South Carolina looked to young players as the men's basketball team experienced its first loss of the season to Stony Brook, 83-81 Friday at Colonial Life Arena.
Despite the loss, freshman guard A.J. Lawson led the team with 23 points and took charge in the game against the Seawolves.
Lawson was a key asset to the team Friday night as he showed off his talent in front of a crowd of 9,657. In his 36 minutes of playing time, Lawson was able to garner six assists for Gamecocks along with three steals. He was also able to hit three shots from beyond the arc.
South Carolina also looked to sophomore forwards Justin Minaya and Felipe Haase, as they were rebounding machines. They both totaled nine rebounds each in a game where the Gamecocks had difficulty rebounding by getting out-rebounded by Stony Brook, 49-33.
“We were in a jumping jack competition,” head coach Frank Martin said. “And then we got pushed around and they beat us to the ball."
Freshman sensation Keyshawn Bryant also contributed to the team on Friday night after leading the team in points against USC-Upstate just three days ago.
Bryant contributed nine points to the scoreboard along with three assists in his 22 minutes of playing time for the Gamecocks.
Even with great play from South Carolina’s younger players, veterans including senior guard Hassani Gravett and senior forward Chris Silva did not contribute as much as they have in the past.
“The problem is that the guys that were trying to fight, to give us a chance, were the kids that had never done it for me before this year,” Martin said. “And that’s really disappointing. Excited for them but really disappointed with all the other guys.”
With young players like Bryant and Lawson stepping up and building momentum, the Gamecocks could have young leadership that grows with experience.
With this loss behind them, Lawson, Bryant and the rest of the Gamecocks will look to bounce back on Tuesday night at Colonial Life Arena as they will take on the Norfolk State Spartans starting at 7 p.m.