Gamecocks get back to winning ways; Dozier’s draft prospects
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Gamecocks back on track
Coming off a disheartening 85-69 loss at Kentucky on Saturday, the Gamecocks got back on the right side of scoreboard Tuesday night — pummeling Auburn, 98-69.
Senior Duane Notice led all scorers with 27 points — going a staggering 6 for 9 beyond the arc. Notice has been on a hot-and-cold streak for much of the season but played out of his mind Tuesday night.
3-Pointers in the First Half
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 25, 2017
The team as a whole shot 57.7 percent from 3-point land — scoring a school-record 15 threes vs. an SEC foe.
“We just tried to run our offense and attack them the ways we spoke about trying to attack them,” said coach Frank Martin on his team’s unconscious three-point shooting. “We’ve got guys on our team that have made shots for us in the past and will continue to make open shots. … Our game plan is to always get to the foul line, not shoot 3s.”
Star point guard PJ Dozier returned to the lineup on Tuesday night … only to quickly pick up two fouls and ride the pine much of the first half.
“He wanted to play. He’s good. There’s nothing structurally wrong, but he hasn’t … five days (since playing),” Martin said of Dozier’s status. “He wanted to play, and he’s earned that opportunity, when he says he can go. … When he came out because of fouls, he kind of stiffened up.”
Speaking of Dozier …
One Two and done?
Dozier’s play has improved tremendously since his freshman campaign in 2015 — so much so that NBA draft buffs have the Gamecocks’ leading scorer slotted as a first-round pick in some of their latest mock drafts …
From SEC Country:
Dozier is averaging 14.6 points per game and shooting 39.4 percent from 3-point range in the 2016-17 season, taking major strides forward from a season ago. The 6-foot-6 Dozier sat out the Gamecocks’ 85-69 loss at Kentucky on Saturday with back spasms, which South Carolina coach Frank Martin said is a first-time issue for Dozier.
Dozier made a handful of key plays for the Gamecocks, who are 15-4 with a 5-1 SEC record. He hit a game-winning shot against Monmouth on a mid-range jumper. The sophomore also came up big with a key drive against Florida last week to help lift the Gamecocks to a 57-53 win over then-No. 19 Florida.
Could this be the sophomore’s last season in Columbia? With Martin bringing in more and more blue-chip talent, having Dozier run the point as an upperclassman would give the Gamecocks some continuity — critical with seniors Thornwell, Notice and Justin McKie all moving on.
Williams heads north
Former Carolina RB David Williams has picked his home for 2017 …
— Dave Williams (@D_will33) January 25, 2017
The former four-star prospect will be heading north to play for coach Randy Edsall in his second stint at UConn.
As a graduate transfer, Williams will be eligible immediately for the Huskies.
The redshirt junior opened the 2016 in new coach Will Muschamp’s doghouse — seeing Williams tumble down the depth chart.
The running back eventually earned his way back on to the field and contributed in ways beyond carrying the ball.
“He found a way to get out of it,” Gamecocks running backs coach Bobby Bentley said. “That’s what you want a young man to do is to respond to his coaching in the right way.”
In case you missed it
— Spurs & Feathers (@SpursFeathers) January 24, 2017
- Eric Wolford’s South Carolina contract approved, salary announced.
- Garnet & Black Attack on the larger implications of Hamsah Nasirildeen’s de-commitment.
- Sports Illustrated lists South Carolina as a ‘lock’ for the NCAA tournament, from The Big Spur.
- Gamecock Central looks at latest Class of 2019 commit for Gamecocks baseball.
McNair gives back
Everyone’s favorite Gamecock, turned real estate mogul, turned NFL owner just topped your lifetime Gamecock Club donations in one day.
Texans owner Bob McNair donated a jaw-dropping $5 million to USC on Tuesday – the majority of which is slated to go toward the new football operations center.
“We are very appreciative of Janice and Bob McNair for their substantial gift towards the new football operations center,” Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “Their many contributions to the University of South Carolina make our institution one of the best in the nation.”
McNair further endeared himself to Carolina fans earlier this season when he posed with former players (and current Texans) Jadeveon Clowney and Jonathan Joseph after a game …
— jadeveon clowney 7 (@clownejd) December 26, 2016
DiMarco gets mic’d up
More from your REIGNING … DEFENDING (h/t Bruce Buffer) Gamecocks World Champ, Pat DiMarco.
The former Gamecock was mic’d up during the NFC Championship game on Sunday.
DiMarco’s post-game comments gave us what I now consider an iconic line: “We’re going to Houston!”
It should be noted that this was probably the first time in history anyone’s uttered those words with genuine excitement …