#Gamecocks get off on wrong foot with season opening 78-62 loss to Liberty (AUDIO)

Jermaine Couisnard applies defensive pressure in the loss to Liberty (Gamecock Athletics)

Blame it on too much turkey. Blame it on the football coaching search. Blame it on Liberty being better than most know. A season with high expectations within the USC program got off to a bumbling start with a 78-62 loss to Liberty in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City. The Gamecocks shot just 39% from the floor, including 3-17 from three, while the Flames hit 56% of their shots and were 11-26 behind the line.

The Gamecocks strailed 15-14 when the Flames went on an 18-4 run to lead 33-18 with 4:29 left in the half. It was 43-26 at the half. The Gamecocks could not mount a second half run as they got no closer than 14 points over the final 20 minutes.

The one bright spot for USC was rebounding. The Gamecocks won the boards 33-26, including 16 offensive rebounds that led to 13 second chance points. The Gamecocks also scored 30 points in the paint.

AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks in scoring with 12 points. Jermaine Couisnard and Keyshawn Bryant had 10 each. Bryant also led the team with 7 rebounds.

USC will face either Tulsa or TCU at 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon.

Frank Martin postgame press conference

AJ Lawson postgame press conference

Final Stats

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