David Cloninger

Cloninger Soundoff: Gamecocks learning, growing each game

Nov 24, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward/center Demetrius Henry (21) dunks against the Florida International Golden Panthers in the first half at The Colonial Life Arena.
Nov 24, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward/center Demetrius Henry (21) dunks against the Florida International Golden Panthers in the first half at The Colonial Life Arena. USA TODAY Sports

There’s no question what South Carolina is trying to do offensively. It’s trying to get the ball inside and take high-percentage shots, or get fouled, which will lead to (what should be) easy points from the line.

Getting it to work is another matter.

The Gamecocks came out against Florida International and were trying to pound the ball inside. Demetrius Henry and Mindaugas Kacinas were waiting there. Good plan, bad execution.

Tipped passes leading to turnovers. Not finishing at the rim. Getting the ball knocked away while trying to drive.

USC ended up winning by 12 because it got the inside game going in the second half, and hit enough 3-pointers in the first half to keep the game close. But it was startling to watch Florida International run its offense so fluidly, while USC couldn’t. It was the same offense as what USC was trying to do.

The Panthers slashed to the rim. They got offensive boards and stick-backs. It’s very difficult to get a charging call these days, but USC was holding the door open and offering no resistance. When the Gamecocks did get in the way, they fouled.

FIU shot 13 free throws in the first half. USC shot two.

The problems were corrected in the second half, and the Gamecocks won. It’s the hallmark of this team – lot of learning, lot of growing from game-to-game.

If they can do what they try to do all game, they’ll pull some upsets. If they have another bad start like they did on Sunday Well, other teams won’t be as forgiving.

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