December 06, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Something's clicked the past few games for Duane Notice and it's led to success for South Carolina.

Notice had 20 points, his fourth straight game in double digits, as the Gamecocks ended cold-shooting Oklahoma State's perfect start to the season with a 75-49 victory Saturday.

Notice had a career high 27 points in South Carolina's win at Marshall on Monday night. He and fellow guards Sindarius Thornwell and Tyrone Johnson locked down the Cowboy's high-scoring backcourt to hold Oklahoma State to its fewest points in five seasons.

Notice, who was slowed almost a month of preseason practice with mono, believes he's back to his fearless, aggressive self on the floor.

''From a confidence standpoint, I can't get too high or too low,'' he said. ''I can't get complacent. I've just got to keep going.''

When Notice does, it's usually good news for the Gamecocks (5-3). They've won their past three, all with Notice in double figures.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin said Notice had progressed strongly in the offseason until the illness set him back. Once Notice returned to the court, he wasn't the take-charge leader he'd been previously. Things changed, Martin said, in South Carolina's 1-2 showing at the Charleston Classic last month.

''Something clicked,'' Martin said. ''Duane said, `Enough of this standing-around, unaggressive play.'''

That's obvious the past two weeks and essential to beating the Cowboys (7-1) for the first non-Southeastern Conference win against an opponent from a Power Five league in Martin's three seasons.

The Gamecocks (5-3) used a 20-4 run midway through the second half to take control in the Big 12/SEC Challenge game.

After Anthony Hickey's basket drew Oklahoma State to 37-32, Demetrius Henry and Notice hit jumpers to start the surge. Johnson had 8 points in the decisive stretch, including a pair of three-point plays - the last which put the Gamecocks up 57-36 with 11:56 remaining.

The Cowboys, averaging better than 79 points a game this year, finished with their lowest output in five seasons. Leading scorers Phil Forte III and Le'Bryan Nash were a combined 5 of 29 shooting for 18 points, less than half the 37.6 they had put up so far this season.

''We were playing well'' coming in, Cowboys coach Travis Ford said. ''But they took us out of some of the things we wanted to do.''

Nash had 13 points.

Johnson and Sindarius Thornwell had 13 points each for South Carolina. Mindaugas Kacinas had nine points and 12 rebounds.

The Cowboys finished 16 of 65 shooting, a .246 percentage. It was their fewest points since losing to Texas 61-48 on Jan. 26, 2011.

Oklahoma State came in as one of the Big 12's highest scoring and best shooting teams, averaging 79.4 points a game and making 48.8 percent of its shots to trail only Iowa State in that category.

But the Cowboys were ice cold against South Carolina.

Forte, coming off a career high 32 points in an 87-61 victory over North Texas, was just 1 of 8 from the field. His teammates fared almost as poorly, Oklahoma State making only eight of 31 shots the first 20 minutes - and just four of 21 attempts inside the arc.

Forte had just 5 points and made only one of his 14 shots.

LONG LAYOFF

South Carolina coach Frank Martin is itching to keep playing, but instead the Gamecocks are off almost two weeks for exams before playing rival Clemson on Dec. 19. Martin quipped that if any of the media saw his scheduler around, ''tell him he's fired.''

MISSED SHOTS

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford hadn't seen his team miss that many shots in a long time. Ford graciously credited South Carolina's defense, but still struggled to find something good to take away from the Cowboys' first loss this season. ''There aren't many positives out there for us,'' he said.

TIP INS

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys offense is working well so far. They lead the Big 12 Conference - and are ninth nationally - in scoring margin. They're second in league 3-pointers made per game and third in points scored.

South Carolina: Junior forward Michael Carrera missed the past two games with a concussion and did not play again vs. Oklahoma State. Carrera is averaging seven points and four rebounds this season.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma State is at Memphis on Dec. 13.

South Carolina is home against rival Clemson on Dec. 19.

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