Gamecocks Open SEC Play with 68-56 Victory

The Gamecocks pulled out their long knives in the second half of their SEC opener to do in the Auburn Tigers. They looked razor sharp while going on a 21-4 run to take a 19 point lead during the first eight minutes of the half. They looked dull and rusty the last twelve minutes of the clock while allowing Auburn to creep back within seven. They inflicted enough wounds to do in the Tigers 68-56.

South Carolina won their first SEC game under Darrin Horn his way – with stifling defense and an aggressive offensive attack that left Auburn gasping for breath and points early in the second half. Their 21-4 run turned a two point halftime lead into a 19 point margin. The Gamecocks made 10 of 15 from the field during the run, while limiting the visiting Tigers to 2 of 8 during the same stretch. The Gamecocks also forced eight turnovers during the run.

But then they let their foot off the gas and allowed the Tigers to narrow the margin, allowing numerous turnovers in the closing minutes that turned into Auburn points. The Auburn rally was cut short as the Gamecocks ran out the clock and ended a seven game winning streak by the Tigers. Auburn is now 10-5 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. USC is 12-2 overall and 1-0 in the SEC.

"I don't think it was real pretty but we were really pleased to get our first win," Horn said. "What a tremendous crowd tonight. That's the kind of atmosphere that can lead to us having some really good nights." Referring to the Auburn comeback, Horn said, "We just did a really poor job down the stretch. And the problem was it was two or three different guys having some turnovers when all we had to do was be strong with the basketball."

Zam Fredrick scored 27 points to lead South Carolina. Devan Downey only scored nine, his first game this season that he failed to score double digits, but earned praise from his coach for how he ran the team from the point and notch the victory. The highest praise this night was reserved for Fredrick. "I love Zam Fredrick," Horn said. "I wish I could coach him for three more years after this one. He's a guy that brings it every day, He's really stepped up his leadership role for us and he did tonight what we need done. He played like a fifth-year senior, regardless of the points."

South Carolina has two consecutive road games before returning home, travelling to LSU on Wednesday night, then next Saturday they travel to Knoxville to take on 25th ranked Tennessee Volunteers.

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