If you’re still focused on football — and it’s understandable if so, with only a few games left — South Carolina’s basketball programs nevertheless gave you a couple compelling reasons to start tuning into the action on the hardwood, as the No. 1 women bagged a Top 20 win against Maryland and the men secured a thrilling victory over Clemson on Friday night.
No. 1 South Carolina 81, No. 17 Maryland 56
After handling business in a season-opening 101-31 romp over East Tennessee State, the Gamecocks immediately took on a challenge when they traveled to College Park, Md., to face the 17th-ranked Terps. Gritty and physical, Maryland hung tough in the first half, down just six points, 32-26, at the break. But South Carolina was able to assert its size and dominance in the paint in the second half, and a brief dustup after a foul sparked the Gamecocks to a 11-1 run, from which they never looked back.
Aliyah Boston put on a characteristic strong showing, logging a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Zia Cooke added 18, keyed by a 6-of-9 performance from behind the arc. Kamilla Cardoso also had a stellar performance, making six of her seven attempts from the field to notch 13 points. Laeticia Amihere was the only other Gamecock in double figures with 10.
Collectively, the Gamecocks racked up 11 blocks (to Maryland’s none), six steals, and out-rebounded the Terps 55-32 while shooting 44%. Up next is another road date, this time at Clemson, on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. Speaking of which...
South Carolina 60, Clemson 58
The Gamecock men had reason to rejoice as well, ending a three-game losing skid to the rival Tigers with a thrilling, last-second victory delivered by Columbia native Chico Carter Jr.’s turnaround jumper:
Unreal. @ccarterjr3— Gamecock Men's Basketball (@GamecockMBB) November 12, 2022
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The Gamecocks were in control for much of the game, with Clemson down nine at the half and trailing 58-51 with less than three minutes to go. South Carolina couldn’t properly salt it away, though, and the Tigers tied it up with 7.8 seconds left before Carter’s heroics saved the day.
Carter led all scorers with 16 points, which featured a 4-of-6 mark from 3. Standout freshman GG Jackson put up 12 points with eight rebounds, while Josh Gray collected 10 boards and three blocks. Jacobi Wright (10 points) rounded out the Gamecocks in double figures. South Carolina clamped down defensively, as the Tigers were just 38% from the field, and enjoyed sizable contributions from its bench (18 points and 22 rebounds).
Coach Lamont Paris, whose tenure in Columbia is off to a hot start, got to celebrate his birthday and also the fact he’s the first coach since Dave Odom in 2001 to beat the Tigers in his first year.
Next up for South Carolina is a holiday season tournament in the Charleston Classic, where they’ll be taking on Colorado State (2-0) in the first round.