On behalf of the GABA community, please allow me to offer belated but heartfelt congratulations to Coach Darrin Horn and the Gamecock roundballers for beating the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum this past Sunday! This is a big win for several reasons:
One, it's our second hoops victory in a row over CU and the Tigs' new coach, Brad Brownell. After the sustained success that former Tigers' coach Oliver Purnell enjoyed over Davey Odom and Darrin Horn, it was great to see the Cocks' hoopsters reassert themselves as the preeminent basketball program in the Palmetto State. It may not make a difference in recruiting top echelon guys like Edisto's Brice Johnson - who are likely to commit to brand-name schools like UNC, Duke, etc. - but it will make a big difference with most in-state recruits, who we're going to need to bring to Columbia.
Two, it was a clutch road-win in a hostile environment - we rallied from 7 points down in the second half. Earlier on in the season, I doubt we could have recovered from a deficit like that against a major-college opponent on their floor. It's also nice to see Bruce Ellington (recently released from football duties) make a positive impact in his second game back. True, the men's program is not out of the woods yet - our field goal percentage was still a woeful 42%, and Clemson edged us in re-bounds (32-30), but we did see noticeable improvement in three-point shot selection (5-15, 33%) and, making even greater strides, we only had 7 turn-overs.
Three, and best of all, we spoiled Clemmy's half-time love-in, when Dabo and the Tiger football team hauled their second-tier conference tournament trophy out in front of the Pickens County faithful. Dabo Swinney - who is the first person in history of the world to TKO himself in a one-man pillow fight (i.e., his scripted, mis-directed, foolish rant on Thursday) - was shown up again by the Garnet and Black. Bruce Ellington may be the first Gamecock in history to beat Clemson in two sports in the span of eight days (and on the ninth day he rested!). I hope Dabo had a bad case of heartburn.
This win will probably not right the ship by itself - at the end of this 2011-2012 hoops season, AD Eric Hyman must seriously evaluate Darrin Horn's tenure at USC.
Be that as it may, however, I'll be grinning ear-to-ear for the rest of December. We now own Clemson in Football, Baseball and Basketball. If that's not the defintion of happiness as 'Cock fan, I don't know what is!