Live from Gardner-Webb at South Carolina basketball (11/26)
The Southeastern Conference has a "blogging policy" now, so I'll only be able to post five times per half, once at halftime and twice per overtime period if we go to OT tonight. Game time is 7 p.m., so look for the first game update shortly after that.
The Gamecocks and Runnin' Bulldogs are out on the court shooting around, and about to get a bite to eat here in the media room.
Here's a quick advance of the game from Tuesday's edition of The Star ...
GWU to face South CarolinaTonight (Tuesday) the Runnin' Bulldogs hope to bag a band of Gamecocks at The University of South Carolina's Colonial Life Arena in a 7 o'clock encounter.Coach Rick Scruggs' squad from Boiling Springs has had a series of near misses during a 0-3 start. In road losses to Longwood, Virginia Tech of the ACC and 12th-ranked Oklahoma, the ‘Dogs have fallen by a combined margin of nine points.
First-year head coach Darrin Horn has the Gamecocks off to a 3-0 start following a blowout victory against USC-Upstate. Senior guard Zam Fredrick - son of the former Gamecock standout bearing the same name - leads South Carolina with a 17.3 scoring average. Devan Downey is producing 16.4 points a game with Mike Holmes and Evaldus Baniulis contributing 11.7 and 11.0 points per contest, respectively. Holmes leads USC in rebounding with 10.7 boards per game.
Gardner-Webb has five players averaging double figures, led by junior guard Grayson Flittner.
The lefthanded Indiana native is pouring in 19.3 points per contest. Aaron Linn (18.3 ppg), Anton Silver (11.7), Joshua Henley (11.7) and Auryn McMillan (11.5) are also providing scoring punch for the ‘Dogs.
13 minutes until tip-off ...
Plenty of good seats still available at Colonial Life Arena for this non-conference contest in Columbia, S.C.
Injury update ... GWU guard Nate Blank, a returning starter, is dressed out tonight and should see his first action of the season. It's especially impressive that GWU hung tough with the likes of Virginia Tech and Oklahoma without Blank, who was the A-Sun Freshman of the Year and a mid-major Freshman All-American last season. The sophomore from Terre Haute, Ind. averaged 10.8 points and 3.6 rebounds as a freshman.
Joshua Henley, G
Jonathan Moore, F
Grayson Flittner, G
Aaron Linn, F
Auryn McMillan, C
Brandon Conrad, G
Michael Holmes, F/C
Dominique Archie, F
Zam Frederick, G
Devan Downey, G
At the 14 minute mark of the first half ... first update of first half.
GWU leads 12-8 after a made jumper by Aaron Linn. The Runnin' Bulldogs have missed a handful of easy shots as well and look poised on the defensive end.
With 10 minutes left in the half ... second update of first half.
GWU leads 17-13 despite no points from sharp-shooter Grayson Flittner and with Nate Blank struggling to find his rhythm on the court for the first time this year. Jonathan Moore has eight for GWU, while Aaron Linn has five. The Bulldogs are scrapping on the defensive end with three steals.
With 7 minutes left in the first half ... third update of first half.
USC grabs a 20-19 lead. Neither team lighting it up from the floor. GWU shooting 30 percent on 7-of-23 shooting. The Gamecocks are at 36 percent on 8-of-22 shooting. Most of the other stats are practically even ... turnovers, steals and blocks. Despite a height advantage, USC leads the rebounding margin just 17-16.
Flittner hits his first basket of the game (a three) at 6:30 to put GWU up 22-20.
With 2:30 left in the first half ... fourth update of first half.
GWU cuts the lead to 34-32 on Flittner's second three of the half. The southpaw appears to be finding his rhythm. Moore has the hot hand for the Runnin' Bulldogs with 15 points. Mike Holmes leads USC with 10.
With one minute left in the first half ... final update of the first half.
I'll have another update at halftime. Evaldus Baniulus hits a three to push USC's lead up to 43-34 late in the half. USC is getting it done at the defensive end late in the half, creating steals and getting points off the turnovers.
A few halftime stats
Leaders: GWU: Jonathan Moore, 15 points, four rebounds; Grayson Flittner, eight points, three assists, two rebounds; Aaron Linn, eight points, two rebounds. USC: Zam Frederick, 11 points, six rebounds; five assists; Mike Holmes 10 points, two rebounds; Dominique Archie seven points, five rebounds.
GWU shooting just 32 percent from the floor and 4-of-12 from 3-point land. USC picked up steam late in the half and is now shooting 44 percent from the floor and 4-of-9 from deep. USC owns the rebounding edge 27-21. The turnover margin is even at 8-8. The Gamecocks hold a 13-7 edge in fast break points, and own a 18-10 margin on points in the paint.
At the 17 minute mark of second half .... first update of second half.
USC is really getting it done on both ends on the backboards and now leads 49-36 after 2-of-2 by Holmes. GWU is consistently getting outside looks, but can't catch fire from the perimeter. It's a big "if," but if the Bulldogs were making their jumpers this is a different ballgame.
At the 14 minute mark of the second half ... second update of second half.
Flittner, who has a knack of getting to the line after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, makes 3-of-3 to cut the lead to 51-41. USC answers with two quick baskets to make it 55-41. Not long after my last update, the play of the game transpired ....
USC point guard Devan Downey drove the lane, then passed through a GWU player's legs to an open Dominique Archie, who dunked it home dwith two hands to make it 51-36. Not sure if the folks at the Worldwide Leader will pick that one up on its top 10 plays or not, but I'd say it would be worthy.
At the 10 minute mark of the second half ... third update of second half.
GWU had several chances to get the lead under double digits but hasn't been able to cash in. Score now USC 61, GWU 51. The shooting percentage continues to stand out ... GWU at just 31 percent and USC at 45 percent.
At the 5 minute mark of the second half .... fourth update of second half.
USC leads 75-63. Blank and Flittner both hit 3's for GWU to get the lead under double figures, but each time USC answers with a 3 of its own to increase the lead. Downey has really stepped up in the second half for the home team, both with his passing and shooting. He now has 17 points.
At the 2 minute mark of the second half ... fifth and final update of the game (unless we go OT).
USC leads 79-68 and the Bulldogs have a huge uphill battle at this point. Flittner was just called for a charge and the Gamecocks seem to have this one wrapped up. Check back to www.shelbystar.com for the game story in about an hour or so.
Downey just scored his 23rd points of the night to put the icing on the cake for USC.
Final score, South Carolina 85, Gardner-Webb 70