South Carolina will look to end a two-game losing streak when it hosts Western Kentucky on Thursday in Columbia, S.C.
The Gamecocks (5-6) are coming off a 64-56 loss to East Carolina in the inaugural Greenville Winter Invitational on Saturday, while Western Kentucky (8-2) ended a five-game winning streak with a 94-83 loss at Louisville on Dec. 14.
South Carolina fell behind East Carolina 12-0 and never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Hayden Brown scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Meechie Johnson added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Gregory “GG” Jackson II chipped in 13 points and five rebounds, but no other Gamecock scored more than Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk’s six.
“We’re not a great team right now. I don’t think I’m making any sort of crazy assessment by saying that. We have to get better,” South Carolina first-year coach Lamont Paris said.
“Some of those ways are basketball ways, but some of those ways don’t have near as much to do with basketball. Guys have to compete better. It’s foreign to me. We have guys that just don’t compete the way I would expect you to compete in Tiddlywinks but certainly as a Division I basketball player on a consistent basis.”
Jackson leads the team in scoring (17 points per game) and rebounding (6.6 rpg), while Brown averages 11.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Chico Carter Jr., who averages 11.3 points, is the only other Gamecock who averages in double figures.
Western Kentucky trailed previously winless Louisville 46-35 at halftime and never got within single digits the rest of the way.
Dayvion McKnight scored a team-high 25 points to go along with five rebounds, while Jairus Hamilton added a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Emmanuel Akot finished with 12 points and four rebounds.
“They made timely shots,” Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury said of Louisville. “When you look at the stats, we had some momentum to start that game … You can’t let that momentum change.”
McKnight tops the Hilltoppers in points (15.4), assists (5.0) and steals (1.9), while Akot is second in scoring at 13.0. Hamilton averages 10.5 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game.
–Field Level Media