Cloninger Soundoff: Experience edge pays off for Gamecocks

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on March 1, 2014 

Mar 1, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Brenton Williams (1) shoots a technical foul shot as Kentucky Wildcats players look on during the second half at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina won 72-67.

ROB KINNAN — USA TODAY Sports

I wrote on how South Carolina had one advantage over Kentucky in Saturday’s paper. It wasn’t much, but USC had some experience on the Wildcats despite the Wildcats’ freshmen headed for lucrative NBA careers.

The Gamecocks didn’t have players wondering what to do and how to play with each other. They knew what they were trying to do and what they had to do to get the win, since they had been so close in other times and hadn’t done it.

Sophomore Michael Carrera was a man possessed, flying all over the court for 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Sophomore Laimonas Chatkevicius had the best two minutes of his career, scoring six minutes, grabbing two offensive rebounds and getting a hand up to force Aaron Harrison to lift his shot. Senior Brenton Williams was as money as ever from the free-throw line.

The Gamecocks played as a team, their precious few upperclassmen calming the younger guys. They weren’t five individuals logging their required one year in college before heading to the next level.

It finally paid off.

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