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 Down 1: 3-Pointers Aren't Falling

After breaking a South Carolina basketball record with 18 made 3-balls against George Washington back on the first day of December, the Gamecocks have not shot the ball particularly well. In fact, USC has shot under 35% from outside in all five of its games since the GW rout, and in three of those contests, the Gamecocks have shot worse than 27% from the perimeter. Yet, they have taken at least 25 3-pointers in each of those games. The phrase "live by the 3, die by the 3" could soon apply to the Gamecocks if they don't start making more of their open shots or start adjusting when they aren't falling.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Elon
Thumbs Down 2: BJ Mack's Struggles

BJ Mack is a good basketball player. This is especially true on the offensive end of the floor. However, he has not been at his best of late. In his first 7 games of the year, he averaged just under 17 points per game and was shooting just below 50% from the field and just under 40% from behind the arc. Since then, his scoring average is down to 11.2 points per game, and he is shooting under 40% from the floor and under 25% from downtown. The Elon game was representative of these numbers as he scored just 9 points on 10 shot attempts. He will need to get things going before SEC play begins in January.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Elon
Thumbs Down 3: Free Throws

Despite winning big, Lamont Paris was visibly frustrated with his team a couple of times after missed free throws on Friday. Carolina shot just 62.5% from the line, and that number should have been 56.25% except an Elon lane violation gave Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk a do-over on one of his misses. That's not good enough, and giving away so many free points at the charity stripe will lose the Gamecocks a game against better competition. Hopefully adding the team's most consistent (and most frequent) free throw shooter back to the lineup soon will alleviate the issue a bit, but even Meechie Johnson's excellence can't help other players make their foul shots. Coach Paris certainly will have his troops practicing their freebies over this next week.

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