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Gamecocks hold off Minutemen for 76-70 win

It wasn’t pretty, but South Carolina rebounded to defeat Massachusetts.

Nov 30, 2017; New York, NY, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Chris Silva (30) rebounds in front of Temple Owls forward Obi Enechionyia (0) during the first half of the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks got back in the winning column after a disappointing trip to New York, notching a 76-70 victory over Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately for the Gamecocks (6-2), their first home game in more than two weeks was more of an adventure than they’d bargained for. The Minutemen took a 35-34 lead into the locker room at halftime, and South Carolina needed a strong second-half effort keyed by Chris Silva to turn them back. Hassani Gravett added four clutch free throws to seal the victory after UMass drew within 2 points with 19.6 seconds left.

Silva finished with 14 points, while Justin Minaya led the Gamecocks with 17 in another promising performance for the freshman. Gravett added 14 points, and Felipe Haase got back on track with 11 points as well.

3-point shooting was a key factor, as the Minutemen hit an impressive 46% (12 of 26), while South Carolina was just 3 of 15.

Coach Frank Martin ripped the performance and himself after the game, calling the coaching effort “pathetic” while also saying the Gamecocks regressed this week. South Carolina is still lacking chemistry and cohesion, while also plagued by a couple of big problems: Silva (and fellow veteran big Maik Kotsar) spent much of the UMass game in foul trouble, and the guard play is alarmingly unreliable.

Up next: South Carolina hosts Wyoming (6-2) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.