The University of South Carolina men’s basketball team went on the road last night to face the Florida International Golden Panthers. The Gamecocks were heavy favorites entering the game, and they proved why by dominating every aspect of the game on the way to a 78-61 victory.
Despite having the superior talent, South Carolina struggled early in the game. Whether it was the extended break for the Thanksgiving holiday or playing in an almost empty stadium, something was clearly not right with the Gamecocks. The Golden Panthers led most of the first half, and they actually held an eight-point lead with only five minutes left to play. The Gamecocks finally woke up and used a late push to finish the first half with a slim 38-36 lead.
South Carolina was a completely different team in the second half. They played suffocating defense and near flawless offense throughout most of the half. This great play helped the Gamecocks extend their lead to 22 points in less than seven minutes. Florida International tried to fight back, but the talent disparity was just too much to overcome.
The Gamecocks can thank their starting lineup for the victory last night. Chris Silva led the way with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Everyone else in the starting lineup scored at least seven points. The excellent output from the starting lineup was greatly needed because the entire South Carolina bench only managed to score four points against the Golden Panthers.
The South Carolina Gamecocks now have a 5-1 record, and the team is probably more talented than they were last year. A repeat of last year’s Final Four appearance may be unrealistic, but South Carolina clearly has the talent to beat almost any team in the country this year. The Gamecocks’ next game will take place on Thursday, November 30, when they host the Temple Owls.