Gamecocks remember how to win, do so, 82-73 OT over LSU

The Gamecocks went on the road and picked up an SEC win away from Colonial Life Arena for the first time in nearly two years on Wednesday night, overcoming the LSU Tigers by a final score of 82-73 in overtime.  The Gamecocks flipped the script on the Bayou Bengals by largely avoiding costly turnovers and forcing a multitude of them on the defensive end (though LSU committed plenty of unforced errors to help).  The result is a Carolina team coming back home with a 1-2 conference record, and with a very winnable game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday at 1:30pm.

Four Factors

Four Factors USC LSU
eFG 46.6 46.9
TO% 19.0 27.8
Oreb% 30.6 37.5
FTR 63.8 25.0
Shooting USC LSU
FTA 28-37 (76%) 13-16
(81%)
2PA 24-44
(55%)
18-37
(49%)
3PA 2-14
(14%)
8-27
(30%)
3PA% 24.1% 42.2%

We’ve talked before about how you can mitigate the cost of turnovers (or not forcing them) by rebounding well enough on the offensive and defensive glass (though turnovers are always a more efficient way of achieving a stop on the defensive end).  Carolina typically ends up with about the same number of scoring opportunities as its opposition in just this way – while they turn the ball over far too often, their voracious offensive rebounding gives them additional chances to score the ball.

The Gamecocks (and to some extent, LSU) turned that season-long strategy on its head Wednesday night.  While LSU ended up with six more FGAs on the evening, the Gamecocks did their damage from the free-throw line, taking 37 trips to the stripe.  Shooting actually helped somewhat belie the fact that the Gamecocks really did outplay LSU on the evening overall – if you believe that made FTAs and 3PAs are out of the hands of the defense.  If the Gamecocks and Tigers both shoot their averages from those areas, South Carolina walks away with a relatively comfortable regulation victory.

One area where the Gamecocks critically outshot the Tigers was from 2PA.  Carolina had its best night from up-close since November, shooting 55% inside and holding their own against the much taller Tigers.  Their ability to compete on the interior – coming close to a draw on rebounding, outshooting LSU from 2PA, and drawing enough fouls to get easy points from the line – gave them the chance to walk away victorious.

As we alluded to above the jump, the 28% turnover rate from our defense was as pleasant a surprise as we’ve had this season, but I’m not sure how replicable it is (also, mea culpa for posting the wrong rate on Twitter last night, the formulas were somehow off, and have now been fixed).  Carolina only had six steals on the evening, and plenty of the turnovers from LSU came from unforced errors.  On the other hand, as we covered in this piece on our defense, Martin-coached teams typically create more turnovers than you would expect based solely by looking at their steal percentages, so this isn’t entirely out of line with what you would expect from a Frank Martin basketball team.

Individual

Stats courtesy of the wonderful KenPom.com

South Carolina
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Bruce Ellington
38
21
7
3-10
0-2
1-4
0
2
1
3
Lakeem Jackson
38
14
11
5-6
0-0
1-2
4
7
4
1
Eric Smith
36
12
5
1-4
0-1
3-4
0
0
1
2
Brenton Williams
36
29
16
2-6
1-7
9-10
0
1
2
4
Michael Carrera
24
35
23
7-9
0-1
9-10
3
7
0
1
RJ Slawson
21
20
11
2-3
1-1
4-5
3
2
0
1
Mindaugas Kacinas
16
16
3
1-1
0-2
1-2
1
1
0
1
Laimonas Chatkevicius
12
22
6
3-4
0-0
0-0
0
2
1
1
Brian Richardson
2
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
0
Damien Leonard
2
0
0-1
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
0
Team
0
3
1
TOTAL
225
82
24-44
2-14
28-37
11
25
9
15
1.04
54.5%
14.3%
75.7%
30.6%
62.5%
34.6%
19.0%
Louisiana St.
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Charles Carmouche
37
15
13
0-1
3-5
4-4
1
0
5
2
Anthony Hickey
35
30
18
3-6
4-11
0-0
0
7
4
5
Andre Stringer
29
21
9
4-8
0-5
1-1
1
1
1
1
Andrew Del Piero
29
14
7
1-3
0-0
5-7
3
2
1
1
Malik Morgan
27
13
7
2-2
1-5
0-0
0
5
4
0
Johnny O’Bryant
23
30
9
4-8
0-1
1-2
3
3
0
4
Shavon Coleman
21
17
6
2-5
0-0
2-2
5
2
0
1
Jalen Courtney
17
16
2
1-2
0-0
0-0
2
2
0
3
Corban Collins
7
2
1-2
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
4
Team
0
3
1
TOTAL
225
73
18-37
8-27
13-16
15
25
15
22
0.92
48.6%
29.6%
81.2%
37.5%
69.4%
57.7%
27.8%

After indicating at his press conference that we shouldn’t expect many minutes from Brenton Williams, Martin ran him out for 36 minutes.  While he didn’t deliver what we’ve come to expect from Brenton, his 2-13 shooting from the field was almost entirely made up for by his 9-10 effort from the line, many (if not all) of which came during regulation.  The shots won’t fall every night, but the ability to get to the line and get points is a skill, and it’s something that Brenton uniquely brings to the team.  I was excited to see him return, as he brings a dimension that I don’t think we’re getting from Damien Leonard on the offensive end right now.  That said, his four turnovers led the team, which is out of character for him – he’s been one of our best ball handlers this year thus far.

I was particularly surprised to see how many minutes Brenton got because of the presence of Damien and Brian Richardson, especially since Richardson has been playing rather well of late.  Martin also indicated at his press conference he didn’t want to answer questions about playing time, but they’ll surely be asked around the internet this week, because I don’t think anyone  would have predicted the playing time would be spread around the backcourt in this way going into the game.

Bruce Ellington struggled offensively, and his inability to get free throws separates his poor shooting performance from Brenton’s in a measurable way.  His shots seemed to come from outside the offense, and it was disappointing to see him only create one basket for a teammate while running the point for 38 minutes.   That said, using 21% of possessions is by no means an unreasonable figure for Bruce, and he did a decent job avoiding turnovers given his responsibilities and minutes.  That said, I hope to see his shot selection and ball distribution continue to come along in future games.

The stars of the night were found in the frontcourt.  Lakeem, Chatkevicius, Carrera and Slawson all played some of their best basketball of the season, and were the difference between winning and losing, something I simply would not have predicted coming into the contest.  Lakeem grabbed a double-double and did so while shooting 83% from the floor.  Chatkevicius had easily his best game, avoiding turnovers and shooting very efficiently.  We’ll want to see him defend better and do more in rebounding in future games, but it was a nice step forward for the Lithuanian freshman (and again, it’s important to remember that three of our five major frontcourt players are freshman, none of whom were highly-rated by recruiting services).

Carrera finally returned to form since coming back from his hip injury, shooting a lights out 7-10 from the field and 9-10 from the line.  Along with 10 rebounds (and most impressively, only turning the ball over once), he was a force to be reckoned with every trip he played, and brought to the game exactly what we need from him.  Slawson continued to contribute effectively offensively, but once again seemed to struggle at times defending in the paint.  Kacinas also seemed to be a bit overwhelmed at times, and hasn’t really found his footing in SEC games thus far.  That said, he had good offensive outings against both St. John’s and Clemson, so there’s no reason to think he can’t regain his form going forward.

On the LSU side of things, there were times it looked like Hickey or Del Piero might take over, but each hot streak seemed to be answered by the Gamecocks, either on the offensive end or with a defensive stop.  Carolina had a few over-rotations where they left shooters wide open for a 3PA, but LSU missed just enough of them (including a rim rattler in the dying seconds of regulation) to allow Carolina to escape with a road SEC win.

Up Next

The Gamecocks come home to welcome the Vanderbilt Commodores to the Colonial Life Arena on Saturday.  For those of you who haven’t followed our SEC bretheren this season, this is not the Vanderbilt team you remember from years past.  Kevin Stallings lost nearly everyone from his NCAA tournament team from last season, and the Commodores have struggled mightily both in- and out-of-conference.  While there have been flashes of potential (an overtime win on the road at Xavier, and a blowout of better than you think UTEP squad at a neutral site), for every close loss at home to Kentucky and Ole Miss (and oh, what a brutal Ole Miss loss), there have been shellackings at the hands of Oregon, Arkansas, and Marist (Marist?).  Expect another tight but winnable game.

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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, LSU, What Happened and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gamecocks remember how to win, do so, 82-73 OT over LSU

  1. Pingback: Better Know an Opponent: Vanderbilt |

  2. Pingback: “Different day, same book,” Gamecocks fall 66-61 |

  3. Pingback: Better Know An Opponent: LSU (Part Deux) |

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