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South Carolina men notch 78-61 win over FIU

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The Gamecocks cruised past the Panthers in Miami.

Nov 27, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Chris Silva (30) dunks the ball against the Florida International Golden Panthers during the first half at FIU Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks got off on the right foot after their Thanksgiving break, heading down to Miami and handling coach Frank Martin’s alma mater, Florida International, in a 78-61 win.

The Gamecocks jumped out to a hot start, beginning the game on a 9-0 run, but FIU answered with a run of its own to keep the margin close. South Carolina took a 38-36 lead to the locker room at halftime, and responded with a strong second half to put the Panthers away.

Forward Chris Silva enjoyed a breakout performance, scoring a career-high 26 points and adding seven rebounds in the type of effort the Gamecocks will need from him this season. Joining him in double figures were Maik Kotsar (16 points), Justin Minaya (13), and Frank Booker (12), who hit three 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half. After a quiet start to the season, Booker is now shooting 40.5% from behind the arc.

South Carolina dominated FIU on the boards (40-25) and shot 52.5% from the field, although it was just 6-of-12 from the free throw line.

Up next: The Gamecocks head to New York on Thursday, where they’ll face Temple in the Under Armour Reunion event.