Gamecock Man will do the full wrap-up on tonight's game, but here are some post-game "stock watch" type notes for our tough road loss at Mississippi's C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum.
Rising: Brenton Williams. Williams had one of his best nights of the season - 5 of 9 from the floor in 27 minutes, with an impressive 3-for-6 from three point range, three steals and just one turnover. Williams is too slight to cut through the paint a la Bruce Ellington, but he still needs to be the starting 2G. If Brenton gets Leonard's shots, there is a good chance we win the game.
Holding Steady, Paying Dividends: Malik Cooke. Malik got out-muscled in the paint by the Rebs' Buckner, Murphy and Henry, but he ended the game with 17 points and 7 boards. He was a terrific 3-for-3 from the arc which kept us close - but he also had 4 turnovers that we could ill-afford. Malik's not the problem, yet its almost like we've got to have more from him, too. Malik is still the lone blue-chipper, and the only truly dependable guy on the team game in and game out.
More Volatile than a Penny Stock in a Yahoo Chat Room: Anthony Gill. 33 minutes and 10 points. You have to be pumped by his 80% shooting percentage, except you realize he only took 5 shots. You have to love 2 of 2 at the line, but then he only drew one foul in the act of shooting, despite his slashing style. You have to love the charges he drew, not to mention the 2 steals and 2 assists, but not the 2 turn-overs. When he's on, he's the best guy on the floor - it's like he's the only one moving sometimes. And when he's not, he's not the best guy on the floor - which we need him to be. All the balls that Leonard clanked up from three point range should have been fed down to Gill.
Falling: Bruce Ellington. It's tough to be hard on Bruce - the hero of our first (and so far only) SEC win over Bama - not to mention gridiron hero over Clemson. But Ellington really disappointed tonight. He started and played 36 minutes, but was 4-16 from the floor and 1-5 from the arc, with just 1 rebound, 1 steal and 4 turn-overs. He did have five impressive assists, but we needed more from our starting PG than 25% shooting and 9 points. Worse, Bruce never got to the line even once, and got blocked at least twice that I can remember. Had Bruce played up to his usual standards, we should have won; Bruce is clearly trying to do it all - and, unsurprisingly, that isn't working.
Falling Faster: Damontre Harris. Harris - starting in the 4 slot - fouled out with the game on the line (around the 5 min mark I think). He was 3-of-3 from the floor, which is praiseworthy. But we need more production from Damontre, and more than just 3 boards.
Free Falling: Gamecock reserve Forwards. Lakeem Jackson, Carlton Geathers and RJ Slawson came off the bench to combine for 41 minutes, but managed a combined 1-for-5 from the field. Eight boards jointly were nice; no FT's was not so good, and neither was just 1 block between 'em.
Plummeting to Earth with a Chute Malfunction: Damien Leonard. I consider Leonard to be Horn's most glaring failure. He obviously has coached Leonard to chuck up shots no matter if his feet are set, or someone is in his face, or if there is a better option in the front court. Leonard played 17 minutes and was a dismal 1 of 8 from the floor, of which 7 were missed three's. 1 rebound and 3 points from our starting 2G is horrific. If Leonard doesn't play, we might have won. It's really gotten to that point.
Last Seen on a Milk Carton: Eric Smith. Did not play. What gives? He couldn't have been worse than Leonard. And Bruce probably needed to sit a few minutes in the second half. A bad decision by Horn not to play Smith.
Going Gangbusters on a Foreign Exchange: If Murphy Holloway (14 points, 11 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 turn-overs) is wearing Garnet and Black instead of Cardinal and Blue, we win the game. It's that simple. Lay that one at Horn's feet, too. He had to convince Holloway to stay. He didn't. Holloway cost us our best chance for a second SEC win. It might be February 15, when we host UGA, before we win another.