Gamecocks preparing for SEC play

With a young team that starts three freshmen and a sophomore, South Carolina expected to go through some growing pains this season. Some of those pains showed up in the Gamecocks' 85-70 loss to Boston College on Jan. 1 that really wasn't that close.

The Gamecocks shot poorly (38.2 percent) and lost the boards 44-30 while allowing the visiting Eagles to shoot 51.6 percent from the field.

It's not the kind of combination that augurs well for the Gamecocks with their SEC debut coming up. After a Jan. 4 game against South Carolina State, the Gamecocks were to host to a Vanderbilt team on Jan. 8 that is playing like a conference contender.

"We can find some individual positives with some individual players," coach Darrin Horn said after the thumping from the Eagles. "I thought our offensive flow was a little bit better.

"At the end of the day, we keep saying it, we're going to keep saying it, we have to defend and rebound for us to be our best, and we didn't do that to the level we needed to against a really good Boston College team tonight."

The hope is that the young Gamecocks -- they start freshman guards Bruce Ellington and Brian Richardson, freshman forward Damontre Harris, sophomore forward Lakeem Jackson and senior forward Sam Muldrow -- can learn how to handle situations when they aren't going their way, as was the case against BC.

"I think part of it is that veterans understand that you just keep going," Horn said. "You just keep doing it, regardless of how it's going for you."


--South Carolina's struggles on the boards against Boston College -- the Gamecocks were outrebounded 44-30 -- was not typical of the season. The Gamecocks won the rebounding battle in eight of their first 12 games and held a plus-2.0 rebounding margin through Jan. 1

--The Gamecocks struggled from the field in games against Jacksonville State and Boston College. They shot only 37.0 percent in the win over Jacksonville State and 38.2 percent in the loss to BC.

--The loss to BC was South Carolina's first at home after seven wins in Colonial Life Arena.

BY THE NUMBERS: 28 -- The number of blocked shots through Jan. 1 for senior F Sam Muldrow, who had 33 career games with at least three blocks entering a Jan. 4 home game against South Carolina State.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the biggest thing is them understanding that our team needs to be about defending and rebounding. The other stuff we can work through." -- Coach Darrin Horn, on what the Gamecocks must concentrate on as SEC play begins.



--vs. South Carolina State, Jan. 4


The Gamecocks get one more tune-up before playing host to Vanderbilt in their SEC opener on Jan. 8. SC State lost its final four games in December, including a loss to Longwood on Dec. 23.

--vs. Vanderbilt, Jan. 8


Vandy brings a veteran team to Columbia and is getting solid play from junior Festus Ezeli in the low post. South Carolina's best chance at a win is to keep the pressure on Vandy PG Brad Tinsley and not let 3-point specialist John Jenkins go off.

FUTURES MARKET: Senior F Sam Muldrow had a miserable game against Boston College. After registering his second double-double of the season (11 points, 11 rebounds) against Jacksonville State, he went scoreless and had only one rebound in the loss to BC. South Carolina can't afford for him to go into a funk if the Gamecocks want to have any success in SEC play.


--Sophomore G Ramon Galloway was shooting 44 percent from 3-point range (22-of-50) through Jan. 1, after going 7 of 14 against Jacksonville State and Boston College.

--Freshman F Damontre Harris got his first career start and scored six points, collected three rebounds, and blocked two shots in 17 minutes against Jacksonville State.

--Freshman G Bruce Ellington has lived up to expectations. He was South Carolina's leading scorer (14.3 ppg) through Jan. 1 and was shooting 40 percent (26-of-65) from 3-point range. He also led the Gamecocks in assists (47) and turnovers (42).

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories