Cloninger Soundoff: South Carolina deserved an ovation

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on March 14, 2014 

Mar 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Sindarius Thornwell (0) and Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan McRae (52) fight for a rebound during the second half in the quarterfinals of the SEC college basketball tournament at Georgia Dome. Tennessee defeated South Carolina 59-44.

DALE ZANINE — USA TODAY Sports

It’s a shame more Gamecock fans weren’t in the Georgia Dome on Friday, applauding a team that had given everything it had and more just to get to Friday. That’s not a knock on the fans – I completely understand that three games in the middle of midweek days aren’t conducive to keeping employment.

It just would have been good to see one last round of massive applause for this team that played its best, when the simplest thing to do would have been to lose on Wednesday and call it a year.

USC had to regroup midseason when it lost both of its point guards. It had to play a year where almost to a man, its team was going to be smaller and lighter than its opponent. That the Gamecocks did what every against-the-odds team wants in a season – improved and played its best at the end – was a testament to their resolve and courage.

Brenton Williams deserved that. Frank Martin deserved that, for continuing to pledge himself to a program that is still a year or two away from seriously competing. There weren’t a lot of smiles in that locker room, but talking to the players about the foundation for next season, a few eyes sparkled.

October’s just around the corner.

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