Cloninger Soundoff: A nice start for USC

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on November 9, 2013 

For the first 15 minutes, it was like last year all over again.

That’s not a good thing.

South Carolina was missing inside shots, and when it ran an offensive set, it was to stand around the 3-point line and pass the ball. The Gamecocks were getting no production from the new guys, and not much from the old guys.

“This,” I thought, “is what is obtained from revamping the roster?”

Just the calm before the storm.

The Gamecocks raced to a rout of Longwood — one in which they took the lead and held it, with no fingernail-chewing to the finish — after they got over their early yips. Frank Martin blamed it on himself, saying that the Lancers’ zone defense confused USC when the Gamecocks had spent most of their time trying to get their man-to-man defense in place, but once the players adjusted, it was what we all expected.

USC is driving to the basket. The Gamecocks are getting to the free-throw line and making the shots. The freshmen each played and each contributed, and USC got a boost from getting Ty Johnson cleared to play. All he did was score a team-high 18 points.

It’s a new look, as we all knew it would be, but it was fun to see it presented. You know, none of the “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” routine.

Long way to go, but there could just be something here.

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