South Carolina’s 89-79 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday night showed the team still has work to do to be a finely tuned machine.
“We’re a work in progress. We have to continue to understand how we have to play to be successful,” said Horn. “Sometimes the flow of games can make that tough…you have to find a way to fight through those things sometimes.”
At times, the Gamecocks were able to pressure the Commodores into mistakes and put points on the board. However, for some stretches of play, South Carolina was unable to generate much offense or slow down Vanderbilt.
“It starts on the defensive end. You’re not going to beat anyone when they shoot 60% against you. There was some spots with the energy and aggressiveness we need to have, but it wasn’t enough. That’s the bottom line,” said Horn.
The Commodores scored a number of points on transition after breaking South Carolina’s press.
“In the second half, it was a result of they got a couple of easy ones when we lost focus of what we need to do,” said Horn. “It still goes back to individually not doing what they need to do and as a team not being locked in on stuff. We talked about not giving up layups on the press.”
Senior guard Devan Downey agreed that more intensity on defense was needed to stop Vanderbilt.
“I don’t feel like the defensive intensity was there on the press at times,” he said. “We were a step late to everything.”
Downey finished with a season high 35 points for the Gamecocks. Lakeem Jackson and Brandis Raley-Ross finished with 11.
The Gamecocks struggled to get points from outside the starting five as the bench accounted for just seven points.
“[Downey] can’t score 100 himself,” said Jackson. “Myself, the other big men, everyone off the bench – we have to put the ball in the hole too. We’ve just got to be ready for those opportunities.”
Key Box Score
|Total FG-FGA||3 pt FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Rebs||Pts||Assts||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|G Devan Downey||12-21||3-6||8-9||5||35||4||2||0||6||37|
With his season-high effort of 35 points, Downey moved past Carlos Powell on the all-time scoring list at South Carolina into sixth place. The guard now has 97 points in the first three league games of the season – that’s a 32.3 point average in SEC play.
Despite the impressive scoring performance, Downey spoke after the game more about improving defensively.
“I did a bad job setting the tone on the defensive end. We just can’t come out that flat on defense,” he said. “I’m the point guard and I didn’t do a good job setting the tone. The team feeds off my defense and i just didn’t provide it for them tonight.”
- The Gamecocks fall to 9-4 this season when scoring at least 70 points.
- Vanderbilt’s 89 points was the second most allowed by South Carolina this season.
- For just the fourth time in 20 games under Darrin Horn, the Gamecocks lost when collecting at least 10 steals. (South Carolina finished with 15).
- The Gamecocks forced 20 turnovers – the 8th time this season they have forced 20 or more in a game.
- Vanderbilt’s depth proved effective for the Commodores as their bench outscored South Carolina’s bench 30-7.
“We need to give a complete performance. Collectively we weren’t good defensively tonight to give ourselves a chance to win.” – Head Coach Darrin Horn