March 6, 2015

Arkansas spoils USC’s comeback, Senior Night in wild game (AUDIO)

Ty Johnson is carried off the court by his teammates with cramps late.

Ty Johnson is carried off the court by his teammates with cramps late.

They say basketball is a game of runs and that was definitely the case at Colonial Life Arena Thursday night. But USC didn’t have enough in the tank to out run Arkansas in 78-74 loss on Senior Night.

The 18th ranked Razorbacks jumped out to a 20 point first half lead; USC rallied in the second half to take a double digit lead of its own; then Arkansas 24-6, 13-4) spurted back to the front late to snatch the win and add another painful SEC loss to an already long list of them for the Gamecocks (14-15, 5-12).

The Razorbacks came out hot, making 10 of its first 15 shots. They lead by 20 with 6:15 to play in the first half.  But the Gamecocks started chipping away with a 10-0 run and trailed by 11 at the half, 49-38. They picked up where they left off after the break and managed to not only come back, but build an 11 point lead with 7:20 to go.

At that point Arkansas was discombobulated, the crowd was fired up and USC appeared ready to snatch its biggest win of the SEC season in its final home game. But, the demons that have plagued this team in crunch time decided to make another cameo.

Arkansas closed the game on an 18-3 run that covered the final 5:53 seconds. USC’s last bucket came with 4:14 left to make it 73-65. The only other point they scored was a free throw by Sindarius Thornwell with just over two seconds on the clock and the Gamecocks down three. Thornwell missed the second attempt intentionally, but weren’t able to grab offensive the rebound.

Tyrone Johnson, in his final game at Colonial Life Arena, led the Gamecocks with 18 points. His big night was spoiled with a couple of key missed free throws down the stretch, and by the leg cramps that sent him to the bench for the final 2:29 of the game.

Johnson was one of four Gamecocks in double figures. Michael Carrera (14), Duane Notice (14) and Thornwell (10) were the others.

Arkansas All-SEC forward Bobby Portis led all scorers with 24. He scored the final four points of the game for the Razorbacks.

Postgame Reaction:

AUDIO: Frank Martin

AUDIO: Tyrone Johnson and Duane Notice

FINAL STATS

USC’s Frank Martin previews Arkansas (AUDIO)

Frank Martin's squad will host 18th ranked Arkansas Thursday night in Columbia.

Frank Martin’s squad will host 18th ranked Arkansas Thursday night in Columbia.

STORY FROM USC SID

COLUMBIA, S.C.South Carolina hosts No. 18/18 Arkansas on Thursday in the final regular-season home contest for the Gamecocks. The contest will serve as Senior Night for three Gamecocks as well. The meeting is the second between the two schools this season. The Razorbacks posted a 75-55 win in Fayetteville on Feb. 3. Thursday’s contest will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Joe Tessitore (pxp) and Sean Farnham (analyst) on the call.

SENIOR NIGHT
South Carolina will honor three seniors prior to Thursday’s contest vs. Arkansas. Senior manager Reggie Gallant, junior guard Austin Constable and senior guard Tyrone Johnson will be honored prior to tip in a ceremony slated to begin at approximately 6:45 p.m.

AUDIO: Frank Martin [14:00]

 

USC hammers High Point for ninth win (VIDEO)

Kyle Martin jhomered Wednesday (file photo).

Kyle Martin homered Wednesday (file photo).

Fifth ranked South Carolina scored 10 runs in the first three innings on the way to an 11-3 victory over High Point on Wednesday at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks improve to 9-3 on the year while the loss drop the Panthers to 2-8.

The Gamecocks belted out 12 hits with Alex Destino 3-for-5 with two RBI, Kyle Martin 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI and DC Arendas and Marcus Mooney with two hits apiece as well. Martin homered as did Schrock.  Gene Cone walked three times and scored three runs with Arendas and Mooney adding two runs each also.

Junior right-hander Preston Johnson earned the win in relief, retiring all 11 batters he faced. He worked 3.2 scoreless innings allowing no hits or walks and struck out a career-high five batters.   High Point starter Peter Ripke suffered the loss and is now 0-1 on the year.  He allowed six runs on five hits in one-plus inning of work.

Martin and Schrock each tallied two-run homers to give the Gamecocks a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Carolina added three runs in the second with Destino driving in a pair with a two-run single with the bases loaded and Schrock adding a sac fly.  A three-run third inning featured a RBI single from Elliott Caldwell and a two-run base hit courtesy of Martin, who tied his career-high with four RBI in the contest.  Marcus Mooney would add a sac fly in the bottom of the fourth.

GAME CHANGER

Home runs from Kyle Martin and Max Schrock gave the Gamecocks a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

KEY STAT

The Gamecocks scored 10 runs on nine hits in the first three innings.

NOTABLES

  • Kyle Martin tied his career-high of 4 RBI in a game.
  • Matthew Vogel tied a career-high with 4 strikeouts.
  • Alex Destino made his first career appearance on the mound and recorded his first career strikeout.
  • The Gamecocks’ 11 runs are the most in a game this season.
  • Preston Johnson made his first career appearance, earned his first win and recorded a career-high five strikeouts.

QUOTABLE

South Carolina Head Coach Chad Holbrook

“We started the game with a really good first three innings, offensively. We swung the bats and our table-setters got on base. Gene (Cone) had three walks and got on base. Elliott (Caldwell) had another nice day. (Kyle Martin) swung the bat the way he’s capable of swinging it. Alex (Destino) had three hits, Max (Schrock) had a big home run there in the first, as did (Martin). It was a good day for us offensively. We did some nice things and obviously got some different people in the game as well. I was really tickled with the way Preston Johnson threw. It’s amazing how the game changes when you have guys in there that can throw two pitches in their for strikes and consistently do it and he did. It’s a great line, three and two thirds (innings), five strikeouts and no hits. It was impressive and it was good to see in his first time out. It’s a good win for us and we certainly have a lot of improving to do. We have to shore some things up. I thought it was a good day for us. We’ll take it and get ready for the weekend.”

UP NEXT

The Gamecocks host Miami (Ohio) in a three-game series, beginning Friday at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the series opener is set for 7 p.m., all three games can be seen on SEC Network +.

BOX SCORE

You can watch post game reaction from GamecocksOnline.com here.

#STRecruiting: USC’s Martin to be one of first coaches to see Sina

Jaren Sina

Jaren Sina

6-2 PG Jaren Sina decided last month to transfer from Seton Hall after nearly two seasons with the Pirates.  It won’t take Sina long to find a new home because several major programs have already moved in on him, including USC.

“I’m just figure things out, lots of schools are getting involved every day,” Sina said.  “I just got released last weekend.  I’m building relationships with the coaches.”

One of those coaches is USC’s Frank Martin whom Sina expects meet in person Sunday or Monday.  He’s looking forward to learning more about Martin and his program.

“The program is headed in the right direction and he’s doing a great job thre,” Sina said.  “They’re getting big recruits and there’s a lot of attention drawn to the place.  It’s in a great conference and is a high level of basketball.”

Sina said Michigan, Boston College ans several other ACC, Big 10 and SEC schools have reached out to him.  He’s far from a decision and has no early favorite.

“The moment I find a place I feel the most comfortable and find an opportunity to help the team win, I’ll make the decision at that time,” he said.  And he’s not concerned about having to sit out next season wherever he goes.  “It’s just another year to work on my game and get better.”

Sina is a business and journalism major and is interested in a career in broadcasting.

He was averaging 7 points and 3 assists per game this season when he left the team.  “I’m a knockdown shooter and can shoot off the bounce,” Sina said.  “I’m a high IQ guy, team leader and a good passer.”

Sina is a native of Jefferson, NJ.

 

Destino’s grand slam powers USC past Charleston Southern (VIDEO)

Destino ripped a grand slam vs Charleston Southern (File Photo)

Destino ripped a grand slam vs Charleston Southern (File Photo)

A six-run seventh inning lifted fifth ranked South Carolina to a 10-4 victory over Charleston Southern on Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks improve to 8-3 on the year while the loss drops the Buccaneers to 5-4.

Trailing 4-3, the Gamecocks tallied six runs in the seventh to take a 9-4 lead. DC Arendas was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and quickly scored after a sacrifice bunt from Logan Koch and a RBI single off the bat of Marcus Mooney. Gene Cone followed with a bunt for a base hit and both runners then advanced on a wild pitch. Elliott Caldwell drew a walk, loading the bases for Kyle Martin, who was hit by a pitch to score Mooney. With the bases still loaded, Alex Destino crushed a 2-1 pitch to right field for his first career grand slam and his team-leading third homer of the year to give the Gamecocks a five-run cushion.

South Carolina added another run in the eighth on a RBI single from Martin that scored Cone.

Sophomore left-hander John Parke earned the win in relief, working 1.1 scoreless innings allowing no hits and two walks while striking out one batter. Left-hander Vince Fiori picked up his first career save with five strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings of work.

Charleston Southern got on the board early with a pair of runs in the first inning. A solo home run from Andrew Widell and a RBI double off the bat of Robbie Streett, secured the 2-0 lead for the Buccaneers.

The Gamecocks plated three runs in the third inning to go ahead 3-2. Cone and Caldwell opened the frame with back-to-back singles and Kyle Martin followed with a base hit to right field that brought home Cone. Max Schrock then ripped a single up the middle to score both Caldwell and Martin. The Buccaneers tied the game at 3-3 in the fourth and then reclaimed the lead, pushing across another run in the sixth.

Box Score

Chad Holbrook

Alex Destino