After a tough stretch of games, many teams are due for a trap game. Typically against a team that they don’t see coming, and one that knocks them off their rhythm. Tonight, the Gamecocks of South Carolina were hoping to be that team. Thankfully, Eric Musselman had his team dialed in and ready to go, and they cruised to a win in Columbia, 101-73.
Even without the presence of freshman Jaylin Williams, the Hogs were dominant for a full 40 minutes. This is the Hogs’ tenth SEC win in a row, their first such streak since the 1994 season when they won the NCAA Tournament.
Hogs Get Hot Early
An issue for the team a lot this year has been the lack of ability to start strong and quick, but the Hogs have been handling that issue really well down the stretch. Tonight was no different, as the Hogs put up 49 points before the half, with plenty of scoring from beyond the three-point line. Freshman phenom Moses Moody, who many predict to be drafted in the top 10, dropped a smooth 28 points on 10-15 shooting, including 4-9 from the 3-point line.
The rest of the team followed suit, shooting a solid 55% from the field and 45% from beyond the line. In the first half, the Hogs hit 10 threes and kept South Carolina going on any run to close the gap, and they led by 17 at the break.
Bench Players Play Major Role
A big piece that Razorback fans have been waiting to click has been Desi Sills. Sills suffered a shoulder injury earlier this season and struggled to find time on the floor since returning. He came out strong tonight, finishing with 15 points on 5-8 shooting, all of those makes from beyond the arc.
JD Notae has also come along strong in the last few weeks and was a dominant force both offensively and defensively. He hit shots when they needed it the most and finished with 21 points on 9-16 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. He was everywhere tonight and has recently come on strong for the Hogs.
The Tale of the Tape
South Carolina kept the game close for the first few minutes, but they could not keep up with the Hogs' scoring effort tonight. Around the 10 minute mark of the first half, the Hogs started to pull away, and they went on a 12-4 run to get the lead to double digits.
Coach Musselman’s squad didn’t look back from there, as they played under control offensively and strong defensively. They did seem to turn the ball over at a higher rate, it seemed, finishing the game with 15 turnovers, but they did force 14 turnovers, which helped the Hogs keep the game under wraps with relatively no drama.
Where Do We Go From Here?
For the Hogs, they hope to continue the hot streak through the series finale against Texas A&M on Saturday at Bud Walton Arena. The Aggies haven’t played a game the entire month of February, and this game will be their second after facing Mississippi State on Wednesday. The Aggies are 8-7 overall this season and are 2-6 in the SEC. That game will tip at 4 PM in Fayetteville.
After tonight's loss, South Carolina will look to bounce back in Lexington against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Gamecocks fall to 6-13 on the year and hope to salvage some of their COVID-plagued season. The game against Kentucky will tip-off at 11 AM from Rupp Arena.