Category Archives: Men's Basketball

MBB Post-Game Blog: Keeping to the Script

Playing at home? Check.

First half shooting struggles? Check.

Manageable halftime deficit? Check.

Second half surge? Check.

Win? Check.

For the fourth time at home in SEC play this season, the Gamecocks followed that script to perfection, gutting out a 77-71 win over Florida at Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday night.

South Carolina shot a forgettable 14-of-37 (38%) in the opening half, but trailed only 35-31 at the break. The Gamecocks were 0-of-9 from behind the arc.

“We were getting great looks, but they weren’t going in,” said South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn.

The Gamecocks were able to keep the Gators from getting too much of an advantage by capitalizing on Florida miscues. Florida turned the ball over 12 times in the first half while South Carolina had only three turnovers.

Leading scorer Devan Downey had just eight points in the opening period. Junior Sam Muldrow led the Gamecocks with 10 points.

“Tonight we wanted to compete and keep playing the next play regardless of how things were going,” said Horn.

Senior guard Brandis Raley-Ross said the team was confident at halftime about shot selection.

“It wasn’t like we were taking bad shots,” he said. “We knew if we kept taking good shots and moving the ball around offensively, they were going to go in.”

In the second half, shots started falling for the Gamecocks while the Gators continued to turn the ball over. The surge started to build and South Carolina would take the lead for good with six and half minutes to go.

Raley-Ross credited defensive pressure (the Gamecocks would force 20 Gator turnovers) as the factor that pushed South Carolina past Florida.

“Defense – we were preaching it at every huddle,” he said.  “We knew we could do what we wanted offensively – it was all about defense.”

Raley-Ross scored 17 points in the second half, including four three-pointers. Downey got on track as well, finishing with 24 points.

“The second half effort was much better,” said Horn. “We played with a lot more energy on both ends of the court. It was a terrific total team effort.”

Key Box Score

Total FG-FGA 3 pt FG-FGA FT-FTA Rebs Pts Assts TO Blk Stl Min
G Brandis Raley-Ross 6-15 4-11 4-6 2 20 2 2 0 2 33

Early in the second half, Downey drove inside and kicked it out to Raley-Ross for a 3-point attempt. Raley-Ross faked and passed the ball away. His head coach was less than pleased.

“I told him at the media timeout that he leads the country in shot fakes,” said Horn. “I told him if he passed up another 3, he was coming out.”

The senior guard heeded the call, hitting 4-of-8 from behind the arc in the second half to score 20 points. The 20-point effort was a season-high for Raley-Ross and tied his career high.

“Brandis was huge and made some really big shots for us in the second half,” said Horn.

“He told me he was going to take me out so I let it fly,” said Raley-Ross. “It felt good to make them down the stretch like that.”

Key Stats

  • South Carolina forced 20 Florida turnovers, a season-high for the Gators.
  • The Gamecocks scored 20 points off Gator turnovers.
  • South Carolina forced 20 or more turnovers for the ninth time this season.
  • Tonight was the first time this year that two Gamecocks have scored 20 or more points in the game.
  • Tonight was also the first time since the loss to Vanderbilt on Jan. 16 that more than two Gamecocks scored in double figures.
  • Florida struggled from the free throw line, making only 9-of-22 attempts.

Key Quote

“Devan has been so good and so special that I think the effort our entire team is putting forth…has gone a little overlooked. Our guys are continuing to fight and play to find a way to win,” – Darrin Horn.

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Marines Chin-Up Challenge

If you’re coming to the men’s basketball game, stop by the U.S. Marines display near the College Street entrance to participate in the Chin-Up Challenge. The contest will be available at tonight’s game vs. Florida, next Saturday’s game against Tennessee and the March 3rd contest against Alabama.

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Top of the Key: MBB vs. Florida

The Gamecocks will host the Florida Gators this Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network (Channel 806 – Time Warner Cable, Columbia) with Dave Neal and Mark Gottfried on the call. Fans can also listen to Andy Demetra and Casey Manning on the Gamecock ISP Sports Network across the state.

South Carolina (13-9, 4-4) Notes

  • South Carolina is 10-2 in games played at Colonial Life Arena this season, scoring 80.0 points per game in those contests.
  • The Gamecocks are 3-1 in conference home games this season with wins over LSU, then-No.1 Kentucky and Georgia.
  • Devan Downey’s 3.0 steals per game lead the league and rank second in the nation (as of Feb. 8 NCAA stats)
  • In January’s contest in Gainesville, Downey dropped 36 on the Gators and has averaged 34.5 ppg against UF in the last two meetings
  • At the Colonial Life Arena in 2009, South Carolina defeated the Gators, 70-69, on a buzzer-beater layup made by Zam Fredrick.
  • Over the last 3 seasons, no game between UF and South Carolina has only been decided by more than 4 points, and 9 of the last 11 meetings between the two have been decided by six points.

Florida  (17-6, 6-3) Notes

  • Florida holds a 36-20 advantage in the all-time series with South Carolina, including a 17-12 upper hand in games played in Columbia
  • Chandler Parsons’ buzzer-beater 3 gave Florida a 58-56 win in the first meeting this season between the two schools just two weeks ago
  • Florida has won the last 10 match-ups between the two SEC East rivals
  • The Gators have been much more effective closing out games, and after last Thursday’s 66-65 win at Alabama, are 5-3 in games decided by 5 points or less
  • Chandler Parsons had his third double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 18 points and 12 boards against Mississippi State. He leads UF in rebounding in SEC play at 7.4 per game, including a team-high 22 offensive rebounds

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Friends of the Program No. 5 Available

The latest edition of Andy Demetra’s Friends of the Program podcast is available on the Gamecock iTunes store. Andy speaks with Carter Blackburn from ESPN and the SEC Network. Courtside Confidential is with Gamecock Austin Steed. Click here to download.

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Halftime Act Preview: Red Panda

The halftime act for tonight’s men’s basketball game and tomorrow’s women’s basketball game will be Red Panda. Check out this YouTube clip for a preview:

Tickets are still available for both games – visit GamecocksOnline.com or call 800-4SC-FANS.

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South Carolina vs. Tennessee Scene Setter

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Top of the Key: MBB vs. Tennessee

The Gamecocks travel to Knoxville to face the No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers at 6 p.m. You can watch the game live on ESPN or ESPN360.com. Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes will have the call. You can also listen to the Gamecock ISP Sports Network with Andy Demetra and Casey Manning.

South Carolina (13-8, 4-3) Notes

  • Senior guard Devan Downey has scored 30 or more points in his last three games and in five of the seven SEC contests this season.
  • Downey (22.9 ppg) leads the team and the league in scoring. He ranks 4th in the nation in points per game.
  • In his 70th career game, junior Sam Muldrow picked up his first double-double, scoring 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in South Carolina’s win over Georgia.
  • The Gamecocks are 10-4 when they score at least 70 points.
  • Downey’s 3.0 steals per game leads the league and ranks third in the nation.

Tennessee (17-4, 5-2) Notes

  • Scotty Hopson leads the Vols with 13.3 ppg and is shooting .476 from behind the arc.
  • Wayne Chism averages a double-double in SEC play with 14.1 ppg and 10.1 rebounds per game.
  • Tennessee is 69-6 when scoring 80 or more points under Bruce Pearl.
  • Bobby Maze’s 2.8 assist/turnover ratio leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally.
  • The Vols are 16-1 when they hold their opponent to under 50 percent shooting.
  • Tennessee leads the league with a +5.4 turnover margin.

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