The USC basketball team might have played its best game of the season against Ohio State Saturday, but it still wasn’t enough to spring the upset against the second ranked Buckeyes. Ohio State overcame three point half time deficit to win 74-66 before an announced crowd of 13,654 fans at Colonial Life Arena. More than half of the fans in attendance were cheering for Ohio State, essentially creating a home court advantage in Columbia for the Buckeyes.
For Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn it was another step forward for a team that is still trying to find stable ground. Horn said his players were disappointed because they thought this was a game they could take from the Buckeyes.
“We did not come in here just to play good and hope we looked alight,” Horn said. “We came to win the game and we didn’t do that. That part of it is extremely disappointing.”
Horn declined to say if he had ever been a part of a game in which the home fans were outnumbered by the visitors, opting instead to praise the atmosphere in the arena. He did mention he would like to see more Garnet and Black in the stands.
“I thought it was a great college basketball atmosphere,” Horn said. Without question, it was good numbers and I thought that made for good energy and good atmosphere. Would we rather have more people at our home games? Yeah we would, without question. We are going to keep doing what we are doing, which is get better and continuing to fight and hopefully they will come out.”
Malik Cooke led Carolina with 21 points. Anthony Gill scored 11 and Bruce Ellington added eight.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta was very complimentary of USC, saying he thinks the Gamecocks are very close to turning the corner with their program. He was also breathing a sigh of relief, not only for avoiding the upset, but to get word the foot injury to All-American Jared Sullinger was not serious. Sullinger left in the first half with the injury and did not return.
USC drops to 4-6 this season. Ohio State improves to 10-1.