rebound and putback, gave the visitors some much-needed energy heading into Friday's consolation game.

The series between the Big Red and the Nittany Lions is tied at 5-5. Penn State has won the last two meetings, including a 74-67 contest on Dec. 21, 2011. Cornell's last win in the series came back during the 1972-73 campaign, a 74-65 win at Barton Hall.


CHARLESTON, S.C. - An opportunistic defense would drive the South Carolina men's basketball team to a win over Cornell on the opening night of the Charleston Classic, held at TD Arena. The Gamecocks (2-1) forced 17 turnovers en route to a 69-45 win, holding the Big Red (2-2) to 27 percent shooting from the field.
Sindarius Thornwell led the team with 14 points despite playing just six minutes of the second half. Mindaugas Kacinas pulled down 11 rebounds to go with 10 points for the team's first double-double of the season and his partner on the post Laimonas Chatkevicius added eight points and seven boards off the bench. Every player on the active roster saw time on the floor, with ten scoring at least two points.
After an even start to the game, Carolina went on a 13-0 run from the 15:20 mark until just under ten minute remaining to open up a 22-11 lead. Five different players contributed to the game-changing run. Thornwell led the early charge, scoring 10 of the team's first 12 points before ending the half with 13.
Bench play would be the difference maker in the first 20 minutes, as the Gamecock reserves outscored their Cornell counterparts 15-0. Kacinas and Chatkevicius combined for 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Marcus Stroman pitched in five points and three steals.
Though it would shoot just 36 percent as a team, Carolina carried a 35-21 lead into the break after forcing 13 turnovers and limiting the Big Red to a tiny 30 percent on 7-of-23 shooting. The Gamecocks had averaged just 13 turnovers forced per game in its first two contests of the 2014-15 season coming into Thursday night.
The second half would be no different, as the lead would dip to 13 with 18:49 to play, but a 13-1 run from then until the 13:19 mark set the team back on the right path. The lead would grow to as large as 28 points. The key in the final 20 minutes would be rebounding, as the Gamecocks enjoyed a 23-15 advantage over a Cornell side that shot just 24 percent in the period.
GAME CHANGER

Five different players scored in a five-minute stretch of the first half that turned an 11-9 Cornell lead into a 22-11 advantage for the Gamecocks. It would never give back the lead.

KEY STAT

The defense forced a season-best 17 turnovers and allowed a season-low 27 percent from the field to Cornell.

NOTABLES

  • The last time the Carolina defense held an opponent to under 50 points was Longwood on Nov. 9, 2013. Cornell entered the day averaging 65.7 points per game in three contests.
  • The bench production for the Gamecocks was strong, outscoring Cornell's bench 35-12. For the season, Carolina reserves own an 84-31 advantage.
  • Of its 22 total field goals made, the Gamecocks were credited with 16 assists. It committed just 11 turnovers.
  • Justin McKie scored a career-high eight points on a perfect day from the field, hitting two threes and a pair of free throws.

QUOTABLE

"I'm real happy with the effort and the disciplines we played with on defense. I thought we were real sloppy offensively, but we stayed the course. I didn't think our point guard play was real good today on offense. I don't think our decision making there was as good as it needs to be. But at the end of the day, the guys were engaged, they competed, and we never allowed them [Cornell] to run their offense, so that allowed us to create open court opportunities. It was good to see us do that, especially after the last game when we never got any of those." - Head coach Frank Martin's opening statement following the Gamecock win over Cornell
UP NEXT

Carolina will face Charlotte Friday night at 7 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPNU. The 49ers (2-0) earned a trip to the semifinals with a double-overtime win over Penn State, 106-97. 

South Carolina rebounded nicely from their first loss of the season on Tuesday, overwhelming Cornell via turnovers and rebounding on their way to a 69-45 victory on Thursday night.  With the win, the Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals of the Charleston Classic, where they'll play a Charlotte team that knocked off Penn State in double overtime on Thursday.
Advanced Box Score
Cornell
USC
Points
45 Score 69
0.684 PPP 1.049
0.922 Non-TO: 1.259
66 possessions
Basic
14-52 FG 22-58
5-20 3P 8-22
12-16 FT 17-21
10 OREB 14
22 DREB 30
17 TO 11
Four Factors
31.73% eFG 44.83%
25.84% TO 16.72%
25.00% OReb 38.89%
30.77% FTR 36.21%
Shooting
28.13% 2P% 38.89%
25.00% 3P% 36.36%
38.46% 3PA% 37.93%
75.00% FT% 80.95%
Legend
PPP = Points per poss.
Non-TO = PPP on non-turnover poss.
eFG = (2PM+(1.5*3PM))/FGA
FTR = FTA/FGA
3PA% = 3PA/FGA

Three Thoughts
1. Sindarius Thornwell played like the best player on the court tonight. His 14 points don't look overwhelming on the score sheet, but he did most of his damage in the first half, helping a Carolina team that never really got going on offense in the game on that end of the court while the Gamecocks kept Cornell from scoring on their side of the court.
It was never really in doubt, but Sindarius Thornwell looks ready to produce in his sophomore season in Columbia, and that's great news for Frank Martin and his teammates.
2. The Gamecocks dominated Cornell on the defensive end. As the second half progressed, Cornell woke up a bit on offense as each team emptied their benches and rested players for the upcoming games tomorrow.  However, during points of the second half, Cornell challenged the record for both the lowest points per possession by any opponent against Frank Martin at Carolina - currently 0.616 in the 2014 season opener against Longwood - as well as the highest turnover percentage by any opponent against a Frank Martin-coached Gamecock team, which remains at 33.6% in their second game against Akron last year.
Basically, when you hold teams to 0.684 points per possession, you're going to win basically every time out.  The story of the night was the Gamecocks' utter domination of Cornell basically everywhere on the defensive end.  South Carolina should've dominated Cornell defensively, so it's a great sign to see them live up to that ability.
3. If you dominate elsewhere, you can survive woeful shooting nights. For the second straight outing, the Gamecocks simply didn't shoot very well, posting a sub-40% rate on two-point field goals.  Otherwise, they were just fine - they protected the ball, they hoarded offensive rebounds, and they found their way to the free throw line.
Do all those things, and you can still put up 1.05 points per possession, which is a decent enough effort, and can get you through so long as you play good defense on the other end.  But if South Carolina has ambitions of winning tomorrow, let alone beating Miami (or perhaps Akron) on Sunday, they have to shoot the ball better.
Not everyone's going to let you run them off the court in the other areas - when you have shots, you have to hit them.  The Gamecocks did a better job of getting to the rim against the zone tonight, but 4-12 on lay-ups simply isn't good enough against better teams.


CHARLESTON - After falling behind by two points early, South Carolina rattled off a 13-0 run in just under five minutes in the first half to take control of the game and knock off Cornell 69-45 on Thursday night at TD Arena. The Gamecocks (2-1) got 35 points off the bench but sophomore Sindarius Thornwell paced the attack on the offensive end with 14 points to lead his team to a victory in the first round of the Charleston Classic.
 Two MVPs
Sindarius Thornwell: The sophomore scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half to help the Gamecocks out to a 35-21 lead at the break. He was 5-of-10 shooting from the field, which included 3-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Thornwell only played six minutes in the second half as South Carolina put the game on cruise control. With three games in four days - or four games in six days counting Baylor - it was good for him to spend some time on the bench.
Mindaugas Kacinas: The junior played more minutes than any other player for the Gamecocks and came away with a double-double. Kacinas, who was 3-for-8 from the field, scored 10 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. Head coach Frank Martin praised Kacinas for his hustle and effort saying he plays the four-man because he knows he leaves everything on the court each night.
Four telling quotes
Real happy with the effort and discipline we played with on defense. I thought we were real sloppy offensively. But we kind of stayed the course. At the end of the day, the guys were engaged and competed. We never allowed them to run their offense. That allowed us to create open court opportunities. It was good to see us do that after last game when we didn’t get any of those. - South Carolina head coach Frank Martin
I thought we played strong today. We knew going in that they were going to play everyone in the paint on the back side so we had to be patience. Our bigs had to play strong and hold their position and not get pushed backwards under the rim. I didn’t think we did a good job of that early but as the game progressed, we started to play with more patience. Our bigs started doing a better job of lifting the post defenders, which gave us more opportunities around the rim. It was good to see us scoring balls in the paint. That’s something we didn’t do well against Baylor and that’s going to be a big part of our team. - South Carolina head coach Frank Martin
We ran good offense and I was getting open looks. We got stops and played defense. We got ourselves together, stuck to the game plan and did what we were supposed to do coming into the game. - South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell
That wasn’t very pretty. Give South Carolina credit. Their defense is terrific. We helped them a little bit with careless ball handling and that’s what they thrive on. Their denials and taking away entry passing is terrific. You don’t have a chance to get into your offense. Frank has done a terrific job coaching them on defense. They’re going to beat people because they play defense every night. - Cornell head coach Bill Courtney
Seven buzzer-beaters
-- The Big Red came out fighting with Devin Cherry hitting an off-balance, contested three-pointer on the team’s first possession of the game. They held an 11-9 lead after a pair of free throws by Shonn Miller with 15:20 remaining in the first half but the Gamecocks took control after that. Thornwell knocked down a three-pointer to give the Gamecocks a lead they would not look back from.
-- South Carolina was 17-of-21 from the free throw line in the game with Kacinas dropping in all four of his chances. Freshman Marcus Stroman (4-for-6) and sophomore Duane Notice (4-for-5) also hit four free throws on the night.
-- Cornell tried to make a run midway through the second half going on a 12-3 run, which saw diminutive guard JoJo Fallas hit a pair of triples. The run was stopped though when sophomore Justin McKie hit a three-pointer with 5:42 remaining in the game to push the Gamecocks’ lead back up to 18 points.
-- With his dad BJ in the stands, sophomore Justin McKie scored eight points connecting on all three of his shots and grabbed three rebounds in eight minutes of action. McKie tied with center Laimonas Chatkevicius for third on the team in scoring for the night.
-- The Gamecocks played great defense allowing the Big Red to shoot only 26.9 percent from the field. Cornell hit on 14-of-52 shots, including 5-of-20 from behind the three-point line.
-- South Carolina played nine guys double-digit minutes in the win over Cornell Kacinas played the most with 26 followed closely by senior Tyrone Johnson with 25 minutes. Six players had over 20 minutes of work.
-- South Carolina will take on Charlotte on Friday night at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The 49ers knocked off Penn State in double overtime 106-97 prior to South Carolina’s tip against Cornell. Charlotte is 2-0 on the season with the other win coming over Elon in a 73-60 decision on the road.




CHARLESTON, S.C.: It wasn't always pretty, but it didn't need to be.

South Carolina opened its showing in the Gildan Charleston Classic Thursday night with a 69-45 rout of Cornell (2-1), relying on stingy defense and a 14-point scoring night from Sindarius Thornwell to move to 2-1 on the season.

The Gamecocks will play Charlotte, which beat Penn State earlier on Thursday, in the winners bracket at 7 p.m. on Friday.

"I thought we played OK," said USC head coach Frank Martin. "We've got to be better tomorrow."

The Gamecocks shot just 38 percent from the floor, but held the Big Red to a meager 27 percent. Behind strong performances near the basket from junior forwards Mindaugas Kacinas (11 rebounds) and Laimonas Chatkevicius (7), the Gamecocks outrebounded Cornell 44-32.

The Gamecocks were active on defense, jumping into passing lanes and keeping Cornell out of the paint. The approach led to 17 Cornell turnovers, some of them forced by USC guards Marcus Stroman and Duane Notice's near-constant hounding of the Big Red's ball-handlers.

"They're very aggressive," said Cornell head coach Bill Courtney. "Frank's done a terrific job coaching them on defense. They're going to beat some teams because they're going to play defense every night."

Martin said he was happy with the Gamecocks' effort and discipline on defense, but noted that it didn't translate to the offensive side of the ball.

"I thought we were really sloppy offensively," Martin said.

Ten of USC's 11 players who checked into the game scored; Thornwell led the way with 14 points, while Kacinas was just behind with 10.

Thornwell carried the Gamecocks' offense in the first half, scoring 10 of USC's first 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting. The Gamecocks went back and forth with Cornell in the opening minutes, but used a 13-0 run kickstarted by a Thornwell 3-pointer to build a 22-11 midway through the first half.

"We were running a good offense, and I was just getting open looks," Thornwell said.

Cornell never made up ground from there, falling behind 35-21 by halftime. The Gamecocks went on a 15-4 run over the first 6 minutes and 41 seconds of the second half to take a 50-25 lead. USC cruised from there to win by 24, with backups Brian Steele, Stroman, Justin McKie and Reggie Theus Jr. each seeing plenty of action down the stretch.

McKie drained both of his 3-point attempts off the bench and finished with eight points, while Stroman played 25 minutes after coming off the bench, scoring six points, dishing three assists and nabbing three steals.

"Stroman's a ballhawk," Martin said. "He's got those instincts. He's got that ability."

Martin said it was good to get the first game of the tournament out of the way and to move on to the winners bracket matchup with Charlotte, a team he said he hopes is tired after playing two overtime periods before beating Penn State earlier on Thursday.

"Any time you're in a tournament setting, you're playing for a championship," Martin said. "We took one step today. We've got to take another one tomorrow."

Thornwell, who shot 5-of-11 from the floor and also had four rebounds and a steal, reiterated that playing two more tournament games in a three-day span comes as a welcome test.

"It's a grind. It's getting us ready for SEC play," Thornwell said. "We're just trying to win it, coming out and taking it one game at a time."

NOTES.

--- Senior guard Ty Johnson had a tough game, going 2-7 from the field and only scoring 7 points just two days after he scored a career-high 21 points in USC's 69-65 loss to Baylor. Martin benched Johnson after his third turnover of the game, a lobbed pass that sailed past Kacinas and bounced out of bounds.

"Way to play like a senior," Martin said several times to him as he took a seat on the bench.

--- South Carolina's five starters were Demetrius Henry, Michael Carrera, Thornwell, Johnson and Notice.

--- South Carolina also beat Cornell 83-20 on Dec. 26, 1970, in New York City. USC now holds a 2-0 all-time lead in the series.

--- This is South Carolina's second appearance in the Charleston Classic. The Gamecocks went 2-1 in the 2009 edition of the event, beating LaSalle and South Florida before losing to Miami (FL) in the championship game. It's worth noting that Miami is also in this tournament.

--- The Gamecocks are now 7-1 in early season tournament games under Martin. USC won the 2012 Hoops for Hope Classic and went 2-1, finishing third, in the Diamond Head Classic last season.

--- The Gamecocks will play Charlotte tonight at 7. USC is 2-1 all-time against the 49ers.

 A strong defensive effort in the first half allowed USC to build a 14 point cushion at the break and the Gamecocks went on to a 69-45 win over Cornell Thursday night in their opening game of the Charleston Classic at the TD Arena on the College of Charleston campus. The Gamecocks improved to 2-1 and will play Charlotte Friday night at 7:00 PM.

The Big Red led 11-9 five minutes in but then the Gamecocks tightened up their defense and went on a 14-2 run over the next six minutes. Cornell never got closer than seven the rest of the way. The Gamecocks forced 17 turnovers for the game and turned those into 15 points.

Sindarius Thornwell led USC with 14 points, 13 in the first half. Mindaugas Kacinas had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, 7 off the offensive glass.

KEY STAT
The defense forced a season-best 17 turnovers and allowed a season-low 27 percent from the field to Cornell.

NOTABLES
  • The last time the Carolina defense held an opponent to under 50 points was Longwood on Nov. 9, 2013. Cornell entered the day averaging 65.7 points per game in three contests.
  • The bench production for the Gamecocks was strong, outscoring Cornell's bench 35-12. For the season, Carolina reserves own an 84-31 advantage.
  • Of its 22 total field goals made, the Gamecocks were credited with 16 assists. It committed just 11 turnovers.
  • Justin McKie scored a career-high eight points on a perfect day from the field, hitting two threes and a pair of free throws.
QUOTABLE
"I'm real happy with the effort and the disciplines we played with on defense. I thought we were real sloppy offensively, but we stayed the course. I didn't think our point guard play was real good today on offense. I don't think our decision making there was as good as it needs to be. But at the end of the day, the guys were engaged, they competed, and we never allowed them [Cornell] to run their offense, so that allowed us to create open court opportunities. It was good to see us do that, especially after the last game when we never got any of those." - Head coach Frank Martin's opening statement following the Gamecock win over Cornell



The South Carolina men's basketball team opened up the Charleston Classic the right way. The Gamecocks took a 69-45 over Cornell on Thursday night at the College of Charleston in the ESPN series tournament. Take a look at some highlights and post-game comments from Frank Martin & Co.
CHARLESTON, S.C. - An opportunistic defense would drive the South Carolina men's basketball team to a win over Cornell on the opening night of the Charleston Classic, held at TD Arena. The Gamecocks (2-1) forced 17 turnovers en route to a 69-45 win, holding the Big Red (2-2) to 27 percent shooting from the field.
Sindarius Thornwell led the team with 14 points despite playing just six minutes of the second half. Mindaugas Kacinas pulled down 11 rebounds to go with 10 points for the team's first double-double of the season and his partner on the post Laimonas Chatkevicius added eight points and seven boards off the bench. Every player on the active roster saw time on the floor, with ten scoring at least two points.
After an even start to the game, Carolina went on a 13-0 run from the 15:20 mark until just under ten minute remaining to open up a 22-11 lead. Five different players contributed to the game-changing run. Thornwell led the early charge, scoring 10 of the team's first 12 points before ending the half with 13.
Bench play would be the difference maker in the first 20 minutes, as the Gamecock reserves outscored their Cornell counterparts 15-0. Kacinas and Chatkevicius combined for 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Marcus Stroman pitched in five points and three steals.
Though it would shoot just 36 percent as a team, Carolina carried a 35-21 lead into the break after forcing 13 turnovers and limiting the Big Red to a tiny 30 percent on 7-of-23 shooting. The Gamecocks had averaged just 13 turnovers forced per game in its first two contests of the 2014-15 season coming into Thursday night.
The second half would be no different, as the lead would dip to 13 with 18:49 to play, but a 13-1 run from then until the 13:19 mark set the team back on the right path. The lead would grow to as large as 28 points. The key in the final 20 minutes would be rebounding, as the Gamecocks enjoyed a 23-15 advantage over a Cornell side that shot just 24 percent in the period.






After losing a heartbreaker to the Baylor Bears, the South Carolina Gamecocks turned it around tonight as they had their way with Cornell, beating them 69-45, in the their first game back in the Gildan Charleston Classic Tournament.
It was all South Carolina tonight who jumped out to an early lead and never lost it. Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 14 points and scored 13 before the first half was over, leaving the bench do the work. 35 total points came from the bench, outscoring the starters by 1 point. Nonetheless,South Carolina's head coach Frank Martin was pleased with his Gamecocks and their ability to play tough down below.
"It was good to see us scoring balls in the paint," Martin said after the game.
The Gamecocks' defense really stepped up tonight creating lots of problems for Cornell as they turned the ball over 17 times. Cornell will play Penn State in a consolation round on Friday.
South Carolina is now 2-1 on the season and will face the Charlotte 49ers on Friday in  a semi-final game for a spot in Sunday's championship. The 49ers have won their opening season tournaments two years in a row and Coach Martin has taken note.
"I hope their real tired," Martin comments on Charlotte's double overtime victory over Penn State. "They're real good."
The Gildan Charleston Classic Semi-Final game between the Gamecocks and the 49ers will start at 7:30 P.M. EST on ESPN3.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Telling play in the S. Carolina game, I thought, was Onuorah trying to run the floor and score on a breakaway. Guys have got to know their roles and play to their strengths. The play resulted in a turnover.
S. Carolina was missing enough shots for us to hang around longer in the first half. Plays like this show why we couldn't make a game of it -- and why this team struggles with consistency on offense. Guys have got to know their roles. Can't always rely on speed and athleticism to prevail ... though they should give us an edge against Penn State.