It’s hard to pick a singular key moment out of a 88-58 final result. But there was an “event” that occurred that could have a major impact on South Carolina’s success in Southeastern Conference play.
The event in question? The return of senior Evka Baniulis’ shooting touch.
A career 40% shooter behind the arc, Baniulis entered Tuesday night’s game shooting just 26% this season from 3-point range. The forward had only made 10-of-38 attempts this season.
Baniulis had a return to form against Longwood, hitting 5-of-8 three pointers for a 15-point effort.
“I did feel it tonight. For the last three days, I really put in a lot of work, said Baniulis. “I knew it was going to go in tonight because I put the work in.”
The senior said that Coach Darrin Horn’s belief in his shooting abilities helped him maintain his confidence.
“He never worried for a second,” he said. “He never told me, ‘OK, maybe pass next time.’ He helped me get out of the slump.”
“Anytime a guy can shoot over 50% from [3-point range] is great and we think he’s capable of that,” said Horn. “I’ve been telling you guys for weeks that I wasn’t worried about Evka. Evka’s going to make shots – that’s going to happen.”
Key Box Score
|Total FG-FGA||3 pt FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Rebs||Pts||Assts||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|F Evaldas Baniulis||5-8||5-8||0-0||2||15||1||0||0||0||20|
“I think the biggest difference for him and where he’s grown is he still grabbed a couple boards, had an assist, no turnovers. He’s doing other positive stuff.” – Head Coach Darrin Horn
- Freshman Ramon Galloway picked up his first career start tonight. He finished with 12 points and three rebounds.
- Baniulis (15), Austin Steed (9) and Stephen Spinella (5) finished with season highs in points.
- The Gamecocks finished a point shy of their biggest halftime lead of the season. Longwood’s 24 points in the first half was the smallest offensive output by a Gamecock opponent in the first half this season.
- The Lancers committed 22 turnovers – the 7th time the Gamecocks have forced their opponent into 20 or more turnovers.
-Freshman Ramon Galloway, when asked what he expects to face in his first season of SEC action.