The South Carolina Gamecocks took out some frustration on the UTEP Miners in the consolation bracket of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic, winning 80-56 in a game they never trailed.
Unlike yesterday against Illinois State, the Gamecocks immediately got off to a hot start, building a double-digit lead within the first 6 minutes. South Carolina never looked back, closing the first half with a 50-24 advantage after a 55% shooting performance. The Gamecocks also wreaked havoc on defense, forcing 23 UTEP turnovers and nabbed eight steals with two blocks. South Carolina finished the game shooting 47% from the field and a much better 78% from the free-throw line, though 3-point shooting performance (8-of-24) still left a bit to be desired.
Forward Chris Silva was the Gamecocks’ top performer, scoring 15 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Fellow starters Maik Kotsar and Justin Minaya added 14 points, and Minaya continues to look like the Gamecocks’ strongest freshman. Off the bench, Kory Holden finally provided some scoring punch with 11 points, making four of his five field goal attempts and hitting a three.
South Carolina will continue to spend the weekend in Myrtle Beach, playing the winner of Appalachian State-Western Michigan in Sunday’s fifth place game. The Gamecocks topped Western Michigan 78-60 in their home opener.