Gamecock men get hoops win in season opener
South Carolina doubled down on a season opening victory, claiming a 78-60 home win Monday night over Western Michigan in its second encounter.
The Gamecocks managed to get a bit of breathing room late in the first half, opening a nine-point lead at the break. They remained on top throughout the second half, gradually increasing the lead.
The inside duo of Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar dominated action inside, allowing USC to connect on 26 of 57 field goals, while holding Western Michigan to 21 of 58.
Despite its statistical dominance, South Carolina watched a 17-point lead cut to nine with 7:50 remaining. The Gamecocks had an answer for each Western Michigan run, however.
While the inside duo was responsible for obtaining the lead, point guard Hassani Gravett hit three late 3-pointers to allow South Carolina’s advantage to grow to as much as 19.
He led the Gamecocks in scoring with 15. Frank Booker followed with 14, while Silva and Kotsar each scored 10 and hauled in a combined 13 rebounds.
Western Michigan’s Thomas Wilder led all scorers with 21, earning most of his points driving to the basket. Bryce Moore and Josh Davis followed with 12 and 11 points respectively.
South Carolina travels to the beach this week for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Myrtle Beach. The Gamecocks open tourney action against Illinois State on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Other teams in the field include Appalachian State, Boise State, Iowa State, Tulsa, UTEP and Western Michigan. Games are set to be played at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina. The Tournament was relocated due to the devastating impact that Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico.
Photo: USC Athletics