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Advanced Box Score - South Carolina Gamecocks v. Baylor Bears

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South Carolina simply didn't make enough shots to beat Baylor, but they did plenty of good things otherwise.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks came up just short against Baylor on Tuesday afternoon, falling 69-65 in Columbia.  While Carolina certainly had their chances, they simply couldn't generate the number of defensive stops against the Baylor offense they needed in the second half to prevail.

Advanced Box Score
Baylor USC
Points
69 Score 65
1.128 PPP 1.062
1.375 Non-TO: 1.270
61 possessions
Basic
21-47 FG 22-54
6-18 3P 5-21
21-26 FT 16-19
8 OREB 13
21 DREB 20
11 TO 10
Four Factors
51.06% eFG 45.37%
17.98% TO 16.34%
28.57% OReb 38.24%
55.32% FTR 35.19%
Shooting
51.72% 2P% 51.52%
33.33% 3P% 23.81%
38.30% 3PA% 38.89%
80.77% FT% 84.21%
Legend
PPP = Points per poss.
Non-TO = PPP on non-turnover poss.
eFG = (2PM+(1.5*3PM))/FGA
FTR = FTA/FGA
3PA% = 3PA/FGA

Three Thoughts on the Teams

1.  Make more shots. Each team took 73 shots on Tuesday, with Carolina taking seven more field goal attempts and Baylor conversely shooting seven more free throws.  The problems came when the Gamecocks only made one more shot from the field, which given that Baylor made one extra three-point shot, means Carolina only out-scored the Bears by one on the floor.  When you couple that with a team that shoots 21-26 from the stripe, you can't win.

Here's another way to think about this - the average NCAA team makes 47% of its 2s, 32% of its 3s, and 67% of its free throws.  If Baylor and USC had both shot at those averages, the Gamecocks beat the Bears 65-62.  Instead, Baylor out-shot its expected point total by 6.6 points, based mostly on out-scoring their expected production from 2 and at the stripe.  The Gamecocks over-produced from the foul line as well, but missed two many 3s, and that killed them.

Shots

Baylor Scored

USC Scored

Baylor Exp.

USC Exp.

Baylor Diff.

USC Diff.

2s

30

34

27.38

31.42

2.62

2.58

3s

18

15

17.50

20.41

0.50

-5.41

FTs

21

16

17.52

12.81

3.48

3.19

Total

69

65

62.396

64.634

6.60

0.37

2. Creating extra shots helped keep them in it. As they are wont to do, the Gamecocks created a ton of extra opportunities for themselves by pounding the offensive glass, grabbing 38% of their misses compared to a 28% rate conceded to Baylor.  When you couple that with basically equivalent turnover rates, you're going to get extra chances to score, and that should be enough to win.

3.  A game to build on. It's frustrating to lose, but the expected points metric does a good job of considering who out-played who outside of that context.  While Carolina fouled more than you wanted them to, they ultimately did enough in rebounding and turnovers to create enough shots to win the game.  If they get two more 3s to hit the bottom of the net (which would have had them shooting at the NCAA average), they win the game.  So no need to overreact.

Three Thoughts on Player Stats

1.  Too many empty spots. Look at the key for the color that represents Brian Steele.  Now look for that color in the chart.  In 8 minutes, Brian Steele put up one personal foul, and otherwise didn't contribute anywhere in the box score.  I know there are soft factors and intangibles, but his empty minutes really hurt the Gamecocks when he was on the court due to the two early fouls picked up by Duane Notice.

Speaking of Notice, you don't see much of him here either, except in the personal foul department.  While there's plenty of reasons to expect he can and will play better going forward, it was a very bad afternoon for the Canadian sophomore in his 15 minutes of action.

Lastly, look for that olive color that represents Mindaugas Kacinas.  You can see a sliver of him in the offensive and defensive rebounding lines (one each), but he's basically invisible here as well, despite 15 minutes of playing time.  When you have a nine-man rotation and three of them don't show up, it's hard to beat good teams.

2.  The guys who needed to produce, produced. That put the onus on Sindarius Thornwell and Tyrone Johnson, and they didn't disappoint, combining for over half of Carolina's offensive output and adding six assists against a combined five turnovers.  The Gamecocks made 22 field goals, and Thornwell and Johnson combined for 20 field goals and assists.  That's far too much pressure on just two players to produce (of course, some of those baskets could include a Thornwell assist on a Johnson bucket or vice-versa, but the point remains, they combined for 20 of the 33 field goal makes or assists).

3.  Michael Carrera may be back. The junior Venezuelan filled up the entire box score (including the personal foul column), with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and one assist.  His size still causes concern, particularly on defense when he doesn't create turnovers with steals, but he provides an offensive weapon that no other frontcourt member can at this point.  Carrera scored 10 points in 27 minutes on Tuesday; the rest of the backcourt combined for just 8 points in their 54 minutes.

Clearly the Gamecocks need more from the other spots on the court, but Thornwell, Johnson, and Carrera combined with Marcus Stroman - who I feel bad leaving out, as he played very well - to put together fine games, and Laimonas Chatkevicius was active given he only played 14 minutes.  But Carolina can't survive the type of production it got from the rest of the rotation against good teams and expect to win.