Archie, Downey lead Gamecocks past Blue Hose
Aside from Archie, the Gamecocks and Blue Hose played to an 18-18 tie in the first half. Archie was a huge difference though, nearly outscoring Presbyterian by himself. He had 17 points on 7-7 shooting, with a three-pointer, and 2-3 from the free throw line. Archie finished the game with 19 points and 9 rebounds, and had the play of the night with a monstrous dunk in transition.
"I wasn't going to pass the ball," he said. "25 (Aaron Gibbs) had been knocking me down all game, and I just wanted to get him out of the picture."
"He was a little bit more aggressive when he caught the ball, but it was within the flow of what we were doing," said Darrin Horn. "He was aggressive taking it to the basket."
Presbyterian tried valiantly to make a game of it in the second half behind Al'Lonzo Coleman's 13 points, 9 in the second half. For the first ten minutes of the half, the Blue Hose stayed within 11-13 points, but was never able to hit the shot to get the deficit into single digits. For the second game in a row, Downey had a quiet night, but exploded for a game-deciding run in the second-half. With the score 49-38, Downey led a personal 9-2 run that put the game out of reach, finishing with 13 points and 3 assists.
"Anytime when we're playing good defensively, I'm always thinking about the knockout blow," Downey said. "Anytime you can deliver a knockout blow, you want to do it."
Not to be overlooked was the contribution of Mike Holmes. Returning to the starting lineup after a one game absence, Holmes scored a career-high 19 points, including his first career three pointer, to go along with 8 rebounds and strong defense. His previous career-high was 18 against Auburn.
"Mike and Dominique were both terrific tonight. It was encouraging to see them be so aggressive and do it within the scheme of what we're doing," Horn said. "They were aggressive but under control."
Coming in, Presbyterian was hoping to slow down the up-tempo Gamecocks and make South Carolina play at their pace. The Blue Hose were able to do that to some extent, but they were on the wrong end of lopsided shooting percentages. The Gamecocks shot a whopping 58%, while Presbyterian struggled finding the basket, shooting just 43% for the game, and 28.6% in the first half.
""We tried to make a game of it," said Presbyterian coach Gregg Nibert. "The first half really cost us. They came after us in the first half."
- The Gamecocks had scored the opening basket of every game this year until NCCU broke the streak. The Citadel was able to repeat the feat and opened up an 11-0 lead, but Carolina got back to its quick start ways, and scored the first two baskets tonight.
- With all the bricks he shot Tuesday night, Zam Fredrick was able to build his own chimney for Santa to come down. Fredrick shot 4-12 from the floor, including 0-4 from three, and 2-5 from the free throw line.
- Brandis Raley-Ross continued his strong return from injury, scoring 8 points to go with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
- Evka Baniulis had a quiet night, going 0-3 in 27 minutes.
- Carolina outrebounded Presbyterian 29-28 in a game with surprisingly few rebounds.
- There were birthdays galore tonight. Both Mitchell Carter and Mike Holmes celebrated birthdays today, while Darrin Horn's birthday is tomorrow.
- The Gamecocks are off until December 26. The next game is December 30 against Clemson.
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