The South Carolina men’s basketball team shot the lights out in its 85-74 win over the Wofford Terriers Tuesday night.
The Gamecocks shot 60% from the field and hit 12 of 22 3-pointers to shoot 55% behind the arc. Wofford could not keep up with South Carolina’s shooting performance, putting them away late.
Senior guard Erik Stevenson had the hot hand for the Gamecocks. He was feeling it from the start, going 6-6 to open the game. He finished with 25 points, hitting 5-7 from three. He also led the team in rebounds with six.
“I got to credit the program, the staff, the players, all of my teammates; you know, they’re always telling me to shoot it,” Stevenson said postgame. “It’s a relief to have a group of guys — a group of family members, in my opinion — telling me to keep playing with confidence; keep shooting.”
It was a game of runs for both teams. At the start of the second half, South Carolina went on an 8-0 run. Wofford responded with a 12-0 run of its own to tie the game at 50 before the Gamecocks responded with a 10-0 run to take control of the game.
“We got a lot of big games under our belt, so an 8-0 run, that’s nothing for a team full of old-heads. It’s a blessing to have that experience: Never get too high; never get too low,” Stevenson said.
It was a highly competitive first half. The Gamecocks started the game sloppy, committing four turnovers in the first four minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Wofford was hot from three, getting open looks and hitting five in the first eight minutes.
“The one thing that we can’t do in practice, as much as we try to simulate, is run their offense at the same speed that they run, so we had to take the initial hit, which we did, and then adapt, cause we’re all first-year guys in my defensive system, and I thought we were really good there,” head coach Frank Martin said postgame.
The Terriers drew fouls early on in the game. It went 8-12 from the line in the first half and finished the game 18-23.
It was another impressive win over a talented mid-major program. Martin said he enjoys these types of games early in the season because it makes his team better.
“When you play these kind of teams like we’ve played the last four teams, you’re playing teams that play offense and defense connected,” Martin said. “We’ve improved since the day we played Princeton. They made us improve, and that’s a credit to our guys.”
Graduate student guard James Reese had an impressive game on both ends of the floor for the Gamecocks. He ended the game with 15 points, four assists and one steal.
"James Reese is an elite defender,” Martin said. “(Reese and Stevenson) have brought a personality to our team that's elevated everyone around them.”
This was the teams’ final game without pre-season All-SEC player Keyshawn Bryant. He will return from his five-game suspension the next time out.
South Carolina snatched its third win in a row in this game. The team will look to make it four in a row Sunday when it hosts Rider at 2 p.m.