Buoyed by a dominant second-half performance, South Carolina ran Cleveland State out of the gym, 90-63 on Friday night in Columbia, S.C.
Sophomore AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks (3-0) with a career-high 28 points. Wildens Leveque and Jair Bolden each added 12 points, and Alanzo Frink contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.
South Carolina senior Maik Kotsar also set a career high with 12 rebounds.
Sophomore Tre Gomillion (1-3) scored 18 points to top the Vikings, and Algevon Eichelberger had 13 points.
After the Vikings got hot to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to just five points at the half, South Carolina built on its turnover advantage and found its own offense.
South Carolina’s first big surge led to a 28-14 lead at the 11:09 mark of the first half.
Enjoying a 5-1 advantage in turnovers early in the first half, the Gamecocks turned defense into offense. After South Carolina started the game just 2-for-11 from the field, the Gamecocks went on to hit five of their first 10 3-point attempts to build the lead to 17 points midway through the first half.
The Gamecocks’ run was powered by Lawson, who finished the first half with 14 points. South Carolina’s attempt to decide the contest early proved premature, however.
A renewed charge on the offensive end by Gomillion happened perfectly in concert with the Gamecocks suddenly going cold over the last five minutes of the half. Gomillion finished the first half with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and Cleveland State trailed just 45-40 at the break after shooting 56 percent from the field.
South Carolina made 35.9 percent of its field-goal tries before the break
The Gamecocks went on a 12-0 run to begin the second half, fueled by five Vikings turnovers. In the end, Cleveland State couldn’t overcome 29 turnovers, as South Carolina gave the ball away only 10 times.
—Field Level Media