USC took down The Citadel today by a score of 80-66. First of all, The Citadel deserves lots of credit for coming into Colonial Life Arena and giving the Gamecocks a tough game. Early on, this game had upset written all over it, as The Citadel roared to a double digit lead by virtue of a hot shooting hand, tough defense, and sloppy play by USC. Only later in the first half did the Bulldogs' shots stop falling and did USC assert its superior athleticism to take the lead; South Carolina eventually took a more commanding lead with a couple of runs in the second half. The Bulldogs, who played Michigan State tough a few nights ago, appear to be a good team and should be competitive in the Southern Conference. When their shots are falling, this team is very dangerous. Luckily for the Gamecocks, The Citadel's shots didn't fall as often as they did against Michigan State.
There are both positives and negatives to take away from this game. On the negative side of things, the team again looked a little streaky. They played very sloppy early on, giving up several turnovers and taking poorly selected shots. Later in the game, they settled down and played more consistently, but overeager play while running the court still led to some strange turnovers and missed opportunities. I know that Coach Horn prefers an uptempo style, but we should have slowed things down and milked the clock a little once we took the commanding lead in the second half. When you're up by around 10 with five minutes remaining, you don't give the other team chances to get back into the game by giving up turnovers in the fullcourt game. We also should have tried to get the ball to Holmes and Archie on the post more often, as they had a size advantage against The Citadel's post players and were effective with their backs to the basket.
On the positive side of things, we did see the guys overcome adversity against what's likely one of the better teams we've played so far. We also saw Brandis Raley-Ross return to something resembling his old form. Overall, this was a solid win and we should be happy it ended like it did. Despite some poor stretches, the team generally played well after the 10-minute mark in the first half. Time for Presby next.