As has often been the case this season, so goes Chris Silva, so go the South Carolina Gamecocks.
After a quiet, foul-marred 12-point performance against Missouri in which he failed to record a rebound, USC’s star big man exploded back onto the scene in a big way, scoring 22 points and grabbing a career-high 17 boards in the Gamecocks’ 71-54 win against Texas A&M on Tuesday.
Silva, who also made a career-high four 3-pointers, powered an effective offensive performance for South Carolina, which shot 44.6 percent from the field. The Gamecocks, playing their second straight road contest and mired in a three-game losing streak, showed no signs of the fatigue that plagued them last week, as they led for most of the game.
Interestingly, while A&M boasts some of the best perimeter defense in the SEC (allowing 32.1 percent), the Gamecocks have absolutely torched them from 3. After tying a program record with 16 makes in the teams’ first meeting, South Carolina shot 56.5 percent.
Hassani Gravett finished with 17 points (and eight assists), and Keyshawn Bryant added 15 to round out the double-figuring scoring for the Gamecocks.
This result was admittedly surprising to me, given the continued absence of A.J. Lawson (who seems unlikely to return this week) and the clear signs of dead legs South Carolina had been showing lately, but it’s great to see. This season has been a bit of a strange ride, but I don’t think you can accuse this team of ever giving up — they’ve kept plugging away as best they can.
South Carolina (15-15, 10-7) closes the regular season against Georgia in Columbia on Saturday.