COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Guard Rocky Trice scored 13 of his
career-high 18 points in a near-perfect first half as South
Carolina defeated Winthrop 68-54 Wednesday night before an
announced crowd of 7,053 at the Colonial Center.
Trice missed just one shot in the first half, hitting his first
four field goals -- including two of his career-best three
3-pointers on the night -- along with three straight free throws
after being fouled behind the 3-point arc.
Trice's second 3-pointer gave South Carolina (6-2) a 25-13 lead
with 6:16 left, the Gamecocks' biggest lead of the first half. The
3-pointer also allowed the senior to eclipse his career high of 12
set 11 days earlier against Clemson in South Carolina's last game
before a break for final exams.
After South Carolina went up by 12, Winthrop (4-2) closed within
27-22 with 3:55 left on back-to-back 3-pointers by Michael Jenkins
and a three-point play by James Shuler. But the Gamecocks outscored
the Eagles 8-2 -- Tarence Kinsey hit two straight buckets -- to take
a 35-24 lead at halftime.
The game was South Carolina's first since an 82-63 loss at
Clemson on Dec. 3.
"I don't know when the last time was we prepared that long and
that hard for one game," South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. "We
had exam week academically, but we also had exam week
basketball-wise. We called our players out and they answered the
call tonight. We certainly understand that we beat a very good team
that did not play their best game."
South Carolina hit 56 percent of its shots while Winthrop made
just 28 percent. For the game, the Gamecocks shot 55.3 percent
while the Eagles shot a season-worst 33.3 percent while being held
to a season-low in points.
The Gamecocks outscored the Eagles 9-5 to start the second half
and push their lead to 44-29 on a fastbreak layup by Renaldo
Balkman as Winthrop hit just one of its first five shots to
continue its shooting woes.
The Eagles never got closer than 11 after that while South
Carolina stretched its lead to 64-45 with 4:56 left on back-to-back
3-pointers by Tre Kelley and Trice.
Winthrop was led by Craig Bradshaw, who tied his career high
with 19 points and his season high with eight rebounds. Kinsey
added 16 points and Balkman 12 for the Gamecocks.
Winthrop, which lost 60-57 at Alabama on Dec. 3 in its last
game, is now 0-5 against USC and 1-15 against Southeastern
"They were just in another gear tonight," Winthrop coach Gregg
Marshall said. "The shots they didn't block they altered. We could
never get much of a rhythm. We were hesitant."