Gamecocks top S.C. State to cap sweep of in-state foes

South Carolina completed a sweep of the five in-state opponents on its schedule — and remained perfect against South Carolina State — with an easy 79-51 home win Tuesday.

The Gamecocks (8-6) have won all 18 meetings against the Bulldogs — all at home — including blowouts by 35 and 28 points the past two seasons.

S.C. State (4-10) has lost eight straight, including all seven games on the road trip it wrapped up Tuesday. The Bulldogs had a rough shooting night all around, going 18-of-52 (34.6 percent) from the field, 3-of-15 (20 percent) from 3-point range and 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) from the line.

South Carolina, which opens Southeastern Conference play Saturday against Kentucky, has won six of its past seven. The most recent one was never in doubt. The Gamecocks scored 10 of the first 12 points and never trailed. They pushed the lead to 16-6 on R.J. Slawson’s 3-pointer with 14:21 left in the half and didn’t let it dip into single digits again.

All 12 players who saw action for South Carolina scored, led by Malik Cooke and Damontre Harris with 11 apiece.

The 79 points were a season-high for the Gamecocks, who have topped 70 points in consecutive games after doing so only once previously — in the opener against Western Carolina.

Leading scorer Brandon Riley was held well below his average of 18.6 points for S.C. State, managing only four on 2-of-10 shooting. Luka Radovic scored 15 to lead the Bulldogs.

The Gamecocks improved to 21-1 all-time against current schools in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The lone loss was to Coppin State in the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

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