Frank Martin leaned back on the scorer’s table. The South Carolina-Wyoming game was developing in front of him, but the Gamecocks coach was taking a moment to himself.
He wasn’t barking at his players or officials. He was likely wondering what else he had to do to make USC play better.
The Gamecocks eventually put away the Cowboys 80-64 on Wednesday evening in Colonial Life Arena. Chris Silva scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Felipe Haase had a career-high 17 points and Frank Booker added 16.
The effort, though, left Martin dissatisfied.
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“Obviously, winning’s a lot better than the alternative,” Martin said. “So any time you win, you’ve got to feel good about something. We played better in the first half. In the second half, we immediately reverted back to the habits and the breakdowns that I allowed into our practice that caused us to play so bad last week.
“We worked so hard the last two days to fix it.”
On the heels of an underwhelming showing in Saturday’s 76-70 win against Massachusetts, Carolina (7-2) held a couple spirited practices leading into this matchup. Practice, Martin said earlier this week, was key to improving a team trying to blend eight new players.
Inconsistencies aren’t likely to go away soon.
The Gamecocks on Wednesday had a stretch of nearly five minutes in the first half when they didn’t score. They also went on a 19-4 run in the second half that proved their talent advantage over the Mountain West Conference’s Wyoming (6-3).
“I thought there was a segment in the second half where their physicality just wore on us,” said Cowboys coach Allen Edwards.
Martin has tried to inspire physicality in his team since the weekend. Silva played Wednesday with a protective mask to shield his recently broken nose.
“It was Wes (Myers),” Silva said when asked which teammate caused the injury.
Martin, when describing the nature of practices this week, said. “We had more blood on the court the last two days than I’ve had in my five years here. And that’s not gonna change. That’s not gonna change.
“We might do loose ball drills and charge drills until we have guys out of games because they get hurt. But I’m not gonna keep playing with guys that jog and play soft. That’s not gonna happen.”
Martin felt there was too much of that in Wednesday’s second half, a 20-minute period in which USC shot 55.2 percent from the floor and Wyoming was 9 of 26.
“We got lucky in the second half,” Martin said, “because we didn’t guard in the second half. All we did was foul and jog.
“I don’t know if (Wyoming’s forwards) got tired or sped up, but they missed some open layups. They had open shots in the second half that they just missed.”
After the Cowboys cut the USC advantage to 10 with 6:08 left, Booker hit a 3-pointer and then followed with a steal and layup.
Wyoming never got closer.
“It’s intense for a reason, because we want practice to be harder than games,” Booker said. “If practice is just as hard as the games, then we’re not doing something right. At the same time, we’re trying to get better for when March comes and later in the season for SEC play.
“If we’re not ready for that, then there’s no reason to practice hard.”
South Carolina next hosts Coastal Carolina on Saturday.
SOUTH CAROLINA 80, WYOMING 64
WYOMING (6-3): Herndon 3-7 0-0 7, Dalton 5-12 2-2 12, James 4-12 11-14 20, Redding 0-1 0-0 0, Aka Gorski 3-8 1-2 10, Moemeka 0-0 0-0 0, Naughton 1-2 0-0 2, Adams 3-10 5-6 12, Kelley 0-3 1-2 1, Maldonado 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-56 20-26 64.
SOUTH CAROLINA (7-2): Silva 5-9 9-14 19, Kotsar 3-8 0-3 6, Minaya 4-8 1-2 11, Booker 6-10 1-2 16, Gravett 3-6 3-4 9, Cudd 0-0 0-0 0, Doumbia 0-0 0-0 0, Haase 7-12 0-0 17, Beatty 0-2 0-0 0, Hinson 0-0 0-0 0, Myers 0-4 1-2 1, Holden 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 28-62 16-29 80.
Halftime—South Carolina 35-25. 3-Point Goals—Wyoming 6-25 (Aka Gorski 3-8, Adams 1-3, James 1-3, Herndon 1-5, Redding 0-1, Maldonado 0-1, Kelley 0-2, Dalton 0-2), South Carolina 8-23 (Booker 3-5, Haase 3-7, Minaya 2-3, Beatty 0-1, Silva 0-1, Myers 0-1, Kotsar 0-1, Gravett 0-2, Holden 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Wyoming 32 (James 12), South Carolina 41 (Silva 10). Assists—Wyoming 14 (Dalton 5), South Carolina 17 (Myers, Haase 3). Total Fouls—Wyoming 22, South Carolina 21. Technicals—Adams. A—10,205 (18,000).