Coming off a 10-day break, the South Carolina Gamecocks entered their rivalry matchup with the Clemson Tigers on fresh legs and hoped to have a fresh perspective after some uneven performances earlier in the month. Unfortunately, poor shooting doomed the Gamecocks against a rising Tigers team that is on the verge of a Top 25 ranking, and Clemson took a 64-48 win on Tuesday.
Despite holding Clemson to its second-lowest point total this season and entering halftime down just 31-26, South Carolina couldn’t string any offense together. The Gamecocks went on multiple scoring droughts and hit a season-low two 3-pointers out of 16 attempts. South Carolina also failed to make it to the foul line, getting only 10 free throws. Overall, the Gamecocks shot an ice-cold 35% from the floor.
Clemson (10-1) took advantage of its 3-point opportunities, led by Marcquise Reed’s five treys and 25 points. Chris Silva (12 points, nine rebounds) and Wesley Myers (10 points) stood out for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina (8-3) suffered another blow when guard Kory Holden went down with a hamstring pull and had to be helped off the court. Holden was coming off knee surgery from the previous season and finally starting to look like he’d shaken that rust, so hopefully this latest setback won’t shelve him for too long. The Gamecocks need all the help they can get in the back court.
Surprisingly, coach Frank Martin was upbeat in the post-game press conference, saying he was pleased with the Gamecocks’ fight and defensive effort. Martin was clearly upset with the team’s performance earlier in the month and not afraid to let the media know, so it’s interesting he appears to have gleaned positives from this loss. According to him, South Carolina is still better than it was 10 days ago.
Up next: The Gamecocks take another break for the holidays before hosting Division II Limestone at 3 p.m. on Dec. 27.