Carolina Crushes Longwood In Season Opener
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina (1-0) posted an 82-44 victory in its season opener on Saturday versus Longwood (0-1). The win marked the 13th straight in an opener for the Gamecocks and held head coach Frank Martin’s record at a perfect 7-0 in openers for his career. South Carolina junior guard Ty Johnson led all scorers with 18 points, hitting 6-of-9 attempts from the field.
Prior to the start of Saturday’s opener, it was announced that Johnson had been granted a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to compete effective immediately. Johnson went on to score the first points of the contest on a driving lay-up to the right side in his first regular season action since the 2011-12 campaign at Villanova.
Sophomore forward Mindaugas Kacinas set a career high in the game with 14 rebounds, where the Gamecocks out-rebounded the Lancers 50-27. Kacinas pulled down five of Carolina’s 12 offensive boards in the game.
South Carolina held Longwood to just 22.8 percent (13-57) shooting, which marked a new Colonial Life Arena record. Longwood’s 44 points in the contest were the fewest for a Gamecock opponent since SE Louisiana scored 43 on Dec. 21, 2011. It was the largest margin of victory for Carolina since defeating Alabama A&M 88-50 on Nov. 13, 2009.
The Gamecocks held an early 6-0 lead behind the play of Johnson before a lay-in from Longwood’s Tristan Carey put the Lancers on the board with 14:09 to play in the opening half.
Back-to-back 3s from sophomore forward Michael Carrera pushed the Gamecock lead to 18-4 with 11:04 remaining in the first half before Longwood would score five unanswered points over the course of the next three minutes to put the score at 18-9 at the under-eight minute media timeout.
The Lancers would add a jumper with 5:47 remaining, forcing a called timeout for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina would score seven unanswered out of the timeout, and would end the half on a 19-4 run, sparked by consecutive 3s from freshman guard Duane Notice, to hold a 37-15 upperhand at the break. Senior guard Brenton Williams led all scorers in the opening half with 11, while Kacinas pulled down eight rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
Strong defense from the Gamecocks forced the ninth and 10th turnovers of the contest for the Lancers, with Carolina capitalizing on both with jumpers from freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell and Johnson at the 17:12 mark, which forced a Longwood timeout.
South Carolina continued to bolster its lead through the remainder of the second half. A one-handed dunk from Carrera pushed the lead to 61-24 at the 10:17 mark. The Gamecocks continued to dominate the remainder of the half. Johnson reached his career high for points in the later minutes of the game, and Kacinas pulled down his career high for rebounds, adding eight points to almost reach the double-double.
Williams and Thornwell both posted 14 points in the win, with all of Thornwell’s tallies coming in the second half. Carrera added 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks and Notice led the way with four assists.
Carey led Longwood with 12 points in the contest.
South Carolina continues non-conference play on Tuesday when it travels to No. 25 Baylor as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Marathon. Game time is set for 3 p.m. ET, with the contest to be televised on ESPN.