South Carolina had enough offense to go along with its defense and never trailed in its 64-50 victory over No. 18 Syracuse on Saturday in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at Barclays Center.
In what seemed like a home game for the Orange, they couldn’t generate enough offensive tempo to feed off the energy of the faithful fans in attendance. Syracuse managed to make just 14 field goals for the game and only six in the second half. The Orange went 14-for-44 from the field for a 31.8 shooting percentage.
For the Gamecocks, its their second win over a Top-25 team in the last week. On Wednesday, South Carolina beat No. 25 Michigan in Columbia. Frank Martin’s team is now 6-0 on the young season, and is one of two undefeated SEC teams — No. 1 Kentucky being the other.
South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell finished the game with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Thornwell was named the MVP of the Invitational.The Gamecocks also got solid contribution from Mike Kotsar (16 points) and Forward P.J. Dozier ( 15 points, 10 rebounds).
South Carolina shot 45 percent and scored 30 points in the paint. The Gamecocks scored most of their points after frequently getting defensive stops via 12 steals and 17 Syracuse turnovers.
“Every game we come out and guard, that’s what our coaching staff and our team prides itself on, defense,” South Carolina guard PJ Dozier said. “We make our offense out of our defense.”
Tyler Lydon led the Orange (4-1) with a season-high 18 points. Andrew White III and Frank Howard added 10 points apiece as Syracuse shot 31.8 percent.
“They were just really good defensively,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “They pressured you, they got in the lane. They just really are a good defensive team. We knew that because we saw the Michigan game and Michigan is probably as good an offensive movement team as anybody against man-to-man in the country and they couldn’t get anything.”
Coach Jim Boeheim continued the praise for South Carolina.
“South Carolina’s a Top 20 team,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “Maybe better.”
Saturday wasn’t a good day for Syracuse sports. First, the men’s football team lost 76-61 to Pittsburgh, yet somehow, the football team scored more points then the men’s basketball team.
The Orange weren’t challenged too much in the first four games of the season. Now they will have to shake this loss and get ready for Wisconsin on Tuesday, for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.