Martin's Confidence In Leonard Grows

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By Sports Department

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Despite the 74-71 loss to Auburn Saturday, Frank Martin got a big boost from the bench.

Sophomore Damien Leonard put in 17 points and also had nine boards in the Gamecocks 2nd-straight SEC loss. Leonard has averaged just 4.8 points per game and 2.5 rebounds so far this season.

"That's what happens when you got guys that are doing their jobs every day in practice," said Martin. "Some days, a guy rolls his ankle, sometimes a guy is in foul trouble, and now you call their number and they're prepared for the moment, and that's what he's [Leonard] been doing."

Leonard's 17 points and nine rebounds were a season-high for him. It was the kind of performance Martin hopes to continue to see from his young player.

"My confidence in him has grown," said Martin. "Damien makes some toughness plays that we gotta have. He's leaps and bounds from where he was at."

The Gamecocks return to action Wednesday night at LSU. USC is still in search of their first conference victory. Tip off is set for 8pm Wednesday.

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