Keyshawn Bryant missed the first five games of the season for USC men’s basketball while serving a suspension due to a violation of athletics department policy. On Sunday, the senior made his return to the lineup and tossed in seventeen points to help rally the Gamecocks past Rider 65-58 at Colonial Life Arena. After scoring just six points in nine minutes of playing time in the opening half, Bryant helped USC surge to its 5th win of the season with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in the second stanza.
The opening half was far from a thing of beauty as the Gamecocks turned the ball over nine times and shot just 39% from the field. The Broncs (3-5) were actually worse from the floor (34%), but protected the ball enough to hold a 28-25 advantage at halftime. Allen Powell led the visitors with seven 1st half points, ultimately finishing the game with eleven. Dwight Murray gave the Gamecocks fits, recording a team-high fifteen points and finishing with eight rebounds. Dimencio Vaughn narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points and ten rebounds.
Aside from Bryant’s solid debut, USC had two other players score in double-figures as Jermaine Couisnard finished with 13, while Erik Stevenson added 10. However, the Washington transfer struggled from three-point range against the Broncs. After hitting eight-of-his last twelve in wins over UAB and Wofford, Stevenson was just 2-of-7 from distance on Sunday. Head coach Frank Martin also mentioned in his postgame presser that Couisnard “tweaked” a groin. Adding that he wasn’t sure the severity of Cousianard’s injury immediately following the game.
USC (5-1) takes its four-game winning streak to the “Grand Strand” on Wednesday for a 7pm tipoff at Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are 2-2 on the season after finishing second in this past week’s Baha Mar Hoops Nassau Championship in the Bahamas. The mid-week tilt will mark the first time that Carolina has ever played in Conway.