South Carolina Basketball: Three thumbs up, three thumbs down vs. Elon

South Carolina basketball improved to 11-1 on the season (matching last year's win total) with a blowout victory over Elon.

Dec 19, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Myles Stute (10) grabs
Dec 19, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Myles Stute (10) grabs / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Elon
Thumbs Up 1: Defense

The Gamecocks were really good all night on the defensive side of the floor. Most shots were contested, USC forced 15 turnovers, and they only allowed 13 free throw attempts. The biggest knocks against the defense came at the expense of BJ Mack's ability to stick with more athletic bigs and the Gamecocks' continued propencity for losing a handful of nearly-secured rebounds each game. All-in-all, Coach Paris has to be pleased with his team on defense as they held a good offensive team in Elon to just 43 points, the lowest scoring total against South Carolina basketball this season.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Elon
Thumbs Up 2: Ta'Lon Cooper

This was obvious, right? With Meechie Johnson out and nursing a mild knee injury, the Gamecocks needed some additional scoring from their guard unit, and point guard Ta'Lon Cooper delivered. Scoring a season-high 17 points on just 11 shot attempts, Cooper carried the load offensively and even saved USC's bacon on multiple occasions by knocking down tough, contested shots right at the shot clock buzzer. As he usually does, he had a nice night distributing (though, some missed shots from his teammates left him at just 3 assists), he played solid defense, and he helped out in the rebounding department with 6 boards.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Elon
Thumbs Up 3: Myles Stute's Bounce Back

There's no sugarcoating it: Myles Stute was awful in the first half against Elon. The Carolina wing was 0-5 from the field, and three of his shots were air balls, and one of them got blocked. He also had a pretty ugly turnover. When the second half rolled around, however, he bounced back in a big way. After missing his first shot of the half, he went 5-6 from the field, including three makes from behind the arc. He also finished the game with 8 rebounds. When coaches say things like "Don't let your bad first half beat you twice," the bounce-back effort from Myles Stute against Elon is exactly the type of response they are trying to illicit from their players. Hopefully the strong finish translates to a hot stretch of play for the former Vanderbilt Commodore.