Well, the Gamecocks simply couldn’t have written a better script for this one.
This team played their best ball, on the road too nonetheless, and we got a glimpse of what they could be when all is clicking.
The Cocks were making Virginia uncomfortable left and right forcing many turnovers, and the game was truly never in doubt.
Didn’t think I would be saying this, but USC is undoubtedly a tournament team following their beautiful dismantling of 9th-ranked Virginia.
With that, I introduce to you my players of the week.
Player of the Week: Jair Bolden
Isn’t it fitting that my “player to watch” from last week ends up being the most valuable? He was more than deserving too.
In a hefty 37 minutes, which shows you the trust Frank Martin has in this guy, Bolden shot 8-for-13 while draining draining 4-of-6 three pointers for 22 points.
He was the spark plug this South Carolina squad needed in the beginning of the game to convince them that a dub was truly feasible.
I recently said that this could be the guy the team leans on to hit the big threes, and he showed just that ability.
Hats off to you, Jair.
Runner-up: A.J. Lawson
Judging by the way the game started, I thought this was going to be a lost game for Lawson.
Nothing was really going right for him in the first half, but he did what every star should do and that is save the best for the second act.
Lawson scored 10 of his 14 points after halftime and was the guy the Cocks leaned on after Bolden’s play came crashing down to Earth.
Yes, I feel like we are going to see A.J Lawson’s name a lot in these articles every week, but at this point, I feel like many are shocked he wasn’t the best player in a Gamecock uniform yesterday.
Lawson was what USC needed in the second half, but to take his game to the next level, he needs to start shooting threes at a better clip.
Player to Watch: Justin Minaya
Not going to lie here, I feel like he’s been AWOL since the very first glimpses of action in this young season.
If Minaya showed me anything by his play in this game, it’s that he definitely has the potential.
Yes, 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting isn’t eye-popping, but those 12 points were what this team needed at one point in the contest. They were also good for third most on the team.
Additionally, he logged the second most minutes on the team with 36, so he was a help for this team defensively too.
I can see Minaya being the guy eventually in one of these games, and that’s what I love about this Gamecock squad.