The Gamecocks defeated the USC-Upstate Spartans by a score of 75-53. The game was a pretty thorough rout in which we led by a wide margin by halftime, although sloppy play in the second half kept the Gamecocks from producing an even greater margin of victory. Zam Fredrick led the way with 23 points and Devan Downey added 16 for good measure.
Offensively, we continue to live and die by hot and cold streaks. We built the large first half lead on 54% shooting but cooled off considerably in the second half, shooting a paltry 30%. That led to an overall 42% for the night, not exactly a percentage to envy but apparently enough to get it done against the Spartans.
We continue to make up for cold shooting spells by hitting the offensive boards hard. Mike Holmes pulled down another seven offensive rebounds, while the other big men each had a few of their own. We're doing very well in this area, but I'm concerned that we won't be quite as successful against bigger teams. Hope I'm wrong, of course.
Another positive was the continued development of Austin Steed. Steed provided another serviceable outing off the bench, adding seven points on 3-4 shooting and giving us a solid defensive presence down low. As a team that lacks a lot of size in the starting line-up, we need to continue to see solid play out of Steed.
Overall, this was another fairly promising but hardly perfect performance. We're playing as well or maybe a bit better than most of us expected but continue to show signs of not being a whole lot different than last year's team. It's also hard to make too much out of a game against Upstate. No offense to the Spartans, but they're still only a few years removed from Division II and aren't quite ready for playing teams like us yet. In addition to losing to us, they were also blown out by Notre Dame and a struggling UGA team. We'll have to wait a bit longer before we get a look at how the Gamecocks can do against more legitimate threats.
Share your thoughts on the Gamecocks' play thus far in the comments thread.