The Court Cocks hosted Kentucky Wesleyan tonight in exhibition action, winning 78-55. It's hard to take too much away from games like this, as teams are trying to feel themselves out and are, consequently, generally sloppy. That was the case for the Gamecocks tonight, as we committed an ugly 18 turnovers. Moreover, coaches want to play the bench as much as possible in these games to figure out where the new faces will fit in. (At least, this is what happens as long as we maintain a safe lead, which was mostly the case tonight.) This played out predictably, as a large range of players got between 18-28 minutes except for Austin Steed, who only played eight. Trust me, Devan Downey will play much more than that during the regular season.
Despite the fact that these performances aren't necessarily representative, however, we can take a few things away from them. First of all, as the above suggests, exhibitions are a good chance to take a look at the new faces. We got to see two of ours tonight: Lakeem Jackson and Ramon Galloway. Jackson, of course, is the big name, and he turned in a solid performance, scoring eight points and registering three steals. The steals are a good sign, as Darrin Horn will want Jackson to play a big role in the full-court press. Galloway also turned in a really quality performance, scoring 11 points on 3-6/2-4 shooting. We will need Galloway and Brandis Raley-Ross, who also played well, to take on big roles in Zam Fredrick's absence, so it was good to see Galloway show off his shooting prowess.
As far as bad points go, perhaps the most noticeable was our poor free throw shooting: we went 16-27 for 59.3%. Free throws were our bugaboo last year, and unlike the turnovers we committed tonight, we can't just write this one off to rust. I expect we'll continue to see the guys struggle in this regard. I guess the one bright side is that we showed a solid penchant for actually getting to the line.
The Gamecocks open up the regular season next week against Alabama A & M.