COLONIAL LIFE ARENA: What. A. Finish! A back-and-forth second half to the first of the November rivalry games was capped off by a turnaround jumper right before the buzzer, with the Gamecocks finding a way to overcome the Tigers 60-58 in Columbia, Friday. Clemson’s Brevin Galloway tied the game at 58 with 7 seconds remaining, but Chico Carter raced down the floor, knocking down the game-winner with .8 seconds left on the clock, sending the energetic crowd into a frenzy.
The first somewhat stunning news of the night came when Clemson star PJ Hall checked into the ballgame at the 15-minute mark of the first half. This came just three days after Brad Brownell told the press he still had no timetable for Hall’s return, but that he hoped he would play at some point in November. USC coach Lamont Paris noted postgame that Hall looked as if he had been playing for months, and that he put in a tremendous performance for having not played in so long. Hall led the Tigers with 15 points and 5 rebounds, in just twenty-two minutes of play.
The other somewhat stunning storyline was that the Gamecocks outrebounded Clemson 50-32, and dominated the offensive glass 19-9, nearly an exact reversal from last year’s ballgame. Most notably, with just over three minutes left in regulation, the Gamecocks recorded five offensive boards in one possession, culminating with an “and-1” from Josh Gray. Clemson’s coach Brownell was frustrated postgame, admitting they had no answer to the Gamecocks on the boards, especially on the offensive side.
Last month, Coach Paris told the media that he expected his defensive scheme to be the toughest aspect of his system for his team to figure out, but he was very complimentary of their performance tonight. Clemson runs multiple cross-screen actions offensively, and Paris noted that he was proud of how his guys were able to pick up on those after not having yet faced such action. He was also proud of the effort on the glass, noting that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
Offensively, a pair of Columbia natives led the way for the Gamecocks. Chico Carter (Cardinal Newman) posted 16 pts on 6-9 shooting (4-6 from three), and heralded freshman GG Jackson (Ridge View) finished with 12 pts and 8 rebounds. Josh Gray was a key contributor off the bench, collecting 10 rebounds and scoring 6 pts in just 19 minutes of action.
South Carolina (2-0) is off until next Thursday, when they face Colorado State in Columbia at 5 pm on ESPNU. Clemson (1-1) looks to bounce back Tuesday night when they welcome Upstate into Littlejohn at 7 pm on ESPN+.