My congratulations to the Miami Hurricanes, who just took the Charleston Classic with an 85-70 victory over the Gamecocks. Miami guard James Dews turned in an epic performance, scoring 22 points on 8-11 shooting. Devan Downey led the Gamecocks with 20 points.
The big story is that Dominique Archie went down with a knee injury early in the game. When he left the game, my first thought was that we'd have to shoot extremely well to win, as our defense would suffer with Archie out. Our defense did suffer, but we didn't step up to the plate and make our shots, and the result was predictable.
Now we get to sweat out a few hours before we learn some definites on Archie's status. Unfortunately, the early word is that this is a torn ACL, which means that Archie is done for the year. It's possible, though, that it's just a hyperextension, which would put Archie out for two or three weeks and have him back for SEC play. Archie injured the knee coming down hard on it after a dunk, and it looked more like the kind of thing that could lead to a hyperextension than a tear, but we'll have to wait and see.
It's going to really be a tragedy if Archie is done for the year. I would hate to see such a great Gamecock miss the majority of his senior season with a knee injury, especially considering that he passed up on making some bucks in Europe to come back and try to make a run at the NCAAs. We're also going to have to adjust expectations for the team if Archie is done. While I'm confident that Coach Horn and our players can play better without Archie in the lineup than they did tonight, they'll still hardly be the team they were with him.
A few more thoughts:
We continue to shoot the ball horribly; only Ramon Galloway, Evaldas Baniulus, and Archie finished above .500 from the field, and many players had abysmal percentages. We also shot 45% from the line tonight. We've gotta get it together in these areas or it could be a long year. With teams choosing to play zone against us, we're going to have to make shots to be productive offensively.
Lakeem Jackson struggled mightily tonight. So far, I'm more impressed with Ramon Galloway. Both, though, will improve over the course of the year. That's the way it is with freshmen. If Archie is indeed done, Jackson will need to fill his role eventually.
Devan Downey did what he could to get us back into the game, but his shots weren't falling. So far this year, he hasn't looked like the inhuman player he was at times last year. This is partially because teams are taking him out of the game with zones, but it's also because he hasn't been able to figure out a way to counter. I have faith he'll get it together, though.
It's really a shame we didn't get a win tonight. A win over a middle-tier ACC team would have been good for our tourney resume if we make it that far.
Well that's a wrap for tonight. Hopefully we can iron out some of the wrinkles before we take on Western Kentucky after Thanksgiving.