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Gamecocks smother Tigers

South Carolina played a dominant defensive game on Friday night as they dominated their in-state rivals.

Smile, Gamecocks.  You beat the hell out of Clemson.
Smile, Gamecocks. You beat the hell out of Clemson.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

30 of the 40 minutes went to script.  But the 10 that didn't left some doubt.

USC jumped out to a 20-9 lead on Friday evening against their arch-rivals from the upstate, but over the next 10 minutes, the Tigers clawed their way back into the game, using a last-minute possession to take the lead for the first time in 16 minutes as the two teams went into the locker room.

But the Gamecocks re-focused at the half, came out, and dominated the Tigers defensively in the second half, holding them to just 15 second-half points on 5-28 shooting in a 68-45 win over Clemson on Friday night.  The win is the first over Clemson in Frank Martin's tenure.

"We didn't turn it over, so we didn't give them any runouts, so they had to come against our defense, and our defense has been pretty good.  I think we've held three real good opponents under 30 percent from the field," said the Gamecock head coach after the game.

"When you do that against Clemson, you're doing something right."

The Gamecocks did that and then some on Friday night, and with such a smothering defense, it made it easy for the offense to find its form.  Duane Notice led Carolina with 19 points on 7-15 shooting, including a 5-9 outing from beyond the arc.  Laimonas Chatkevicius also contributed 12 points on 6-8 shooting.

And on a night where the Carolina defense played so well, it didn't matter that leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell only scored 6 points.  The game was won on the other side of the court.

"If we don't turn it over and we take good shots, it gives us a chance to set our defense, and when our defense sets I think it's pretty good," said Martin as he reveled in the victory.