Gamecocks top Campbell 92-52
Early on, the Fighting Camels showed some fight trailing just 29-23. But with 5:34 left in the half, the Camels stubbed their toes, and would make just one more basket in the first half. Devan Downey hit a three pointer to spark a 13-0 run to give the Gamecocks some breathing room, and Carolina finished the half on a 16-2 run that turned a 6 point lead into a 20 point spread, 45-25.
"I was not surprised it took us a while to get going," said Dave Odom. "Coming off a three game set down in Orlando took a lot out of our players physically and I think mentally. We didn't come out with the explosiveness or energy I hoped we would. Sometimes it takes a little while to get it going."
In the second half, Carolina continued the onslaught, eventually stretching the lead to 42. At one point, Downey had a wide open three point shot in transition, but made the smart play and pulled the ball out to milk the clock, laughing the whole possession about his choice. At the under-4 media timeout, Odom began putting in the reserves. Seldom-used Brandon Conrad and Austin Steed, as well as walk-on Robert Wilder came in, and Mitchell Carter made his first appearance of the season.
"This game helps wipe out the memory that we lost two games by a total of three points [in Orlando]," said Odom. "We're not going into Clemson with a two game losing streak."
The bench was a big part of the Gamecocks' attack, scoring 42 points. Brandis Raley-Ross, who came off the bench for the first time this season, had the hot hand early, making 4-5 three pointers in the first half. He finished with six treys and a career-high 20 points. Evka Baniulis, who has played sparingly this season, saw 17 minutes of action, his most of the season.
"I didn't think Brandis played well defensively in either the [N.C.] State game or the George Mason game," Odom said, explaining his decision to start Dwayne Day in place of Raley-Ross. "It was kind of a wake-up call to Brandis. I thought he [responded]. You look at his offensive stat line, and obviously he responded that way, but I thought his defense was better as well."
"I didn't get mad or anything," said Raley-Ross. "He's been coaching the game longer than I've been living, so if he makes the decision it's the right decision. I didn't question. It actually did [help to come off the bench]. I thought to myself, ‘They're sagging off the shooters and I can pick my spots.' It helped me out a lot."
The Camels' early success could be tied to their rebounding. They outrebounded the Gamecocks 19-15 in the first half, including 8 offensive. In the second half, Carolina fared better on the boards, grabbing the rebounding edge 19-16.
The rebounding did not affect Carolina too much, though, because they shot 54.0% from the field, including 57.1% from behind the arc. Carolina's 16 three-pointers were a school record, surpassing the old mark of 15, set against Cincinnati in 1997. The Gamecocks did struggle from the free throw line once again, shooting just 8-13 (61.5%). The Camels shot noticeably worse when they toed the charity stripe, however, going 4-10.
"The shots were coming easy tonight on the perimeter," Odom said. "Campbell had all of their players back in the lane, and they were just hoping that we were not going to make all of our shots. When you're shooting the ball that well, it has a way of building momentum."
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