The South Carolina men’s basketball team took on Virginia Tech in a Hoops 4 Hurricane Relief exhibition this weekend. Many Power 5 squads scrimmage each other behind closed doors in the preseason, and these programs jointly decided to go public for a good cause. Coaches Frank Martin and Buzz Williams both donated $5,000 to relief efforts in Texas, South Florida and Puerto Rico, and net proceeds from the game also contributed to those funds.
It’s difficult to take much away from any exhibition, but it was interesting to see how the new-look Gamecocks stacked up against an experienced ACC team that also went to the NCAA tournament last season. Here are some observations from South Carolina’s 86-67 loss, which thankfully does not count:
It was really, really sloppy.
It’s not surprising that both teams needed to knock off some rust, but it was a slog to watch at times. They combined for 31 turnovers, with the Gamecocks committing 17.
It’s really weird seeing other players wear No. 0, 15, and 10.
Nothing at all against David Beatty, Wesley Myers, and Justin Minaya; it’ll just take some getting used to.
Hassani Gravett paced South Carolina with 15 points and three assists.
As one of the more experienced players on the team and a veteran of last season’s Final Four squad, the Gamecocks are going to need him to help fill the void at guard left by Sindarius Thornwell, P.J. Dozier, and Duane Notice.
Felippe Haase led the Gamecocks in rebounds (seven), minutes played (34), and also had three assists.
Haase, a 6-foot-9 freshman forward, could be a factor. He was only 3-of-8 from the field, but was involved offensively and even comfortable putting up 3-pointers.
Actually, the whole team had itchy trigger fingers, which in this particular instance, did not work out well.
The Gamecocks only shot 34.7% for the game and 7-of-33 from behind the arc, though they had plenty of good looks. Frank Martin has said this is the best shooting team he’s ever had, so we’ll just have to see how that shakes out. Virginia Tech feasted off of defensive rebounds from missed 3-pointers and jumpers, often cashing in on fast-break opportunities.
Maik Kotsar came off the bench, and Chris Silva only played eight minutes.
I’m assuming this was by design to get the younger guys some run, but it was a little odd to see, and left South Carolina’s defense vulnerable in the paint.
South Carolina out-rebounded Virginia Tech 41-38.
Business as usual for a Frank Martin team, and good to see with how much he was experimenting with different lineups.
Heralded transfer guard Kory Holden didn’t play because of knee soreness.
We’ll have to wait until the season-opener for his debut as a Gamecock.
One more thing: South Carolina received its commemorative Final Four rings, which are very small and understated.
Take a closer look at the #FinalFour bling. Thanks to all you #Gamecocks who showed up to support us today! pic.twitter.com/HeG02f26Ji— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) November 5, 2017
The Gamecocks open the season Friday at Wofford.