Junior guard Hassani Gravett scored 15 points to help South Carolina post a 78-60 victory over Western Michigan on Tuesday in non-conference action at Columbia, S.C.
Senior guard Frank Booker added 14 points for the Gamecocks (2-0), who posted a 46-32 rebounding advantage. Junior forward Chris Silva contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore forward Maik Kotsar added 10 points.
Senior guard Thomas Wilder had 21 points, six steals and five assists for the Broncos (1-1). Junior guard Bryce Moore scored 12 points and junior forward Josh Davis had 11 points and eight rebounds.
South Carolina is a rebuilt team after heavy departures from last season’s Final Four team as players like Gravett (3 of 3 from 3-point range) assume increased roles.
The Gamecocks used a 9-0 run to open a 55-38 lead with 13:14 remaining and again led by 17 after two free throws by Booker with 8:59 to play.
Western Michigan moved within 62-52 on a 3-pointer by Moore with 8:32 left. But Gravett hit two free throws, Booker scored on a fast-break layup and Gravett drained a 3-pointer to make it a 17-point margin with 5:26 to play.
South Carolina’s lead topped out at 18 points.
The Broncos battled the Gamecocks in the first 12 1/2 minutes and the score was tied at 23 on a basket by Wilder with 7:29 left in the first half.
But South Carolina erupted for the next 12 points as freshman forward Felipe Haase and freshman guard David Beatty each knocked down 3-pointers during the run that gave the Gamecocks a 35-23 edge.
South Carolina led 38-29 at the break partially due to a 23-15 rebounding advantage.