November 11, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; Milwaukee Panthers forward Ryan Haggerty (44) and South Carolina Gamecocks guard Eric Smith (5) and forward Michael Carrera (24) battle for a loose ball in the second half at Colonial-Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Michael Carrera Huge In South Carolina Gamecocks OT Win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee


The South Carolina Gamecocks had plenty of heroes in their 80-75 overtime win against Milwaukee Sunday evening.

Lashay Page scored a team high 19 points and Brenton Williams scored South Carolina’s final 10 points.

But no one played a bigger role in the victory than freshman forward Michael Carerra. He scored 17 points on 12 shots, grabbed 15 rebounds (the most a single Gamecock has grabbed in two years), and blocked three shots. He was also five-of-five from the free-throw line.

He did a good amount of his damage playing with three fouls to begin the second half, and four fouls in overtime. When he was on the bench, he was the most vocal player there, cheering on his teammates and using his seven-foot wingspan to pump the crowd up at Colonial Life Arena.

He scored plenty of points off offensive rebounds, but he also showed nice moves in the post. He’s probably the best freshman basketball player South Carolina has had since Bruce Ellington, and I think Carerra could have a bigger impact on this team than Ellington had on his first Carolina squad.

South Carolina’s other freshman, Mandaugus Kacinas, played an equally important role on the glass, scoring eight points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

As I mentioned before, LaShay Page, a senior transfer from USM and a Dillon, SC native, scored 19 points to lead all Gamecocks in scoring. He had a tough first half, as did the Gamecocks who trailed by 15 at the half.

At one point the Gamecocks trailed by 17, but a strong shooting performance in the second half, coupled with a horrid shooting performance from Milwaukee (who hit 8-14 threes in the first half), led the Gamecock into overtime and eventually to victory.

One other guy who had solid performances include Lakeem Jackson, who dropped 12 points and six rebounds.

The Gamecocks were without freshman center Laimonas Chatkevicius, who was suspended by the NCAA for six games after they ruled he received impermissible benefits from his American host family. With his absence, and due Carlton Geathers’ injury, RJ Slawson was South Carolina’s only post guy and tallest player at 6’8″. Carolina lost him after just 14 minutes of play due to severe cramping.

Despite all of that, and because of Carerra and Kacinas, SC outrebounded the Panthers 40-26.

The South Carolina Gamecocks next game is against the Morgan State Bears Friday at 7pm inside the Colonial Life Arena.

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