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South Carolina grabs season-opening win over USC Upstate, 65-52

Hey, it’s basketball season!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina men got their season off to a good start on Tuesday night, putting that awkward exhibition loss to Augusta behind them with a 65-52 win against USC Upstate.

The Gamecocks looked disjointed at first on both ends of the floor, quickly falling into a 9-2 deficit. But the Spartans went on a lengthy scoring drought and South Carolina ripped off a 20-0 run to put any thoughts of another upset away.

Freshman guard Keyshawn Bryant was the standout for the Gamecocks, leading all scorers with 21 points in 21 minutes and adding seven rebounds. Senior big man Chris Silva, as you’d expect, had a big night, notching his 16th career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman A.J. Lawson was just shy of double-figures in his debut, putting up nine points. Veterans Maik Kotsar and Hassani Gravett each posted six points, with Gravett pulling down a surprising 12 rebounds.

(An interesting note: Brandon Martin, coach Frank Martin’s son, plays for the Spartans and logged six points in 18 minutes, adding a rebound, a steal, and a block.)

While South Carolina out-rebounded Upstate 50-34, the Gamecocks missed 10 of their free throws, going 27 of 37 from the line, and missed all 18 of their 3-pointers. And no, unfortunately, that isn’t a typo. South Carolina was also a bit careless with the ball, racking up 19 turnovers. Some of this can hopefully be attributed to early season rust and nerves, especially with so many newcomers in the lineup, but you definitely want to see improvement in those areas. On the bright side, South Carolina held Upstate to 33 percent shooting from the floor.

The Gamecocks are back in action on Friday at 7 p.m. against Stony Brook, in a game that’s part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off event.