Cloninger Soundoff: Gamecocks finish when they have to

dcloninger@thestate.comFebruary 13, 2014 

Effort was never the problem. South Carolina had its days, just like most teams across the country, where it never showed up, but mostly, the Gamecocks were always in games.

They just couldn’t finish them.

On Thursday, they finally did. And just when it looked like they were about to blow another game.

A 13-point lead was down to six. USC, as it has done so consistently, was throwing the ball away and taking bad shots instead of doing what got it to that 13-point lead. This is where the Ole Miss win slipped away, where the LSU game slipped away, where the Auburn win slipped away.

But Sindarius Thornwell got his own rebound and put it back, and USC was able to close it out. The Gamecocks were rewarded.

They’ve said all year that they don’t have a problem with confidence. I’m inclined to believe it, but I also look at the schedule and see that chances for turning this season into something at least respectable were dwindling. The Gamecocks got no favors with their last two home games against the best two teams in the SEC, and with the way they’ve played on the road, those certainly couldn’t be looked at as solid chances.

The point was, the close wins were encouraging but not productive. USC needed to win to show that it could be done, to get a chance for a winning streak. It now has that, because it finally finished a game.

Whether it was the snow or that last offensive board, the Gamecocks reached the finish line.

And weren’t staring at the back of the other guy when they did so.

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