Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more.
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Gamecocks top Gators
The No. 24 Gamecocks (15-3, 5-0) got arguably their biggest win of Frank Martin’s tenure on Wednesday night as they toppled No. 19 Florida, 57-53.
This marked Carolina’s first win against a ranked team as a ranked team since 1998. Seriously.
In what could be described as either a defensive masterpiece or offensively challenged rock fight, the Gamecocks and Gators combined to go 34 of 105 from the field. Florida led by a score of just 28-21 at halftime.
“Sindarius Thornwell waited to play a game like this his entire career. The South Carolina senior wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass him by,” wrote the AP’s Pete Iacobelli.
The Gamecocks’ senior guard led all scorers with 20 points.
Carolina’s 5-0 stretch to open conference play has helped ease the pain of the three losses suffered during Thornwell’s absence. Win Saturday at No. 5 Kentucky and no one will remember those three losses in December.
Florida is the first Major Conference team to go 0-17 from 3 since since TTU went 0-21 in 2014 pic.twitter.com/XR2me979rQ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 19, 2017
Martin on the win
The magnitude of the victory wasn’t lost on Martin, neither was the number of media present …
Frank Martin opened his presser wishing media would show up more often: “I wonder where all of you were at the other games of the season."
— Mike Wilson (@MikeWilsonAJC) January 19, 2017
The Gamecocks head coach heaped praise on his leaders, Thornwell and PJ Dozier, while also applauding the courage of his younger players. As evidenced by the score, defense was key in this game.
“Real good win. Real good win. They’re real good. I was watching them on film and I had no idea how we were going to score. None. I was hoping we would be effective with our defense and create some open-court opportunities,” Martin told reporters after the game. “We guarded them but just could never get to the open-court. We were in foul trouble, both teams were in foul trouble … real proud of our guys.”
That crowd, tho
— Gamecock Athletics (@GamecocksOnline) January 19, 2017
18,000 strong and you could hear every single one of them on TV.
What an absolutely incredible showing by Carolina fans — especially in a midweek game, tipping off at just 6:30 p.m. local time.
“Our students answered the bell. I said it … we need our students there early and loud and to go absolutely bonkers. They did it,” Martin said of the CLA crowd. “They were early, they were loud and they didn’t disengage from the game. … The crowd was great.”
You know the massive crowd was especially meaningful for Thornwell, an S.C. native in his fourth season in the program.
Man thank you to everybody that supported us tonight to the students and the gamecock fans thank you for a great atmosphere #securethebag
— sindarius thornwell (@Sin_City_803) January 19, 2017
National reaction to Gamecocks’ win
Not only did the Gamecocks knock off a conference foe, they scored their biggest win of the season …
South Carolina beats Florida by split decision in Columbia. Best win that the Gamecocks have had. Still undefeated with Sindarius Thornwell.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 19, 2017
Carolina’s conference win streak hasn’t gone unnoticed …
GAMECOCKS STILL PERFECT in the SEC!
No. 24 South Carolina hands No. 19 Florida its first conference blow, 57-53. pic.twitter.com/5v5PTOs546
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 19, 2017
Are we a “basketball school” now?
— Bell Bibs DeVoe (@MBibs) January 19, 2017
Xavier Thomas updates status
Word of Marion Hobby’s departure from Clemson will shake up things for 5-star defensive end Xavier Thomas, and that could be good news for South Carolina.
The 5-star 2018 defensive end noted that Hobby leaving CU would most definitely affect his recruitment.
While we’ve already seen Thomas go to bat for the Gamecocks on Twitter, this latest update could be even better news for USC’s standing with the 2018 prospect.
Thomas closed out Wednesday by posting the tweet below. Has the decision already been made? Is it time to start wildly speculating and overanalyzing? Maybe and maybe.
Won't be posting anything else on my twitter about recruitment period until I make my decision. ✌?
— Xavier Thomas 1️⃣9️⃣ (@atxlete) January 19, 2017
In case you missed it
Don't look now but will Muschamp up to something and he has a QB!! It's going to be an interesting convo about this next season https://t.co/h2ZOLz57nQ
— Marcus Spears (@mspear96) January 19, 2017
- Who were South Carolina’s true freshman impact players in 2016?
- Former South Carolina star Rod Wilson hired by Furman.
- The Big Spur looks at WR Terry Googer’s off-the-field role as a recruiter.
- Garnet & Black Attack previews early enrollee LB MJ Webb’s impact.
- Gamecock Central asks, ‘Is Carolina’s NCAA drought over?‘
- Allisha Gray does her best to fill the void left by superstar forward A’ja Wilson’s absence, from The Post and Courier.
— Bobby Bentley (@bobbybentley) January 19, 2017
Not that the Gamecocks are short on good vibes Thursday, but let’s not forget an overlooked USC-over-UF game from yesteryear: Zam Fredrick’s buzzer-beating layup to beat the Gators, 70-69, in 2009.