Coming off two wins over top 25 teams Michigan and Syracuse last week, one had to wonder if USC might have a letdown at home against Vermont Thursday night. Hopefully you didn’t bet any tasty Vermont maple syrup that the Gamecocks would struggle because if you did, well, you’re out some tasty Vermont maple syrup.
#20 USC dominated Vermont 68-50 at Colonial Life Arena. They never trailed the Catmounts, a second straight game they have led wire to wire. Vermont may not a big name program like Michigan or Syracuse, but they were the preseason pick to win their conference and have been no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. The win moved the Gamecocks to 7-0 this season.
Here are my takeaways on USC’s win over Vermont:
P.J. Dozier is looking like the McDonalds All-American people expected
Early in the season P.J. Dozier was a lost Gamecock. He was in foul trouble; he struggled to find his shot; he lacked confidence. He hit the game winner against Monmouth, but never seemed really comfortable. Something has clicked. A light bulb has turned on. Dozier followed up his first career double-double against Syracuse with a career high 21 points against Vermont. He stroked a 3-pointer to start the game and kept it rolling from there. Among his highlights were a monster dunk off an alley-oop and a nifty behind the back dribble drive play that ended with a layup.
Listen to P.J. Dozier his big night against Vermont:
USC’s defense is legit
USC entered Thursday night’s game ranked in the top five in scoring defense (56.7) and field goal percentage defense (32.3%). On cue they held Vermont to 50 points on 35% shooting. The Catamounts entered the game averaging 74 points per game.
USC has a few quality “bigs” this season
It’s been a long time since USC had this kind of of interior depth. For this first time since he’s been in Columbia Martin has options. Yes, they are young, and in some cases raw, but they are already pretty good. Freshman Maik Kotsar had another impressive game scoring 14 points on 10 shows. He grabbed five rebounds. Chris Silva stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Sedee Keita is still figuring things out but the freshman already has a stout 6-9, 240 pound body and in flashes you can see that he can be a force near the rim.
Frank Martin wasn’t happy though
Listening to Frank Martin in the postgame news conference you would have had no clue that the Gamecocks won by 18 pints. He said he lit into his team at halftime because he didn’t think they were playing with the energy and intensity they needed. While he said he was proud of how they responded in the second half he made it clear that he was pretty upset for the entire game. He told his team it will take a better effort going forward or they will be in trouble.
Listen to Frank Martin discuss his team’s win over Vermont:
USC will play FIU at 2:00 Sunday at Colonial Life Arena. After that matchup the Gamecocks get some time for exams before playing Seton Hall in New York.