We established before the game that South Carolina was much, much better than North Carolina A&T. It didn't take long for that to show itself at the Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday night.
The Gamecocks scored the first eight points of the evening and raced out to a 21-6 lead in the first eight minutes before stretching their advantage to 47-16 at the half, before cruising to an easy 91-54 victory. Given how quickly Carolina jumped out ahead of the Aggies, the game was never in doubt.
The biggest story of the evening was that Shamiek Sheppard decided to forego a redshirt season and made his first appearance of the year after recovering from a knee injury sustained this summer. He'll look to find a role on this squad in their last 19 regular season games, although with a solid nine-man rotation in place, playing time may be more difficult to come by than it appeared when he enrolled.
Still, it's what passed for news on a night where Carolina dominated from beginning to end.
|Advanced Box Score|
|PPP = Points per poss.|
|Non-TO = PPP on non-turnover poss.|
|eFG = (2PM+(1.5*3PM))/FGA|
|FTR = FTA/FGA|
|3PA% = 3PA/FGA|
As for individual players, the story of the night was mostly on defense, as the offense saw contributions from everyone in roughly similar proportions. Six Gamecocks scored double-digit points, led by Mindaugas Kacinas, who had a perfect night of shooting, going 5-5 from the field and 6-6 at the line for 16 points. Marcus Stroman didn't join the double-digit points club, but he did hand out a team-high seven assists against just two turnovers.
All in all, it was what you wanted from a game like tonight - everyone got to play, everyone played well, no one got hurt, and the reserves saw some minutes. For the last time this season, Carolina went in a heavy favorite and put together a comprehensive victory.
Starting Saturday, there's no more games like this one. In Brooklyn, against Iowa State, the Gamecocks get another chance to bolster what's starting to look like a possible NCAA Tournament resume.