Freshman A.J. Lawson scored 25 points, and first-team All-SEC selection Chris Silva came alive midway through the second half as the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the visiting Coast Carolina Chanticleers 85-79 on Friday night in Columbia, S.C.
Hassani Gravett came off the bench for South Carolina (4-3) and made four 3-point shots and finished with 23 points.
Zac Cuthbertson, a preseason second-team Sun Belt selection, scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Chanticleers, who fell to 4-4.
Lawson, who was coming off a game where he went 0-for-5 in a loss to Wofford on Monday, scored a career high on 6 of 10 shooting from the field. He also made 11 of 15 from the free-throw line.
Silva played only five minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, scoring just three points. He continued to struggle the first eight minutes of the second half when the Chanticleers erased a 10-point deficit to take a 59-56 lead on Tommy Burton’s layup.
But then, Silva gained confidence and took over. He scored six of the Gamecocks’ next nine points to put South Carolina up 70-61.
Silva finished with nine points, five rebounds and six blocked shots.
Coastal Carolina stayed in the game thanks to 3-point shooting and free throws, but every time the Chanticleers tried to gain momentum, the Gamecocks had an answer.
Gravett’s 3-pointer with 3:20 left put the Gamecocks up by 10 and ended Coastal Carolina’s thoughts of an upset.
Lawson scored 12 while Gravett added eight for Frank Martin’s squad in the first 20 minutes while Cuthbertson and David Pierce combined for 23 first-half points for Coastal Carolina.
South Carolina went on a 7-0 run to close the first half. Maik Kotsar’s 3-point jumper from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded gave South Carolina its largest lead of the half at 50-41.
South Carolina avoided losing back-to-back games to non-Power 5 teams. The Gamecocks had lost by 20 to Wofford on Monday.
When these teams met last season, the Gamecocks hung on for an 80-78 win.
—Field Level Media