COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Bruce Ellington and Damien Leonard combined to make nine of South Carolina's season-high 11 3-pointers to lead the Gamecocks to a 57-45 victory over Wofford on Wednesday night.
Ellington scored a season-high 17 points in just his sixth game of the season and Leonard added 14 off the bench to pace South Carolina to its fourth victory in the last five games. The Gamecocks (6-6) lost five of their previous six before clawing back to .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the season.Ellington was 5 of 6 from the 3-point line while Leonard was 4 of 6. South Carolina finished 11 of 20 from beyond the arc."We took good shots," South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. "It was good to see Bruce find his shooting touch. Damien comes in off the bench cold and knocks down two 3-pointers real quick. It was nice to see us move the ball around and get the open shot."Ellington will be leaving for Orlando, Fla., on Thursday morning to rejoin the South Carolina football team. The Gamecocks are scheduled to play Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on January 2. Ellington will miss Saturday's basketball game with South Carolina-Upstate, but will return for the Gamecocks' contest against South Carolina State on January 3.Last year, Ellington, a sophomore, was South Carolina's leading scorer when he didn't participate in football. But he decided to join the football team after a stellar prep career and was the Gamecocks' fourth leading receiver and primary kick returner for most the season. He is second on the football team with 707 all-purpose yards.In his first five basketball games, Ellington had struggled to find his shooting range and he was held to two points in the last two games. But Ellington found his stroke early against the Terriers and added three rebounds and an assist in 25 minutes."I was trying to focus on getting the scoring back but the coaches told me to stop focusing on that and focus on getting everybody better and defending the ball," Ellington said. "I worked on that and my offense came."The Gamecocks received 40 points from their reserves while the Terriers (7-6) only had two bench points. South Carolina needed all those points off the bench since leading scorers Malik Cooke and Anthony Gill combined to score five points on 2-of-14 shooting."I thought we had total team effort," Horn said. "It was really good to see our production from our bench. There are a lot of positives we can take from this game."The Gamecocks held a 29-21 lead at the half, but the Terriers opened the second half on a 9-2 run to pull within a point. That was as close as Wofford would get in the second half. Lakeem Jackson made consecutive layups and R.J. Slawson made a 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring to push the lead back to 38-30.The Terriers had a nearly five-minute scoring lapse and never got closer than four points the rest of the way.Karl Cochran led Wofford with 12 points. Leading scorer Kevin Giltner added 10 but he was 4 of 14 from the field and 2 of 10 from the 3-point line.