The South Carolina Gamecocks head east Thursday to face Colorado State in a neutral-site game at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C.
South Carolina (2-0) is off to a solid start under first-year coach Lamont Paris heading into the Charleston Classic, owning tight wins over South Carolina State and rival Clemson. Across those two victories, GG Jackson II averaged 15 points and nine boards, and was named SEC Freshman of the Week.
But the real hero in the Gamecocks’ win over Clemson was Chico Carter, who connected on the game-winning shot with 0.8 seconds left. It made Paris the first South Carolina coach to beat Clemson in his first attempt since Dave Odom in 2001.
“Rather than settle for something, Chico took it upon himself. He made a physical play. Got inside the paint and got to a point where he could make a shot,” Paris said of Carter’s game-winning shot. “It was good to see him put his head down, embrace a little contact and just get in there and try to make a play. He got a good shot off.”
Carter finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting against Clemson. The senior guard is averaging 10.5 points and 3.0 assists per game. He and Jackson are part of four South Carolina players averaging double-digits in scoring so far this season, along with Hayden Brown (15.0 points per-game) and Jacobi Brown (12.0).
Colorado State (3-0) is undefeated too, with home wins over Gardner-Webb, Southeastern Louisiana and Weber State.
The Rams lost featured forward David Roddy — selected 23rd overall in the NBA draft in June — the Mountain West Player of the Year for a Rams team that reached the NCAA Tournament.
After hosting a team watch party to take in Roddy’s debut with the Memphis Grizzlies, senior guard John Tonje — part of the same recruiting class with Roddy — helped the Rams begin creating a new identity.
Against Weber State on Monday, the Rams tallied 20 assists on 29 made shots and never let their opponent get within 16 points of the lead in the second half. Tonje led the way with 15 points.
“It was a great performance by our guys. I don’t have a lot to complain about. I thought we came out with a defensive mindset,” fifth-year Rams coach Niko Medved said after the win over Weber State. “Guys were connected, playing hard, competing.”
Tonje averages a team-best 14.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per-game. Patrick Cartier (11.7), Isaiah Rivera (11.3) and Taviontae Jackson (10.3) average double-digits in scoring too.
–Field Level Media