South Carolina was short-handed, but center Chris Silva and guard Wesley Myers came up big in the Gamecocks’ 71-60 win over the Commodores at the Colonial Life Center in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday night.
Silva scored a career-high 27 points, and Myers added 17, as the Gamecocks improved to 10-5 and got their first Southeastern Conference win in three tries.
Carolina trailed by two at half, but seized the lead on Silva’s dunk at the 17:48 mark of the period and never trailed again.
Myers helped build that lead. He assisted a layup at 17:01 by guard Evan Hinson to put USC up three. Then, after Vandy guard Matthew Fisher-Davis answered with a layup, Myers scored five points during a Carolina 7-0 run to extend the lead to eight.
The Commodores (6-9, 1-2 SEC) were done in by foul trouble. The Gamecocks committed just 17 fouls to Vandy’s 31.
Reserve center Djery Baptiste and starting guards Riley LaChance and Saben Lee fouled out, while Vandy’s other three starters — forwards Jeff Roberson and Clevon Brown, and guard Max Evans — each had four.
Roberson, Vandy’s leading scorer (14.9), was held to nine points. He picked up his fourth on a foul away from the ball at 12:42.
Carolina smelled blood, and either went to Silva in the paint, or drove it to the rack, time and time again.
But Vandy hung tough thanks to Carolina hitting just 25-of-39 (64.1 percent) from the line. The ‘Dores were within six on a Fisher-Davis 3 with 58 seconds left, but Carolina hit 10 foul shots from there, including 4-of-4 from Myers.
Lee led Vandy with 17, but a lack of 3-point success (8-of-29, 27.6 percent) killed the Commodores.
VU led 28-26 at half, with Baptiste leading the team in scoring off the bench. The Commodores started their smaller lineup, with Brown and Evans each earning their third starts.
Vandy coach Bryce Drew drew a first-half technical foul for arguing a call.
The Gamecocks were playing without starting point guard Hassani Gravett, the team’s assist leader. The junior has missed three straight games with a sprained ankle.
—Field Level Media