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Gamecocks roll in exhibition, but will start season without Keyshawn Bryant

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Not the best way to unofficially tip things off.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While the football season continues to grind on, the South Carolina Gamecocks men’s basketball team hit the hardwood for their first live action this year, hosting Columbia International in an exhibition on Wednesday night.

The good news: No embarrassment this time around, as the Gamecocks took care of business in a breezy 87-50 victory. The bad news: Sophomore forward Keyshawn Bryant, one of South Carolina’s most exciting players last season and the artist of several posterizing dunks, is out to start the year.

Bryant, who had surgery to remove a piece of cartilage in his left knee, is apparently dealing with a similar situation that sidelined fellow sophomore forward Alanzo Frink last year. Frink, who is healthy now, missed more than a month rehabbing.

But back to some good news! 10 different Gamecocks scored last night, with sophomore guard A.J. Lawson picking up where he left off of last season’s exceptional freshman campaign, leading all scorers with 23 points (including a 3-of-5 mark from 3), and dishing out seven assists. Other standouts: freshman forward Jalyn McCreary (15 points on 7-of-10 shooting), senior forward Maik Kotsar (12 points) and freshman guard Jair Bolden (12 points).

South Carolina opens the season next Wednesday, Nov. 6, against North Alabama at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.