Before the game even began, there was a little bit of controversy.
Someone from East Carolina arranged on the website Cameo to get a short video from Spencer Rattler wishing the team luck and encouraging them to “get this dub.” However, as it was revealed by Rattler later, the Pirates told Rattler they were a struggling high school team that needed some encouragement.
Once the game began, it was a physical, strangely officiated matchup from start to finish.
It was a bounce-back game of sorts for Myles Stute as he hit 3 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and Meechie Johnson scored 13 of his 15 points in the 2nd half of the contest to carry the load.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Gamecocks won the rebounding battle despite East Carolina getting the benefit of the doubt on seemingly every call down low. The tight whistles against USC resulted in 11 2nd-half free throw attempts from ECU’s Ezra Ausar.
A late-game burst of free throws allowed the Gamecocks to win the free throw battle, but the whistles favored the Pirates the majority of the game in a big way.
Even with the questionable refereeing, an injury to backup point guard Morris Ugusuk, and Collin Murray-Boyles still operating at less than 100%, the Gamecocks pulled off the victory in Greenville, 68-72.