Any doubt that this edition of South Carolina Gamecocks basketball belongs to Sindarius Thornwell may have already been dispelled just two games in. After a sluggish week of practice, Carolina - led by a solid performance by their senior guard - bounced back from a less-than-stellar win over Louisiana Tech on Friday and followed that up with a 81-49 rout of Holy Cross. The Gamecocks improve to 2-0 on the young campaign with the win.
Thornwell, playing 27 minutes in the contest, scored 20 points on 5-9 shooting and was 4-6 from beyond the arc. He also added five rebounds and was a perfect 6-6 from the line. Also having a key performance was P.J. Dozier, who dropped 15 points on 4-7 shooting (3-6 from downtown) and recorded five assists to just two turnovers. For the game, Carolina shot 59% from the floor, outrebounded the Crusaders 32-16, held a 30-20 edge in points in the paint, and blocked six shots, two each coming from Thornwell and Chris Silva. Silva scored nine points but led all players with eight rebounds on the evening.
A couple of young players also did their part in the victory. Rakym Felder, returning from a one-game suspension, had eight points in 14 minutes, nailing both his three-point attempts and going 2-2 from the line. Maik Kotsar contributed six points to the effort. One stat line that stood out, though, was that of Justin McKie. The senior played a career-high 22 minutes and put up a personal best 10 points on 5-7 shooting.
The game was relatively close early as the Gamecocks led 32-24 at the break, thanks in part to strong efforts by Malachi Alexander and Robert Champion (twelve points each in the first half). But things fizzed out as the Gamecocks’ defense took over, holding the Crusaders to 0-9 shooting from three-point range and just 17 points in the second half.
Carolina returns to the court on Tuesday when they host Monmouth at 6:30pm.