A little home cooking can do a lot for a team: Playing its first true homestand of the season, South Carolina men's basketball defense rebounded after a bad loss on Saturday, defeating Georgia 83-59 on Wednesday night.
The game was spearheaded by Georgia’s shooting from behind the arc. In the first half, the Bulldogs shot a dreadful 1-12, and in the second, they shot 3-14. The Bulldogs finished the game 21-66 from the field.
South Carolina adjusted its defense over the past couple days, stretching out its zone and playing more conservatively. This adjustment kept the Bulldogs quiet from the field, and South Carolina head coach Frank Martin said he hopes this solid play continues for the rest of the season.
“We’re going to guard ball-screens one way, and we eliminated the options, and I think it gave our guys a sense of peace,” Martin said postgame. “I had to figure out how to do my job better ... I had to make some adjustments, for this team in this moment.”
The Gamecocks began began shooting 3-17 from the field leading into the under-12 media timeout. Luckily, it got much better, and the team finished the game 30-58 from the field.
“I think we got a couple stops defensively; that's what really brought us to one, and giving us confidence to go score on the other end,” sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard said postgame.
South Carolina took a 10-point lead at the break, in large part to a 21-5 run. Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant had a couple big plays before the break, but the second half was where he shone.
Picking up his first double-double of the season, Bryant finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He had the crowd on their feet with a big posturizing dunk and, later, an emphatic block on a fast break.
“Those are really, really difficult plays,” Martin said. “I’m glad [Bryant] wasn't looking at me, cause he would’ve thought I was mad.”
Another long offensive drought helped the Gamecocks out, too, as Georgia went just under seven minutes without a field goal. The Gamecocks' defense let up a season-low 32% of their opponent’s shots on Wednesday night.
Couisnard, junior guard AJ Lawson and junior forward Justin Minaya each scored double digits to pad onto the win. This was led by going 9-19 from three.
“Getting us a win, at a home game, was big, and that's just going to give us confidence to keep going," Bryant said postgame.
The Gamecocks will look to build off that confidence on Saturday as they visit Vanderbilt. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on SEC Network.