South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris began the second year of his tenure in Columbia with a victory over in-state program USC-Upstate. In fact, Paris’ team dominated the Spartans, and Gamecock fans had to be pleased with almost everything they watched on Monday evening.
The game was never particularly close as Carolina doubled up Upstate on the scoreboard (14-7) by the time the game’s first timeout was called. Meechie Johnson had a really nice first half, and BJ Mack followed up with a good shooting performance in the second.
Myles Stute, Ta’Lon Cooper, and Jacobi Wright consistently added some offensive spark when needed, and the Gamecocks continued their trend from the Wofford exhibition of having wings and guards handle the majority of the rebounding.
Corner threes, pick-and-pops from the bigs (particularly BJ Mack), and aggressive drives (both on the fastbreak and in the halfcourt) were the story for a very efficient offense that shot over 50% from both the field and behind the arc and that shot 19 free throws. The 82 points scored matched last season’s high-water mark.
This game against Upstate was never in doubt, something that is a welcome change from last season’s matchup in which the Gamecocks didn’t take their first lead until the second half.