The South Carolina Men's Basketball team opened the 2010 season with a win against Elon last Friday 94-79, before heading to East Lansing to take on the #2 ranked MSU Spartans. We all knew that Michigan State would be a huge test for a young Gamecock team, with the departure of Dominique Archie and Devon Downey from last years team. Freshman Guards Bruce Ellington and Brian Richardson will have to learn on the fly as they are expected to pick up the scoring void left by Downey.
As part of ESPN's 24 hours of college basketball, the match up between Cocky and Sparty was expected to be a blowout by the Spartans. Not knowing what this young Gamecock team was all about most had a feeling it could get ugly pretty quick as playing a top opponent on their home court is never easy and even more difficult this early in the season.
Coach Horn deserves credit as his team on paper looks to be in a transition yearand not expected to do much in the SEC East. But after the heart and intensity they showed last night, I wouldn't count out the Gamecocks in the SEC. Granted as the season goes on, teams will figure out the trap and prepare for the guard heavy offense, but don't be shocked to see a couple upsets by the Gamecocks this season.
As for the game:
Freshman Bruce Ellington led the Gamecocks with 22 points. He also had five rebounds and five assist to go along with four steals. Brian Richardson scored 11 and Stephen Spinella added 10.
The surprise in watching the game is the Gamecocks held their own on the board,s which against the Spartans is a very good thing. SC had 44 to their 41.
I know the offense, at least in this game, was airing a lot of 3 balls but hope that is not a norm going forward. SC shot 31 3 pointers and made just 11. "Live and Die by the 3" is the old saying. Hope to see some more short range jumpers and working it inside (i.e high % shots). I know Muldrow had foul issues so he could not be effective in this game like we all hope he will be in 2010-2011.
One big takeaway from this game is Ellington is a stud. He will certainly give a nice run to SEC Freshman of the Year.
Next game vs. Radford at home at 7pm
***MSU-USC Box Score