Chatkevicius, Notice lead South Carolina over Lipscomb 92-76
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina coach Frank Martin was worried about playing Lipscomb the day after Thanksgiving. The Gamecocks were coming off an impressive performance in winning the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands and after two days of subpar practices, Martin was even more concerned.
''I'm relieved it's over and that we found a way to win,'' Martin said. ''They're a pretty good basketball team and for the first time all year, we embarrassing in practice the last two days. With that said, we scored 92 on a day we weren't very good.''
Even the players agreed with Martin's assessment.
''Practices were kind of slow and it took time for us to get our momentum going practice,'' Chatkevicius said. ''It was obvious in the beginning of the game. It was a hard start.''
The Gamecocks improved to 6-0 for the first time since 2003-04 when they started 8-0, the last time South Carolina made the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina won the Paradise Jam over the weekend, and this is the best start in four years under Martin.
The Gamecocks shot over 50 percent for the third straight game by connecting on 51.5 percent (34-for-66) from the field. Mindaugas Kacinas added 15 points, Michael Carrera chipped in 13 points while Chris Silva scored 12 and PJ Dozier 11 for South Carolina.
South Carolina established the lead during a 9-0 run in the first half that was sparked by a technical on Lipscomb guard Josh Williams for yelling at Michael Carrera after a blocked shot. The Gamecocks scored five straight before the technical on a three-point play by Carrera and a breakaway dunk by PJ Dozier.
Carrera made both technical free throws and Dozier added a jumper to give South Carolina a 26-19 lead.
Lipscomb (3-5) kept it close by connecting on 8 of its first 13 three-point attempts. But South Carolina switched to zone and limited them to 5-of-22 over the final 18 minutes.
''We paid more attention to detail,'' Notice said. ''One of their staples was half of their shots are three-pointers. We were careless at the beginning of the game but we paid more attention to detail in the second half.''
Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander said South Carolina switching to a zone affected his team.
''It changes the rhythm of what we try to do,'' he said. ''That came during the period of when we were making shots. Playing zone changed the rhythm on offense.''
But it was still a five-point game, 62-57 until South Carolina went on an 18-3 run with just over ten minutes remaining to stretch the lead to 76-60. Silva scored six points and Notice added five during the run.
Josh Williams led the Bisons with 21 points.
Lipscomb: The Bisons came in tied with Milwaukee for most three-pointers made. They connected on 13 against the Gamecocks and had all of their points come on points in the paint (28), three-pointers (39) or free throws (9).
South Carolina: South Carolina has five players averaging in double figures and has at least three players score at least 10 points in all six games this season. The past three games, they've combined to have 16 players in double figures. That has allowed the Gamecocks to average 85.5 points per game.
Lipscomb plays at Belmont on Tuesday night.
South Carolina plays Monday night at home against Western Carolina.