Gamecocks fall to Princeton 66-62 in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – South Carolina (1-1) suffered a 66-62 loss to Princeton (2-0) in its opening contest at the Asheville Championship on Friday night. The Gamecocks will face Western Kentucky (1-1) on Sunday at 5 PM in their final matchup at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center.

Junior forward Wildens Leveque was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, en route to 12 points, and he matched his career high with 10 rebounds for the first double-double of his career. Junior guard Jermaine Couisnard led all scorers with 17 points, and senior guard Erik Stevenson added 14 for Carolina.

Princeton would use strong shooting from 3-point range in the win, hitting 11-of-31 attempts from beyond the arc, compared to just four makes from 3 from the Gamecocks.

Carolina held a 19-9 upperhand with 11:38 to go in the first half before Princeton would close the opening 20 minutes of play on a 22-6 run to hold a 31-25 upperhand at the half. Couisnard would tie the contest at 33-33 early in the second half, and a pair of free throws from Stevenson with 9:46 to play would give the Gamecocks a slight 44-43 advantage.

Strong outside shooting, and makes at the foul line had the Princeton lead at 56-50 with 3:58 to play. Princeton held a 61-53 advantage with under a minute to play before Couisnard would hit his first of three 3s in the final 52 seconds of play to bring the Gamecocks within five at 61-56. The Tigers would make one free throw at the opposite end on the next play, but Couisnard would answer, hitting another 3 to bring Carolina within three at 62-59 with 36 seconds to play.

After more Tiger free throws, Couisnard would sink another 3 to bring the score to 65-62 with 8.4 seconds to play, but Princeton’s Drew Friberg would collect the inbounds pass and be fouled, and he would seal the 66-62 Tiger win with two free throws.

Key Stat
South Carolina made 25 shots in the contest, compared to just 20 makes from Princeton, however, the Tigers hit 11 3-pointers, compared to just four by the Gamecocks.

Notables
– Junior forward Wildens Leveque posted the first double-double of his career with 12 points and a game high 10 rebounds. Through the first two games of the season, Leveque has hit 10-of-14 attempts from the field, and is averaging 9.0 rebounds per contest.
– Senior guard Erik Stevenson collected a career high six steals in the contest. His 14 points vs. Princeton marked the 37th double-figure scoring game of his career.
– South Carolina held a 45-36 advantage on the boards, including a 19-9 upperhand in offensive rebounds. Through the first two games of the season, Carolina holds a +13.5 rebound margin.

Up Next
South Carolina will face Western Kentucky on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 5 PM ET on ESPNU.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks