South Carolina Basketball: Three thumbs up, three thumbs down from Virginia Tech win

South Carolina basketball point guard Ta'Lon Cooper was a floor general on Friday night. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina basketball point guard Ta'Lon Cooper was a floor general on Friday night. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina Basketball
South Carolina basketball guard Jacobi Wright played well for the Gamecocks in the win over Virginia Tech, including getting most of the minutes down the stretch over Meechie Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Basketball vs. Virginia Tech:
Thumbs Down

Thumbs Down. The Gamecocks forced Virginia Tech into just 5 turnovers on Friday. That’s far too low, especially when one considers that only two of those turnovers were live ball turnovers. Carolina got their hands on more balls than the stat sheet indicates, but they couldn’t secure many steals (just 2 for the whole game), and several of their deflections were weak enough that the Hokies immediately scored after the tipped pass/dribble. Like their football counterparts, South Carolina basketball must do better at taking the ball away. . South Carolina Gamecocks. (NOT) FORCING TURNOVERS

. South Carolina Gamecocks. SECOND HALF DEFENSE . Thumbs Down. The Gamecocks were pretty good defensively in the 1st half. They were bad in the 2nd. Carolina got torched in simple ball screen sets, and BJ Mack was abysmal both in switching situations and one-on-one. The team’s perimeter defense wasn’t good enough, especially when trying to keep up with VT guard Sean Pendulla. Thankfully for the Gamecocks, Hunter Cattoor wasn’t knocking down shots, or else the game might have gone the other way.

Thumbs Down. South Carolina took just 8 free throws in the entire game. On drives to the basket, Gamecock ball handlers appeared to be avoiding contact intentionally instead of looking to earn free throw opportunities. Other than BJ Mack’s backdown game, Carolina had no physical presence in the paint on offense. Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk is not an offensive threat down low (though he played his role well), Stephen Clark didn’t have a very good showing, and the guards and wings who made their way into the paint did not go up strong.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. AVOIDING THE FREE THROW LINE

Related Story. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecocks knock off Hokies in Charlotte. light