South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and his team were back from their short Christmas break, and with one more game before the SEC schedule begins, the Gamecocks welcomed the Florida A&M Rattlers to Colonial Life Arena.
After a one-game absence, Meechie Johnson returned to the starting lineup, and after Myles Stute started the scoring with a 3-ball, Johnson made his first long ball to match.
Carolina jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, but the Rattlers scored 8 in a row to tie the score before the media timeout. After the short break, A&M took the lead for 15 seconds, but a Stute layup and two Jacobi Wright free throws put USC on top again.
The game’s third 8-0 run (two for Carolina, one for A&M) ended on a Keith Lamar 3-pointer, but Zach Davis answered immediately with one of his own to make the score 19-13. 6 straight from the Rattlers tied things up again as Meechie Johnson struggled to put the ball in the basket. After moving to 1-8 for the day, Myles Stute hit another 3-pointer to kick start another run, this one an 20-0 run that also saw Morris Ugusuk hit three shots from behind the arc.
In the end, Florida A&M didn’t score a point for over 7 minutes before big Ja’Derryus Eatmon scored on a post-up. A couple of possessions later, a big Collin Murray-Boules dunk off a nice pass from Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk got the crowd going a bit.
Coasting to halftime on a 30-2 run, South Carolina basketball entered the halftime break with a massive 49-21 lead.
Myles Stute continued his hot shooting after the halftime break, knocking down another outside jumper to get the 2nd half started. A few possessions, later a Keith Lamar 3-pointer brought the count to 56-24 (FAMU was 3-4 from behind the arc at that point).
After all of their 1st half struggles, the Rattlers scored 13 points in the first 4:45 of the 2nd half, and when the under-16 media timeout came, the score stood 62-34 as the two teams had scored evenly in the early goings of the 2nd stanza.
After going 0-5 in the 1st half, Jalen Speer made his first 3 shots of the 2nd, but he fouled Zach Davis on a fastbreak layup. Davis made the shot through the contact anyway.
The Gamecocks pushed the lead to 30 points for the second time after BJ Mack hit a 3-pointer and then sunk 2 free throws on the next trip down the floor. Another throwdown for Collin Murray-Boyles made the score 75-43.
Coach Paris’ team coasted to the finish line over the final 7:00.
Murray-Boyles scored 9 straight to set a new career-high with 17 points, and the rest of the game saw the two teams trade baskets and misses.