After barely surviving a New Year's Eve game against USC-Upstate, South Carolina, with Bruce Ellington back on the squad, whipped the South Carolina St. Bulldogs this evening in Columbia. Although Ellington got in on the action with nine points on 3-3 3FG shooting, he wasn't the leading scorer; that honor goes to Malik Cooke and Damontre Harris, the latter of whom had one of his better games of the season. This was really a team effort for the Gamecocks, though, with most players getting some solid PT and several nearly breaking double-figure scoring.
One doesn't want to make too much of a game against SC State, but one thing I did like a lot about Carolina's performance in this game was our shooting. Even against team's with poor defense, Carolina has shot the ball very poorly for much of the year, seemingly unable to capitalize on open jumpers. However, several players, such as Ellington, Eric Smith, and Damien Leonard, seem to be shooting decently well over the last few games. Needless to say, if that continues to be the case, it will make a major difference. Carolina has shown that it can play good defense, but without a good offensive option in the post (sorry, Harris is a good shot blocker, but is still raw on offense), it's going to have to rely on its guards and swing men for most of its scoring.
Carolina travels to Rupp to take on the top-five Kentucky Wildcats this Saturday.