USC Men's Basketball

USC looks right at home in road rout of Wofford

While he still had the platform, Frank Martin looked out to the room of reporters and said, “What Mr. Richardson has done for our state is second to none. Please make sure someone writes that.”

South Carolina on Friday was the honored guest for Wofford’s opening night at its sparkling new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. The Gamecocks got a pregame ovation for their Final Four appearance. They even got to run their own introduction video.

When it was all over – and USC recorded a dominating 73-52 victory – Terriers coach Mike Young patted Martin on the back and told him, “We’re pulling for you.”

Richardson, Wofford’s generous alumnus who sat courtside, was likely thinking the same.

The Gamecocks are 1-0 to begin this 2017-18 season, showing Friday they’re still the proud program that played into April last season.

Maik Kotsar scored 13 points to lead four USC players in double figures. The Carolina defense limited the Terriers to under 35 percent shooting.

A sold-out crowd of 3,400 witnessed the performance.

“Great environment,” Martin said. “Now that it’s over, I’m so happy that we did this. Great night for our state, great night for Wofford, great night for our guys as we try to figure out who we are as a team.”

By roster, this isn’t close to the same bunch that took Gonzaga to the wire in a national semifinal. Eight new Gamecocks were on display Friday, including two starters and another three that saw more than 10 minutes of action.

How the fresh faces mesh will be a theme all season, but Friday at least gave a flash of what things could look like when it all goes well.

USC shot 46 percent overall and 48 percent from 3-point range. It assisted on 17 of its 25 makes. Florida Atlantic transfer Frank Booker finished with 12 points, Maine transfer Wes Myers had 10 and freshman Felipe Haase had 10.

“It was fun,” Booker said, “it was exciting. I love all these guys already and I’ve only been here a few months. But going through practice like we go through practice – all the blood, sweat and tears that we’ve already been through – coming to the game is just relaxing, just playing basketball. … We’ll be fine.”

Hassani Gravett, one of the few returnees from last year, hit a long 2-pointer just before the first half buzzer, giving Carolina a 33-24 lead at the break. It was 45-24 just over three minutes into the second half.

The 14-0 run was a game-sealer.

Wofford turned the ball over on four of its first five second half possessions. The Terrier mistakes led to nine Gamecock points.

“I know all of us imagined (the deficit) being nine and us getting it back to four or five to start the second half, and we thought it was gonna be a ballgame the whole time,” said Terriers guard Fletcher Magee, who scored a game-high 17 points but only two after halftime. “So when they went on that early run, when we turned it over a couple times and they made some 3s and got some easy buckets, that really hurt.”

South Carolina stretched its advantage to as many as 25 with 10 minutes left. The six-point favorites played like the state kings.

“Frank coming on the road like this, he doesn’t have to,” Young said. “But for the state university to come here for the first game in this building was really special.”

Carolina hosts Western Michigan on Monday.

SOUTH CAROLINA (1-0)

Silva 2-5 5-6 9, Kotsar 5-10 3-4 13, Minaya 2-5 1-1 6, Booker 4-6 1-2 12, Gravett 2-7 0-0 5, Gueye 0-0 0-0 0, Haase 4-6 0-1 10, Cudd 0-0 0-0 0, Doumbia 0-1 0-0 0, Myers 3-6 2-2 10, Beatty 2-6 0-0 6, Corchiani 0-0 0-0 0, Holden 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-54 12-16 73.

WOFFORD (0-1)

Jackson 3-7 3-6 9, Pegram 3-7 4-4 12, Hoover 2-7 4-5 9, Theme-Love 0-2 0-0 0, Magee 7-17 0-0 17, Aluma 0-0 0-0 0, Lowery 0-0 0-0 0, Hollowell 0-2 0-0 0, Murphy 1-4 1-1 3, Brooks 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 17-49 12-16 52.

Halftime: South Carolina 33-24. 3-Point Goals: South Carolina 11-23 (Booker 3-5, Haase 2-3, Myers 2-4, Beatty 2-4, Minaya 1-2, Gravett 1-2, Silva 0-1, Kotsar 0-1, Holden 0-1), Wofford 6-19 (Magee 3-9, Pegram 2-2, Hoover 1-4, Hollowell 0-1, Brooks 0-1, Theme-Love 0-1, Jackson 0-1). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: South Carolina 35 (Silva 10), Wofford 22 (Jackson 9). Assists: South Carolina 17 (Kotsar 4), Wofford 7 (Murphy 4). Total Fouls: South Carolina 17, Wofford 16. A: 3,400 (3,500).

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