Gamecocks hold off UMass
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - A.J. Lawson scored 24 points, Jermaine Couisnard added 16 and six assists and South Carolina held off Massachusetts 84-80 in its first true road game of the season on Wednesday night.
South Carolina (6-3) won five of its first six in Columbia, but lost both neutral site games in the Cancun Challenge in late November before returning home to beat George Washington 74-65 on Sunday.
At UMass, Keyshawn Bryant contributed 13 points while Gamecocks senior Malik Kotsar grabbed nine rebounds and scored nine points, ending his career-best run of double-figure scoring games at five.
Tre Mitchell led the Minutemen with 17 points, Sean East II had 16 and T.J. Weeks 15. Carl Pierre added 15 points and nine rebounds.
UMass (5-4) lost its fourth in a row after opening the season with five straight wins. The Minutemen haven't beaten a Southeastern Conference opponent since a 72-62 victory over Georgia on Dec. 16, 2017.
After recovering from a slow start to lead 39-35 at halftime, the Gamecocks struggled to separate from the Minutemen for most of period two.
Sy Chatman's layup with 13:53 remaining capped a 7-0 run to give UMass its last lead at 50-47 before Jalyn McCreary's jumper and four straight points from Couisnard restored South Carolina's lead. Samba Diallo's 3-pointer for UMass tied the game at 61 with 8:44 left before a Lawson layup at 8:29 gave the Gamecocks the lead for good. Lawson's trey with 2:40 to play capped a 17-6 surge to push the lead to 11.
UMass responded with a 13-4 run to pull within two on Pierre's desperation 3 with 6.2 seconds left, but Lawson hit both free throws to seal it. The Gamecocks led by four after closing the first half on a 31-19 run.
Weeks scored eight of UMass' first 16 as the Minutemen built an early eight-point lead. The Gamecocks looked out of rhythm early with Lawson's missed 3 and turnovers on three of their first four possessions. Lawson's floater capped a 10-0 run to give South Carolina its first lead at 20-19 with 6:37 left in the first. He scored eight straight over a three-minute span and all but two of his 13 first-half points in the final 8:15 of the period.
It was the third-ever meeting between South Carolina and UMass and the first in Amherst.
Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Sunday when it will host Houston for a noon game. Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Daymeon Fishback (analyst) will have the call for the ESPNU broadcast against the Cougars.
Late surge sends
USC-Aiken over Claflin
AIKEN – USC-Aiken outscored Claflin University 18-5 over the final eight minutes en route to defeating the Panthers 78-64 on Wednesday at the Convocation Center.
The loss dropped Claflin to 2-6 heading into this Friday’s home contest against Savannah State University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Center (Tullis Arena).
In Aiken, Donnell Frayer, Jr. led the Panthers in scoring with 15 points, including 3 three-pointers. Letrell West and Romero Hill added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Rodney Prichard finished just shy of a double-double for Claflin, with nine points and nine rebounds, while Devin Smith contributed nine points in the loss.
Shaquan Jules led USC-Aiken, now 3-5, with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Clemson women fall to Iowa
IOWA CITY, IOWA – Thanks in large part to 28 assists on 30 made baskets and 24 points for Monika Czinano, Iowa downed Clemson, 74-60, on Wednesday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The win moves the Hawkeyes to 6-2 on the year, while the loss drops the Tigers to 3-6.
Kobi Thornton paced the Tigers in her first start of the season with 17 points and five rebounds, while Kendall Spray finished with 12, including 4-7 from three. Amari Robinson was the only other Tiger in double figures with 11 and five rebounds.
Clemson is back in action on Sunday, welcoming No. 8 Florida State to Littlejohn Coliseum for a noon matchup on RSN.