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#19 South Carolina blows out LSU 88-63

If only they all came this easy.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks were firing on all cylinders in Baton Rouge last night, riding a 50-point first half to an 88-63 win over the struggling LSU Tigers at Maravich Assembly Center. With the win, the Gamecocks pulled even with idle Kentucky in the SEC standings at 8-1.

The shots were falling with relative ease for the Gamecocks as they shot 57.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes while racing out to an 18-3 lead to open the contest. While that cooled down to 39.3 percent in the second (putting them at 49.2% for the game), their defense only allowed the Tigers to shoot at a 40% clip while forcing 22 turnovers. The teams were fairly even in rebounds (38-36) with LSU holding a slight 12-11 edge in offensive rebounds.

Four Gamecocks hit double figures, led by PJ Dozier and Duane Notice’s 17 points. Sindarius Thornwell and Chris Silva dropped 16 each in what turned out to be one of the team’s more balanced scoring nights of the season. After Thornwell carried the load against Kentucky, it was important to see more players rise to the occasion, and they were able to do just that on Wednesday night. Whether most of that that was due to playing a lesser opponent in LSU remains to be seen. Having said that, it was a struggle for the younger guys again: Maik Kotsar was saddled with foul trouble and only saw 11 minutes on the floor - scoring just two points - while Rakym Felder (six) and Hassani Gravett (two) also had rough evenings. That said, it was good to see Dozier, Notice and Silva bounce back from their outings at Mizzou the other night.

Next up for the Gamecocks is a nationally-televised Saturday matinee with Georgia at Colonial Life Arena, tipping off at 2pm on ESPN2. The Gamecocks beat the Dawgs 67-61 on January 4 in Athens.