If South Carolina was fatigued after its loss to Kentucky in Lexington, the Gamecocks didn’t show it against Auburn on Tuesday night.
Frank Martin’s team, led by Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice, started and ended the night by drilling 3-pointers. As the Gamecocks built on their commanding lead, Auburn struggled to make strides on both ends of the floor.
Freshman Anfernee McLemore scored a career-high 18 points and Austin Wiley put together another impressive effort, but the two posts didn’t have much help outside of point guard Jared Harper (12 points).
No. 23 South Carolina soared to a season-high 98 points and sent the Tigers off with perhaps the most disappointing loss of the season.
Player of the game
Wiley was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday morning and Bruce Pearl didn’t let his 6-foot-11 center forget it at that afternoon’s practice. The head coach teased Wiley during scouting, playfully challenging him to put together solid efforts in consecutive games.
After he scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds against Alabama, Wiley recorded his first career double-double (almost in the firs half) in Columbia.
Even more impressive than Wiley’s numbers against the Gamecocks was his poise. Wiley’s teammates came out looking sluggish and quickly grew frustrated. The newcomer (we probably have to stop calling him that, at this point) however, came out aggressive and focused and remained dialed until the finish.
Though McLemore scored more points, Auburn wouldn’t have been in the game at all without Wiley’s dominance down low at times in the first half.
Stat of the game
58% 3FG (15-of-26) for South Carolina
The Gamecocks were outstanding from behind the arc against Auburn on Tuesday night. Veteran guards Thornwell (22 points) and Notice (27 points) teamed up and capitalized on open looks, making Auburn pay for its poor perimeter defense.
With more than six minutes remaining on the game clock, South Carolina had scored 82 points — their highest total through SEC play thus far.
Martin’s team would finish with 98 points, handing the Tigers their worst-ever loss to the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks had a problem missing from downtown in the first half, connecting on 10 of 16 of their 3-point attempts.
Four of those first-half strikes were from Sindarius Thornwell, but the most deflating make came from Duane Notice (27 points, 6-for-9 3FG). The senior guard nailed his fourth 3-pointer with just 5 seconds left on the clock, sending South Carolina into half time with a 21-point lead.
Though Auburn played better at times through the second half, and the Gamecocks cooled off, the final 3-pointer of the first 20 minutes appeared to give South Carolina momentum (and a lead) which carried Martin’s team through the rest of the night.
What’s next for Auburn basketball
Auburn will get a quick breather from SEC play as the Tigers travel to Forth Worth, Texas to play TCU in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
Over the last three years the Horned Frogs have defeated Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee, remaining undefeated in the challenge. TCU and Auburn have met three times before, with TCU winning the last matchup in 1996 by a 20-point margin.
So far this season, playing at home been advantageous for the Horned Frogs (11-2), but TCU has come up short in its last three conference games. Vladimir Brodziansky, a 6-foot-11 forward from Slovakia, leads the Horned Frogs with 13.8 points per game.
Auburn basketball vs. South Carolina box score