Ellington can’t stop slide as Providence tops Gamecocks

South Carolina finally welcomed two-way athlete Bruce Ellington back to the basketball court, but the star guard is apparently still in football mode, scoring only six points on 3-of-11 shooting on Thursday night.

Five Providence players scored in double figures, and the Friars held off South Carolina 76-67 on Thursday at Colonial Life Arena, their second consecutive road win after waiting nearly two years between road victories.

The Friars (6-2) had not won a road game since January 2010 before a victory at Fairfield on Nov. 14. This one was never really in doubt. Providence trailed briefly in the first minute and never again, as South Carolina (2-5) shot a paltry 36.1 percent from the field, including 6 of 30 from 3-point range.

South Carolina finally heated up for a brief stretch midway through the second half, pulling within 51-47. But Bryce Cotton’s four-point play pushed the Friars’ lead back to double digits, and the Gamecocks never got closer than seven again.

Freshman LaDontae Henton led the Friars’ balanced attack with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Vincent Council added 16 points and six assists. Gerard Coleman scored 16 points, Cotton added 15 and Bilal Dixon had a big game off the bench with 10 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks.

Malik Cooke scored a game-high 21 points for South Carolina, which has lost five of six contests.

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