The Gamecocks began the defense of their NIT championship with a 74-55 thumping of Darrin Horn’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, at the Colonial Center.
Carolina led big for most of this contest, but saw WKU close the gap to six with 8:00 left. However, Antoine Tisby converted on a three-point play to push the lead back up to nine, 51-42. USC then built the lead back to double-digits and cruised home with the victory.
The unsung hero in this contest was senior guard Rocky Trice. Although scoring only five points, his defensive prowess forced numerous turnovers against WKU. Trice also collected two blocked shots in the process. Senior Tarence Kinsey led the Gamecocks in scoring with 23 points, hitting on 8 of 15 shots.