Carolina missed two chances at a breakaway layup to take the ‘W’ in for the night against Charlotte on Friday in Charleston, S.C. A foul at the other end led to two 49er free throws to seize the final lead.
With just over a minute to play, Sindarius Thornwell blocked a 3-pointer to start a fast-break with Marcus Stroman, Thornwell would take a contested floater in transition but missed, and the follow from Duane Notice would bounce off the backboard.
South Carolina came into the first half hard and strong. After an 11-2 run from 16:28 to 13:11 going from down 6-4 to up 15-8. The Gamecocks notched six-straight shooters early in the stretch and 10-of-15 total in the first 10 minutes on the court.
Charlotte answered back in the second half, bringing in 7-of-9 shots in the first six minutes to erase a 36-29 lead by Carolina at halftime. The 49ers concluded the half shooting 4-out-of-5 three-pointers.
“Credit to Charlotte. They are a good team,” said head coach Frank Martin.
USC struggled in the final 20-minutes of the game, shooting at just 37 percent, and only hitting twice in nine three-pointer attempts.
"We were playing well. I thought we were playing with discipline and toughness defensively. I thought on offense what we spoke about trying to do this morning in the game I thought we were doing it. When we were open we made shots. It's hard to win when you can't score in the paint,” said Martin on his team Friday night. “We got a basket in the paint every five-to-eight reads. You've got to score in the paint. You've got to drive it in the paint. You've got to catch it in the paint, and you've got to get fouled in the paint and you've got to make shots in the paint. When you play a team that is big and athletic like they are, it is going to be hard to settle for 3s."
Thornwell once again lead the Gamecocks in scoring with 20-points on the board, 18 of which came in the first half. He and Michael Carrera both went over 500 career points in the game, finishing off with a combined 31. Thornwell attempted a career high of 24-shots in the game against Charlotte, as well.
The team takes on Akron at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.