After the disappointment on Selection Sunday last season, South Carolina pumped up their out-of-conference schedule. Though the season is young, through the first six games of the year, the Gamecocks are perfect with two wins over ranked opponents following a 64-50 win over Syracuse.
This game was won in the paint. Facing Syracuse’s trademark zone defense, the Gamecocks needed to win the battle down low to leave the Barclays Center with the win. They did just that as Maik Kotsar had his best game so far with 16 points to lead the Gamecocks to a 30-8 edge in the paint.
The Gamecocks also got a big boost from P.J. Dozier. Dozier hit multiple mid-range jumpers to break the zone. He finished the game with a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Sindarius Thornwell only took six shots in the game, but added nine free throws to score 16 points, tying Kotsar to lead the team.
Carolina brought the pressure on defense. After the solid defensive performance against Michigan, holding the Wolverines to 46 points, the Gamecocks only gave up four more points to Syracuse. Winning the battle on the glass 37 to 30, Carolina limited the second chance points and held Syracuse to 31.8 percent from the floor.
Next up for the Gamecocks is a home game against Vermont, Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.