Sat, 16 Jan 2021

Tulsa, South Carolina match up in tourney consolation game

Field Level Media
29 Nov 2020, 17:05 GMT+10

Looking to rebound quickly from their respective season-opening defeats, the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane square off in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

South Carolina (0-1) became the latest SEC team to fall to Liberty 78-62 on Saturday.

Tulsa (0-1), meanwhile, couldn't hang on to an early 10-point lead against TCU and fell, 70-65.

South Carolina, which had its preseason game Wednesday canceled due to COVID-19 issues, fell behind by 17 at halftime and never recovered against the Flames.

With their coach, Frank Martin, sporting a new shaved-head look, the Gamecocks had a hard time slowing down a sharpshooting Liberty squad that buried 11 more 3-pointers Saturday, including eight in the first half, only two days after they nailed 19 triples in a win over Mississippi State.

The Gamecocks shot only 3-of-17 from 3-point range and 39 percent overall.

"(That was) kind of what I expected today," Martin said after the game. "Not the win and loss. But what I expected, especially early in the game. We were a little tight. We were a little nervous. Whenever you're tight, nervous, you don't think straight, you don't move fluidly."

Guards A.J. Lawson, an All-SEC preseason first-team selection, and Jermaine Cousinard, who combined for 25.5 points per game last season, combined for 22 points on Saturday but shot a combined 9-for-24 from the field. Both were among the Gamecocks' top five scorers last season.

"It sucks that we couldn't play (Wednesday's game)," Lawson said postgame. "But we came here, we were ready to play. We still gotta just learn from this and just keep playing."

The Golden Hurricane expect to have a formidable backcourt this season, but shot just 4-for-18 from 3-point range against TCU. The poor output hindered Tulsa from capitalizing when TCU shot only 36.4 percent from the floor.

Sophomore Keyshawn Embery-Simpson, an Arkansas transfer, showed the potential to be a key backcourt addition with 14 points.

Tulsa's top returner, 6-foot-6 senior guard/forward Brandon Rachal, got off to a strong start as well.

Rachal finished with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting and collected eight rebounds, while senior guard Elijah Joiner finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

"I've seen those guys grow, and that's the beauty of seeing seniors -- you see their maturity," Tulsa coach Frank Haith said.

--Field Level Media

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