Gamecocks “don’t know how to win,” lose 74-71

Congratulations, we’ve reached the point of the season where if we lose two close games, we “don’t know how to win” or are “still learning how to win.”  It’s too bad we didn’t know how to do those things earlier in the season, else I’m not sure how we would’ve won overtime games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee or Missouri State, let alone pulled out narrow victories over Manhattan or Appalachian State.

Once a game is close, it’s more or less down to luck, and luck was not on the Gamecocks’ side in either game this week.  Against Auburn, for the second game in a row, Carolina had a last-second three go wrong, and ended up on the losing end of the battle, 74-71.

The Statistics

The Four Factors Auburn USC
eFG 68.3 52.6
TO% 26.4 23.6
Oreb% 35.0 55.2
FTR 68.3 28.1
Possessions 62

Congratulations, Gamecocks!  You just played one of the best (opponent-adjusted) games of the season!  We can live with 1.15 points per possession in SEC play, and that number was especially heartening given that Auburn brings a semi-capable defense to conference play.

The Gamecocks did a good job of limiting (relatively speaking) their main weakness of turning the ball over, scoring in bunches, and then voraciously rebounding the ball offensively.  One thing you have to say for this team is that, whatever its deficiencies, the team works.  You can’t say they don’t put in effort while talking about our defensive struggles without reconciling that a team that otherwise has no business grabbing a bunch of rebounds is SECOND IN THE NATION in doing so on the offensive end.  It’s a bunch of kids buying into Martin’s system, and it’s easily the brightest spot of the season.

Staying on this segue, it’s important to think about just how much this heightens the importance of us avoiding turnovers.  If you’re team is going to rebound 44% of your misses, then all of a sudden, if you can make 50% of your shots, that means you either have a made basket or retained possession on 72% of your attempted field goals.  So for Carolina, avoiding turnovers is really what’s holding this team back from being a very, very good offense, as they’ve continued to shoot the ball quite well.

Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, their best efforts on offense could not hold up their porous defending.  Letting a team make almost 70% of its 2PAs is to let them almost score at will, and doing so while also putting them at the foul line 28 times just goes to show that we were completely unable to stop Auburn in the post.

Auburn
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Frankie Sullivan
40
26
17
3-6
2-7
5-9
1
3
5
1
Allen Payne
34
19
8
4-6
0-1
0-2
2
1
1
3
Rob Chubb
31
32
16
4-5
0-0
8-9
4
6
0
6
Josh Wallace
29
13
1
0-1
0-0
1-2
0
1
7
2
Shaquille Johnson
13
21
5
0-0
1-2
2-4
0
1
0
1
Brian Greene
28
16
14
4-4
2-2
0-0
0
1
1
1
Noel Johnson
9
9
0-0
3-6
0-0
0
0
0
2
Asauhn Dixon-Tatum
9
4
1-1
0-0
2-2
0
0
0
1
Jordon Granger
6
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
0
Dylan Spencer
1
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
0
Team
2
2
0
TOTAL
200
74
16-23
8-18
18-28
9
15
14
17
1.19
69.6%
44.4%
64.3%
39.1%
46.9%
58.3%
27.4%
South Carolina
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Bruce Ellington
36
25
18
7-11
1-4
1-1
1
0
5
2
Eric Smith
31
19
10
1-2
2-4
2-4
0
0
2
3
Lakeem Jackson
28
17
10
4-7
0-0
2-4
1
1
3
0
Mindaugas Kacinas
17
20
6
2-3
0-0
2-2
1
3
0
2
Brian Richardson
14
14
0
0-2
0-2
0-0
0
1
1
1
Damien Leonard
33
19
17
1-1
5-8
0-1
6
3
2
1
Michael Carrera
24
28
6
1-5
0-0
4-4
5
2
5
4
RJ Slawson
9
4
2-4
0-1
0-0
2
3
1
1
Brenton Williams
6
0
0-2
0-1
0-0
0
0
0
1
Laimonas Chatkevicius
2
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
0
1
0
Team
1
1
0
TOTAL
200
71
18-37
8-20
11-16
17
14
20
15
1.15
48.6%
40.0%
68.8%
53.1%
60.9%
76.9%
24.2%

Individually, pretty much everyone bar Richardson had a good game on the offensive end (excluding Brenton Williams, who have disappeared minutes-wise over the last few games to allow for Damien Leonard to get more time, time that he well-earned with his contributions on the afternoon).  Bruce reined in the turnovers and shot an excellent 7-11 from 2PA.  Smith was less effective than he has been in past games, but still shot well enough to overcome that, while Lakeem and Mindaugus similarly shot over 50% from 2PA.

It was surprising to see our low-post guys struggle on the offensive glass more than usual, but Damien Leonard made up for that by grabbing six offensive rebounds.  Along with his 5-8 shooting, he had a great game, but it’s still disappointing to see that he can’t find makeable shots inside the arc.  If he really wants to round out his offensive game, he has to do what Brenton has done this season and become more than just a spot-up, outside shooter.  Still, a good effort from him.

It’s easy to want to point at one or two Auburn players that killed us, but all six of the guys who spent meaningful minutes on the floor just destroyed us from an efficiency perspective.  Hell, even Josh Wallace (he of one contributed point) dished out seven assists while only turning the ball over twice.  We stopped absolutely no one, and it crushed us.

Up Next

The Gamecocks travel to Baton Rouge, LA for a clash between another 0-2 outfit in the SEC, the LSU Tigers.  LSU has a very understandable home loss to Florida on its record thus far, and likewise a close loss to the Auburn Tigers (68-63, in the Plains).  The Gamecocks will go in as underdogs as they try to right the ship, before heading back home on Saturday to take on an utterly beatable Vanderbilt team in Columbia.

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About marvinnedick

Blogging from the mid-Atlantic on Gamecock sports, as well as general musings on sports theory otherwise.
This entry was posted in 2012-13 Basketball, Auburn, What Happened and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Gamecocks “don’t know how to win,” lose 74-71

  1. Pingback: Missouri demolishes Gamecocks inside, 90-68 |

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