It was a rough night from the opening tip for the Gamecock men’s basketball team on Saturday as they suffered a 94-53 blowout loss to Texas A&M.
The Gamecocks have now given up at least 80 points in three of its first four conference games and lost its last two home games by an average of 42 points. South Carolina fell to (1-3) in the SEC with its only victory being on the road against Kentucky.
“We in the SEC, we got to just come with it every night. Every team is good from top to bottom,” senior guard Chico Carter said. “Big win at Kentucky, but we had to come in here and get it done as well.”
South Carolina struggled and went down double-digits less than three minutes into the game. Three flaws put the Gamecocks down early: Inefficient shooting, careless turnovers and struggles to grab rebounds.
“They're super aggressive, and that's been, to some degree, that's been part of our kryptonite,” head coach Lamont Paris said. “If I look at the teams that we've had lopsided losses to, there's a lot of physicality and aggression involved in what those teams do on the defensive end.”
In the first half, the Gamecocks shot 29% from the floor and 18% from the three. Texas A&M’s defense forced South Carolina to take contested jumpers all half, allowing the Aggies to continue growing their lead.
On the glass, the Gamecocks were dominated. South Carolina grabbed just eight rebounds all half and gave up 27 to the Aggies, including 10 on offense that resulted in 14 second chance points.
Junior forward Julius Marble led the Aggies in the first half with 13 points. His teammate, graduate guard Dexter Dennis, also scored double figures with 12 points and five rebounds.
For the entire first half, the Aggies played a physical game that South Carolina could not keep up with. The Gamecocks scored just 18 points in the first half, tying the first half of the game to East Carolina as the team’s lowest-scoring half this season.
“They hit us in the mouth and kind of forced us into their game,” sophomore guard Jacobi Wright said. “We couldn't really execute some of the stuff we worked on in practice, so they kind of determined how the flow of the game went early.”
At the break, the team faced a 32-point deficit.
Texas A&M continued to force turnovers and dominate the glass in the second half. The Aggies outrebounded South Carolina 48-16 for the game, grabbing more offensive rebounds (20) than the Gamecocks had total rebounds.
Five Aggies players scored double figures in the game. Marble finished with 14 points and Dennis scored 13 points and had eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV led the team with 20 points, and junior guard Khalen Robinson and junior forward Henry Coleman III each scored 12 points.
Freshman guard Zachary Davis started his second career game for the garnet and black, filling in for injured graduate forward Hayden Brown. Davis scored a career-high 13 points to lead the team in scoring. Sophomore guard Meechie Johnson added 11 points as the only other Gamecock in double figures.
“With (Davis') length, I thought it was a good way to go. He can pass — he'll attack and can make some plays,” Paris said. “I'm happy with his progress. He's a typical young guy. I thought some of these minutes were valuable for him, even though the score was lopsided.”
Next, the Gamecocks will play its second of a three-game home stand against Ole Miss on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be shown on the SEC Network.
“We're still early in the conference play, so we can't really dwell on this one game,” Wright said. “We do that, the rest of the games won’t go good, so we just need to keep positive (and) keep pushing toward these next games.”