Couisnard, Kotsar propel South Carolina over Gardner-Webb, 74-69
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Jermaine Couisnard converted a three-point play with just over a minute to go Friday as South Carolina slipped past Gardner-Webb, 74-69.
The winless Bulldogs (0-5) gave the Gamecocks (4-1) all they could handle, constantly slicing through their defense and burying 3-pointers over South Carolina’s lunging guards. Eric Jamison Jr.’s fast-break layup gave the Bulldogs the lead with 81 seconds to go, but Couisnard got the ball at the high post and swished a jumper, with the foul.
Jose Perez’s layup circled out of the cylinder and Alanzo Frink rebounded it, but the Bulldogs’ defense forced another rushed South Carolina 3-pointer. Couisnard’s attempt missed, but Maik Kotsar tapped the rebound to Jair Bolden, who covered it as Gardner-Webb had to foul.
Bolden made one free throw and the Gamecocks survived another Gardner-Webb 3-point attempt and escaped.
Jamison topped the Bulldogs with 19 points as four of five starters scored in double figures.
AJ Lawson and Couisnard both scored 16 to pace South Carolina. Kotsar scored 11 with a team-high six rebounds.
The Gamecocks only had three more rebounds than Gardner-Webb, despite a sizable height advantage, and were a mere 5-of-19 shooting on 3-pointers.
> South Carolina limited the Runnin’ Bulldogs to just 39 percent shooting (21-for-54).
> The Gamecocks were a season-best 15-of-17 (88 percent) at the free throw line.
> After scoring just eight bench points in a loss to Boston U earlier this week, Carolina’s bench bounced back with 32 points tonight.
> Redshirt sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard, who scored six points on a pair of crucial and-1s the final two minutes, finished with a career-high 16 points. It marks his second time in double figures this season.
> For the second straight game, senior forward Maik Kotsar (11) and sophomore guard AJ Lawson (16) scored in double figures. Kotsar scored eight of his 11 points in the second half.
> Redshirt junior guard Jair Bolden (10) and sophomore big man Alanzo Frink (10) also finished in double figures.
> The Gamecocks notched a season-high nine blocks tonight against Gardner-Webb, paced by redshirt sophomore wing Justin Minaya (4) and freshman forward Wildens Leveque. Both were single-game, career highs for each.
South Carolina travels to Cancun on Sunday for upcoming matchups with Wichita State (Nov. 26/6:30 PM/CBSSN) and either West Virginia or Northern Iowa (Nov. 27/6/8:30 PM/CBSSN), in the Cancun Challenge from the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.