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South Carolina falls to Georgia Tech 83-66 in NIT semifinals; three quick thoughts

Hate to see it end this way.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Some quick thoughts from the South Carolina Gamecocks' 83-66 season-ending defeat to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second round of the NIT:

1. The Gamecocks looked very much like a team that was short five players. Against a deeper and a much more talented Georgia Tech team than the High Point team that South Carolina faced in the first round, the Yellow Jackets placed five players in double figures and shot 50.8% from the field (including 11-22 for three). Meanwhile, the Gamecocks were demolished on the boards, 39-10 (including 12-4 on the offensive glass), and managed just a 7-20 performance beyond the arc.

2. Tough way to see the careers of Michael Carrera, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugus Kacinas end. Carrera finished just 4-12 from the field for 17 points, while Chatkevicius and Kacinas combined for just 14 points on 6-14 shooting. It wasn't a dominating performance for either player, but the trio were the cornerstone of a season that had far from a happy ending. Sindarius Thornwell, getting 32 minutes for a depleted Gamecocks squad, was a non-factor, scoring just eight points in 34 minutes.

3. Some points of focus to keep an eye on during the summer as the lights go off for the final time at Colonial Life Arena this basketball season: what will the status of the five suspended players be, especially Eric Cobb and Jamall Gregory? Frank Martin stated that he "didn't know", which isn't exactly a vote of confidence. Martin is also mulling a contract extension with his current deal expiring after the 2017-18 season. With the season over, that gives AD Ray Tanner a chance to officially hammer things out and get Martin re-upped for a while. As for next year, Thornwell and Duane Notice are the headline players that will be coming back, but the big question is how P.J. Dozier will develop in his sophomore season and who will step up to fill the Lithuanians' minutes.

Full recap to come. Thanks for taking the ride with us this season.