Men’s pregame: Coming days offer twice the Zip

Gamecocks wrap Hawaii tourney against Akron — then meet in Columbia

dcloninger@thestate.comDecember 24, 2013 

  • GAMECOCKS VS. ZIPS

    WHO: Akron (6-3) vs. South Carolina (3-6)

    WHAT: Third-place game, Diamond Head Classic

    WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

    WHERE: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu

    TV: ESPN2

    RADIO: WNKT 107.5-FM

  • AKRON’S PROBABLE STARTERS: G Deji Ibitayo, 6-4, Jr. (4.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg); G Carmelo Betancourt, 5-11, So. (1.1 ppg, 0.4 rpg); G Reggie McAdams, 6-7, So. (7.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg); F Demetrius Treadwell, 6-7, Sr. (15.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg); C Pat Forsythe, 6-11, So. (5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg)

    SOUTH CAROLINA’S PROBABLE STARTERS: G Ty Johnson, 6-3, Jr. (11.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg); G Sindarius Thornwell, 6-5, Fr. (12.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Duane Notice, 6-2, Fr. (4.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg); F Demetrius Henry, 6-9, Fr. (6.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Mindaugas Kacinas, 6-7, So. (6.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg)

    NEXT GAME: USC hosts Akron at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The scouting report will surely be fresh.

South Carolina has a unique situation as it heads into its next two games — each will be against the same opponent. The Gamecocks had already scheduled Akron to come to Columbia on Saturday. Due to how the Diamond Head Classic played out, USC (3-6) will face the Zips (6-3) Wednesday for the Hawaii event’s third-place finish.

USC will try to salvage a respectable finish after beating previously undefeated St. Mary’s on Sunday but being blasted off the court by Boise State on Monday. The Gamecocks and the rest of the teams in the Classic had Tuesday off, which gave Akron time to catch its breath after losing 83-60 to Iowa State on Monday.

“We tired, and then mentally, we didn’t handle adversity very well,’’ Akron coach Keith Dambrot told The Associated Press. “You know, we kind of just died on the vine.’’

USC was feeling the same way. Boise State started off hot and stayed there, completing nearly 54 percent of its field goals, and led by as many as 30 points.

“I kept telling our guys that their guys drive the ball from the half-court line and get to the rim, where’s the help at?” coach Frank Martin wondered to the Associated Press. “Our guys drive from the top of the key and couldn’t crack the foul line because the help came over, and it’s what happens.”

The young Gamecocks are finding their niche, flashing hot and cold as they struggle to adjust to game-by-game approaches. Perhaps playing Akron twice in a row can help them settle down.

USC point guard Ty Johnson and forward Michael Carrera will be able to help the game plan due to Akron featuring guard Carmelo Betancourt. Johnson and Carrera played alongside Betancourt at Montrose (Md.)Christian School.

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