South Carolina’s struggles at the foul line and from behind the 3-point line led to its first loss of the season, falling to Boston University 78-70 at Colonial Life Arena, Tuesday. South Carolina (3-1) led by as many as six points late in the first half but were outscored 43-32 in the second half. The Gamecocks hit just 1 of 10 3-pointers after halftime as they saw their advantage slip away and a deficit take its place. For the game, Carolina made just 4 of 22 shots from behind the arc (18%) and 12 of 21 free throws (57%).
A.J. Lawson stood out offensively, leading the Gamecocks with 22 points and a team-high 5 assists. Lawson also tied for the team lead with 7 rebounds. Maik Kotsar and Justin Minaya were also productive, scoring 14 points and 10 points, respectively. Kotsar also tied for the team lead with 7 boards and blocked two shots. But Carolina got precious little bench scoring with the reserves contributing just eight points. Freshmen T.J. Moss, Jermaine Couisnard and Wildens Leveque shot a combined 2 of 17 from the field.
Coach Frank Martin noted inexperience may have played a role his team’s inability to overcome BU, “They’re an old team and they just went at us …. It’s the first time we deal with real adversity, except for dealing with me at practice. We became a really quiet team …. when I talk about immaturity, that’s what I’m talking about. The harder the game got, the louder their players got and the quieter our players got. We have to grow up.”
Lawson’s free throw with 7:05 remaining tied the game at 60, but the Gamecocks were held scoreless for the next 4:52, missing five shots from the field and falling hopelessly behind.
South Carolina’s defense has been a strength through the early part of the schedule, surrendering just 50 points/game during the three-game winning streak. But the Terriers found ways to score consistently down the stretch and guard Javante McCoy scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half to seal the Gamecocks fate.
South Carolina is next in action, Friday, as the Gamecocks will play host to Gardner-Webb at 7 p.m.
Frank Martin postgame press conference
A.J. Lawson and Justin Minaya postgame comments