USC matched, if not bettered, Virginia’s defensive intensity, and played the best offensive game of any of the Cavaliers’ opponents this season, as the Gamecocks upset the 9th ranked defending national champions 70-59 Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville. It was the 50th meeting between the old ACC rivals and the Gamecocks evened the series at 25-25. USC won its second straight game on the road against an ACC team having beaten Clemson last Sunday. Jair Bolden led the Gamecocks with a USC career high of 22 points. The Gamecocks improve to 8-4 this season and have won all three games on opponents’ home floors.
Keys to the Gamecock victory
- The Gamecocks set the pace early building a 23-11 lead midway thru the first half, and they led 33-24 at the break.
- USC held on to it its lead in the early minutes of the second half, but the Cavaliers did make a run and tied the game at 45 with 11:10 to play.
- The Gamecocks, however, did not let the Cavs take the lead and responded with a 5-0 run. Virginia got back to within 51-50 but USC went on a 12-2 run for a 63-52 lead with 4:30 to play.
- Virginia got as close as 7 but did not score over the final 2:15 as USC extended the lead.
- AJ Lawson added 14 points and Justin Minaya added 12, most of it in the second half.
- The Gamecocks shot 54% from the floor while holding Virginia to 44%, and they forced 19 turnovers.
- Final Stats
- Frank Martin postgame press conference
- Tony Bennett postgame press conference