South Carolina got a much-needed blowout Monday before the start of Southeastern Conference play when it placed four players in double figures and routed outmatched North Greenville 97-46 in Columbia, S.C.
Guard A.J. Lawson fired in a game-high 22 points for the Gamecocks (5-7), hitting 8 of 13 field-goal attempts. Chris Silva added 21 on just seven shots from the floor, going 8-for-8 at the foul line and also grabbing nine rebounds. Keyshawn Bryant chipped in 19 points, and Tre Campbell scored 11.
Caleb Arrington came off the bench to hit four 3-pointers and score 13 points for the Crusaders (1-11), an NCAA Division II school located in Tigerville, S.C. Roderick Howell contributed 11, but North Greenville made just 30.9 percent of its field-goal attempts and committed 26 turnovers, leading to 34 points.
South Carolina wasted little time getting the rout started, Campbell draining a 3-pointer 26 seconds into the game. Lawson’s 3-pointer at the 16:04 mark gave the Gamecocks a 13-2 advantage, and they led by double figures for the game’s remainder.
Bryant dunked with 13:12 left in the half to up the margin to 21-5, and Hassani Gravett’s layup with 8:16 remaining increased the lead to 33-12. Lawson’s transition layup 2:23 before intermission pushed the advantage to 25 for the first time, and a tip-in by Felipe Haase with 11 seconds left sent South Carolina into the locker room with a 48-25 cushion.
The Gamecocks flaunted their clear physical advantage, outrebounding the Crusaders 25-15 before the break. They scored 12 points off 10 offensive caroms, allowing them to be in control from the jump despite shooting only 41.7 percent from the field in the half.
It got no better for North Greenville in the second half as South Carolina upped the lead to 30 just 2:31 in on a 3-pointer by Lawson. A dunk by Lawson with 16:15 left made it a 66-31 advantage, and the game’s remainder was a race to the final buzzer.
The Crusaders at least collected a nice paycheck for their second lopsided Division I loss of the season. They fell 107-67 at Furman on Nov. 15.
—Field Level Media