The South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2) began their first road trip of the season Thursday night as they took on St. John’s (5-2) for the SEC/Big East Challenge at Carnesecca Arena.
Students, players, and the coaching staff alike all sported black in a night that was called a “blackout.” Coach Steve Lavin traded in his famous white Nike Air Force One sneakers for a pair of Nike black Uptowns.
The Gamecocks were turnover prone early on in the game. After just five minutes of play the Storm had 5 steals, although they were only able to capitalize with a 12-9 lead.
After South Carolina trimmed the lead to just one, St. John’s went on an 8-0 run to take a 20-11 lead. The run finally came to an end after a tear drop shot by Laimonas Chatkevicius with ten minutes to go in the half.
The Johnnies would again go on another run, this time a 10-0 one that would be capped by an ally-oop from Sir’Dom Pointer to Felix Balamou . This would give the Johnnies a 30-15 lead, their biggest of the half.
Chris Obekpa got his fist block of the game with about a minute and a half to go in the first after being called for goaltending twice before.
The first twenty minutes came to a close with St. John’s leading South Carolina, 38-26. D’Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene led the way with 8 points apiece.
The Johnnies got off to a raucous start in the second half with two consecutive blocks by Balamou that led to a Harrison three pointer.
South Carolina would respond quickly though, they were able to trim the lead to just 9 points at the fifteen minute mark. Brenton Williams hit two three pointers to keep things tight at 50-41. Williams would later be taken off on a stretcher in what appeared to be a neck injury. Andy Katz of ESPN tweeted that Williams had movement in his extremities but would be taken to hospital for further testing.
That would be as close as the Gamecocks would get for the rest of the game. Greene and Harrison would both hit threes to give the Storm a 15 point lead at the time, one that would continue to grow.
St. John’s would go on to win the game by a final of 89-65. Amir Garret filled up the stat sheet, recording a double double. He had 16 points to go with 11 rebounds. The real star for coach Lavin though was D’Angelo Harrison and his 26 points
“His floor game and judgement were excellent. He sustained good choices tonight.” Lavin said. “He has range like Reggie Miller, but has improved his mid-range game like Scottie Reynolds.”
St. John’s will get back to action Saturday December 1 for an afternoon game as they host NJIT at Carnesecca Arena.