November 28, 2017 / 2:53 AM / a year ago

South Carolina pulls away from FIU in second half

South Carolina pulls away from FIU in second half

South Carolina forward Chris Silva scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a game with significant lead changes, and the Gamecocks prevailed 78-61 over Florida International on Monday night at Miami.

Malik Kotsar tied a career high with 16 points to go with six rebounds, six assists and three steals for South Carolina (5-1). Justin Minaya had 13 points and Frank Booker scored 12. Hassani Gravett contributed seven points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Gamecocks.

Florida International (2-4) was led by Eric Lockett’s 21 points and five rebounds. Trejon Jacob scored 15 points, and Brian Beard Jr. added 14 for the Golden Panthers.

South Carolina allowed a 20-4 lead to slip away as FIU rallied with a 27-3 run to take a 31-23 edge with 5:26 left before halftime.

The Gamecocks, who committed 19 turnovers but also forced FIU into 17, then closed the first half by outscoring the Golden Panthers 15-5 to take a 38-36 lead into halftime.

South Carolina continued its upward swing early in the second half as the Gamecocks went on a 19-0 run to build a 59-38 lead with 15:16 left in regulation. Booker made three 3-pointers and Silva had seven points in the pivotal stretch.

After FIU went down by as many as 22 points, the Golden Panthers again fought back. They cut the deficit to 68-56 with 7:07 left after Lockett scored nine points in a span of 3:31.

Florida International got as close as 10 points with 6:02 left, but South Carolina responded with six unanswered points, capped by a Silva jump shot with 4:22 left.

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