By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
Don’t let a home loss to Florida in the SEC opener make up your mind about the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Florida may have rallied to defeat South Carolina 72-68 Wednesday night, but the Gamecocks have made strides under coach Frank Martin, who is now in his third season after coming from Kansas State.
South Carolina (9-4 overall) defeated No. 17 Iowa State just before the meeting with the Gators, and also defeated Oklahoma State at home in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Florida’s win actually broke a seven-game winning streak for the Gamecocks, who have relied on a strong defense and balanced scoring attack to secure victories.
The Gamecocks are holding opponents to 59.2 points per game, fourth best in the SEC, while averaging 73.2 points per game, a figure that ranks just behind Ole Miss.
Four players are averaging at least 10 points per game coming out of the Florida game, with Duane Notice leading the way with 12.7 points per contest. Sindari Thornwell is averaging 11 points per game, as well as 5.5 rebounds per game.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Thornwell was named SEC Player of the Week after averaging 12 points, 6.5 rebounds and two assists last week in wins over North Carolina A&T and Iowa State.
Against Florida, Notice and Thornwell were both held to five points each. The leader for the Gamecocks was senior Tyrone Johnson, who scored 20 points.
Ole Miss and South Carolina will meet Saturday at Tad Smith Coliseum starting at 4 p.m. The contest can be seen on Fox Sports Net.