South Carolina got off to a great 5-0 start in SEC play this season, but Frank Martin and the Gamecocks dropped their first game in conference Saturday.
Kentucky, the No. 5-ranked team, downed the No. 24 Gamecocks 85-69 at Rupp Arena. See what coach Frank Martin had to say afterward:
On PJ Dozier’s absence hurting defensively: “You’re talking about a 6-6 guy that knows how to defend. The bigger problem is now you’re playing a lot of inexperienced guys at Rupp Arena against the No. 5 team in the country, that is high-powered offensively in front of 25,000 people.”
On Derek Willis’ success for Kentucky: “Willis always gets us. … My big guys didn’t play well today. They were bad yesterday in practice. I’m not trying to say we gave them open shots, he made a couple tough ones. Give that kid credit. Upperclassman making plays to help his team. … But I knew we were not going to be defensively any good today. We picked the wrong team to be bad on defense against.”
On having a bad Friday practice: “It’s the first time all year that we weren’t any good. One thing I can say about our team this year is since the summer, they have come in and they have competed. They force each other to work.”
On Sindarius Thornwell (34 points) stepping up with Dozier out: “Sin’s a winner. He’s a winner. He loves the big stage, he loves to compete and he loves to play. He loves to play within our structure and not just go out there and do whatever he wants to do. 90 percent of what he did today was through our structure. He understands it so well that he is extremely aggressive in it.”
On Rakym Felder’s first start: “He was nervous. It is what it is. He settled down and played better in the second half. Like freshmen, they get wrapped up in the moment. He had some missed assignments on offense. Once he settled down, he played better. I thought he was really nervous early in the game.”