The Gamecocks, now a solid 54 in Pomeroy's RPI, wrapped up the OOC slate at 11-2 with a 78-61 victory over Wofford (4-6) in Colonial Life Arena. Wofford deserves credit for a hard-fought game. The contest was close throughout the early part of the first half and Wofford looked ready to chip into USC's lead early in the second. However, Carolina responded to each of Wofford's pushes and eventually won the game by a comfortable margin. Devan Downey continued his assault on SEC Player of the Year with a 17-point performance on 8-16 shooting.
Your judgment about this game depends on whether you think it's good that the Gamecocks were able to respond to a Wofford team that was effectively able to force us into a half-court game or whether it's bad that we weren't able to force the Terriers into a run-and-shoot game. Many SEC teams will try to do what Wofford did to us last night, and, on the one hand, we proved that we can have success against such a strategy. On the other hand, how successful will we be against an SEC team with better athletes that tries to do the same thing?
We'll find out Saturday, when the Gamecocks take on Auburn as they begin SEC play. The Tigers are a slow-it-down team that will try to push us out of our game. Auburn isn't a great team, but they have a smart coach in Jeff Lebo and are better than most teams we've played this year. Proving that we can either impose our will or respond to their success will go a long way towards proving we can hang with even better SEC teams.
Oh, and by the way, Go Court Cocks!