South Carolina won, but Frank Martin wasn’t happy.
There’s your less-than-10-word recap of USC’s 76-70 victory over Massachusetts on Saturday.
Of course, there was much more to the game that upped Carolina’s record to 6-2. Some takeaways:
The Gamecocks lack frontcourt depth
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Such a revelation isn’t totally new, but, man, did it show up Saturday. Martin’s mostly gotten away this season by using a three-man rotation of Chris Silva, Maik Kotsar and Felipe Haase in the post. The trio complements each other well and normally gives USC an edge in that area, no matter the opponent.
Against UMass, however, foul trouble forced Martin’s hand. Silva picked up his third at the 18:22 mark of the second half. He was whistled for his fourth with 8:31 to go. Kotsar picked up his third at the 16:55 mark of the second half. His fourth came with 13:24 to go.
The situation called for Martin to have both of his starting forwards out of the game in three separate instances. It left Haase to team with fellow freshman Jason Cudd. The Gamecocks were minus-6 on the scoreboard with that pair in at the same time. Cudd got a career-high nine minutes, but the Gamecocks were outscored by 14 when he was on the court. USC, meanwhile, was plus-26 for Silva’s 18 minutes.
Note: Khadim Gueye, a 7-foot sophomore who saw action in five of the previous seven games, didn’t play. Cudd received Gueye’s minutes.
Foul issues continue for Silva
Martin’s had enough of his most important player spending more time on the bench than on the floor.
Silva on Saturday committed at least four fouls for the fourth time this season – and 45th time in his 77 games in a USC uniform. That’s 58 percent of the junior’s career.
“I’m tired of Chris being in foul trouble,” Martin said. “The song and dance is old. It’s three years old. None of his fouls are blocking shots. They’re all just petty, silly fouls. I’m just tired of it.”
In limited action against the Minutemen, Silva did scored 14 points and grab four rebounds.
But the 6-foot-9, 223-pounder echoed his coach in the post-game press conference.
“It’s really annoying,” Silva said of the foul trouble. “Coming from a three-year guy like me, I should know better. I should come in every day with the same mindset, the same focus. Not being consistent is something I got to adjust and change.”
USC can win without red-hot 3-point shooting
The Gamecocks won for the first time this season when shooting under 30 percent from beyond the arc.
USC’s 28.6 percent effort against Temple and 28.1 percent showing against Illinois State led to losses. Carolina on Saturday overcame its worst perimeter shooting performance of the season – 3 of 15 from downtown (20 percent) – to steal a victory.
“It was actually good because a lot of games we actually just jack up a lot of 3s and most of them are good shots because they’re wide open,” said point guard Hassani Gravett. “But it’s good to know that we fought in the paint today, worked the ball in there, not only just to the bigs, but the guards got in the paint as well – and that’s big time.”
Carolina made a season-best 62.5 percent (25 of 40) of its shots from inside the arc.
Since the beginning of last season, the Gamecocks are 19-0 when shooting better than 45 percent from the field.