Charlotte, NC: In a renewal of old Metro Conference rivals, Myles Stute scored 21 points and B.J. Mack chipped in 19, as South Carolina defeated Virginia Tech 79-77 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte as part of the “Hall of Fame Series”. The victory also handed USC head coach Lamont Paris his 100th career win, one day shy of his birthday.
Mack notched the game-winning bucket with :20 remaining before the Gamecocks forced a held ball on the Hokies’ final trip down the floor to regain possession and hold on for the win. USC improves to 2-0 on the season and will face VMI on Monday night in Columbia. It’s the first meeting between the former conference foes since the Gamecocks scored a 74-73 victory in December of 1997. Ironically, that game was also in Charlotte as part of the old Pepsi Challenge.
Carolina led 38-31 at halftime thanks to solid outside shooting and terrific defense. USC was 6-of-11 from three-point range in the opening twenty minutes, sparked by Stute, who was three-of-four from distance to lead the Gamecocks with 13 points. However, it was Carolina’s work on the other end of the floor that built the lead, as the Gamecocks limited Virginia Tech to just 37% shooting from the field and 2-of-14 from three in the opening half.
Trailing 13-8 four minutes into the game, USC went on a 14-2 run, holding the Hokies without a field goal for six and a half minutes as the Gamecocks built their advantage to as much as ten in the first half.
Virginia Tech (1-1) was led by Sean Pedulla, who tallied a career-high 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Both teams were terrific from the field, as the Gamecocks finished the game shooting 56% (31 of 55), while the Hokies were 26 of 52 from the floor for an even 50%. USC outrebounded VT 30-23, with Mack grabbing six boards to go along with his 19 points.