South Carolina’s early season woes continue as they lose to the UAB Blazers 84-70. With conference play just getting ready to begin, this is only the beginning of tough teams the Gamecocks will have to face.
With a new head coach and a roster slapped by the transfer portal, the expectations for this Gamecocks squad were not exceptionally high. However, I don’t think any Gamecock fans expected it to be this bad. This loss now moves South Carolina to 5-5 on the season.
KJ Buffen led the way for the Blazers, scoring a career high 25 points on 10-15 shooting. Right behind him was Jordan Walker, who actually had a bit of an off night for his standards. Walker put up 22 points while shooting an uncharacteristic 37% from the field. Even with the semi-slow night, Walker still hit five threes.
LSU transfer Eric Gaines also heavily contributed to the Blazers win, scoring a career high 19 points while adding five rebounds. This was arguably his best game since joining the Blazers.
GG Jackson led the scoring for the Gamecocks, with 20 points on 7-17 shooting. Jackson had five of the team’s 14 total turnovers as well. I mentioned that GG would have to have the game of his life for South Carolina to pull out this victory, and he came nowhere near. However, it is good to see Jackson’s confidence in his three-point shot rising, as he attempted eight of them vs the Blazers.
Citadel transfer Hayden Brown had his normal duty tonight, with 13 points and 4 rebounds. However, Brown continues to be a defensive liability much like his teammates with the exception of a few. UAB was attacking him on the perimeter and in the paint the whole game(as many teams before have done) and it costs the Gamecocks dearly.
Josh Gray continues to prove why he deserves less and less minutes every night. While being the only 7-footer on the team, he leads the team in fouls and is very out of control. Gray did not get on the board scoring tonight, but he did have three fouls (of course) with two blocks (finally).
The Blazers started out hot, with Jordan Walker hitting a trio of threes in the first minute and half, as well as a free throw, for the game’s first 10 points. Those contributed for nine of Walker’s 17 first half points. South Carolina was down 42-28 at the half and never recovered.
This was an expected loss for the Gamecocks. However, with conference play approaching, they will need to clean up their act as soon as possible if they wish to compete in the SEC.