Gamecocks down Penn St. in tournament opener
Downey, a 5-foot-9 sophomore who sat out last season after transferring from Cincinnati, was 8-for-17 from the field and made 10 of 11 free throws to help the Gamecocks (3-1) rebound from last week's 10-point loss to Southern California.
Penn State (2-1) trailed 37-30 at the half, and the closest the Nittany Lions got after that was three on four different occasions. Each time, South Carolina responded with a spurt of its own to pull away.
Geary Claxton led Penn State with 18 points, but his team missed 21 of 25 3-point attempts and shot 35.6 percent from the field overall. The Nittany Lions also struggled from the foul line, going 11-for-19.
While Downey dominated with 20 points in the opening half, Fredrick missed his first five shots and was held to 2 points before delivering several big baskets after the break. The junior transfer from Georgia Tech made two jumpers to put South Carolina up 59-50 with seven minutes to go, then added a basket and two free throws down the stretch to help the Gamecocks stay in front.
Talor Battle's 3-point play and two free throws by Claxton trimmed Penn State's deficit to 66-63 with 1:52 remaining. South Carolina pulled away for good on Mike Holmes' tip-in and two foul shots by Fredrick.
Battle, who missed nine of 10 3-point attempts, finished with 13 points. Holmes had 13 points and nine rebounds for South Carolina.
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