Gamecocks use team effort to knock off Morgan State

South Carolina (2-0) defeated Morgan State (1-3) 87-71 on Friday night in non-conference action at Colonial Life Arena.

Five Gamecocks scored double figures in the match, led by senior guard LaShay Page who scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down five rebounds.

South Carolina junior guards Eric Smith, Brenton Williams and Brian Richardson added 17, 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Gamecocks. Junior forward R.J. Slawson put up 10 points and brought down seven rebounds and senior forward Lakeem Jackson notched eight points and eight rebounds.

Every South Carolina player that registered significant minutes tallied at least two boards in the effort as the Gamecocks out-rebounded the Bears 35-22. South Carolina was without freshman forward Michael Carrera, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, due to a concussion.

Two junior guards led the Morgan State effort, Justin Black, who scored 20 points and Anthony Hubbard with 15. Senior forward DeWayne Jackson added 11 on the night. The Bear’s leading rebounder was junior center Ian Chiles who came down with five.

Morgan State jumped out to an early lead by capitalizing on chances in transition. The Bears built up a seven-point advantage early in the first half, but could not pull away.

After chipping away at the Morgan State lead, South Carolina tied the game at 22-22. Page ignited a run by jumping on a loose ball and calling timeout to give South Carolina possession. Williams drained a 3-pointer coming out of the timeout to spur a 16-5 Gamecock run. Page added another three and a pair of free throws in the spurt to give the home team an 11-point lead.

The Bears responded with a 10-2 run of their own to pull within three, but could not get any closer. The teams went into the locker room with South Carolina holding a 45-41 advantage.

Coming out of the break, Morgan State pulled within one at 45-44 on a three-point play by Hubbard, but the Gamecocks responded with six unanswered points that included back-to-back buckets by Slawson to firmly take the lead.

South Carolina built a 12-point lead midway through the second half and went 9-9 from the free throw line down the stretch to maintain their lead and cruise to a 87-71 win.

The Gamecocks are back in action at Colonial Life Arena at 7 p.m. on Mon., Nov. 19, when they take on Rider. The game is a part of the Hoops for Hope Classic and is scheduled to be broadcast on SportSouth.

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