Darrin Horn showed again that while the zone isn’t a staple of his defense, he’s not afraid to use it.
The Gamecocks spent a substantial part of the game in a zone. It was partly because of Illinois’ success with it against Clemson earlier in the week, and USC needing to avoid some matchup problems while Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes are out.
It worked for a while, but the Tigers got more patient against the zone down the stretch. Horn also felt his players were “hanging out” in the paint too much, which allowed Clemson to get more open 3s on pass-outs.
“Credit them for making the plays they needed to make, but I think we contributed to it,” Horn said.
Never miss a local story.
Downey’s night. Downey’s eight points were his lowest since a 6-point outing against LSU on Feb. 27, 2008. It was his sixth single-digit game in his three years at South Carolina, and second in the past two years.
Downey was not available to the media. But teammate Brandis Raley-Ross said he did not detect frustration.
“All I heard from him was keep fighting, we’re good, we’re in it,” Raley-Ross said. “I didn’t see any frustration on his face.”
Familiar face. Former Georgia coach Dennis Felton sat at the press table, scouting the game for the Phoenix Suns. Felton, who was fired midway through last season, preceded Horn as Western Kentucky’s coach.