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South Carolina beats Coastal Carolina 85-79 behind Lawson

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina's A.J. Lawson and Hassani Gravett each notched a career-high in points as the Gamecocks held on to beat Coastal Carolina 85-79 on Friday night.

Lawson was scoreless in South Carolina's last game, but with preseason All-SEC selection Chris Silva again in early foul trouble Friday, he shouldered the scoring load with 25 points against the Chanticleers. Gravett added 23.

The Gamecocks (4-3) erased an eight-point deficit in the first half to lead by nine at the break, but the Chanticleers, who hit 11 3-pointers, never went away.

Coastal erased a 10-point deficit to lead by one seven minutes into the first half, but Silva, playing with three fouls, woke up. He swished a soft hook shot from the right side, put a miss back with a thunderous dunk and tightened his defense.

His six points when the game was tied at 61 made up most of a 9-0 USC run to give the Gamecocks a comfortable lead. Silva ended with nine points and five rebounds, crediting the burst to clearing his mind.

''I think I just been overthinking, putting too much pressure on myself,'' Silva said. ''I kind of forgot how to enjoy the game. Coach told me to go out there and play as hard as you can and enjoy the game.''

The Chanticleers' Zac Cuthbertson and his teammates' long-range shooting kept Coastal close but South Carolina, in the bonus with 12 minutes to play, kept hitting free throws. The Gamecocks were 25-of-33 from the line and stroked 10 3-pointers of their own.

''We know that this team, right now, the game goes through Silva and (forward Maik) Kotsar,'' Coastal coach Cliff Ellis said. ''You got to make other people beat you. Well, Gravett did what he's supposed to do.''

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: The Gamecocks were humbled on their home court last time out by Wofford, a strong team but not one that should hang with, much less beat, a team that was in the Final Four less than two years ago. Coach Frank Martin is still working with a young team that has already had numerous injuries and keeps preaching a learning process.

''We're a soft basketball team. We don't rebound and we don't make competitive plays on the ball,'' Martin said. ''We got to work on that.''

Coastal Carolina: Cuthbertson is a potential Sun Belt player of the year candidate, leading the Chanticleers in scoring, rebounding and assists. The Chants lost their top two point guards to injury within the first two games. ''We've got to get some guys back,'' Ellis said.

STAR WATCH

Martin doesn't allow freshmen to speak to the media until after the first semester ends, but he may not want Lawson to speak as well as he's playing. The rookie from Canada, who re-classified to enroll early at South Carolina, has scored in double figures in five of seven games and had nine points in another.

''The whole season, he's had a great time with us and made some big plays,'' Gravett said. ''People have down days sometimes. He definitely came back and responded to the challenges asked of him.''

HE SAID IT

Why did Martin start three freshmen (Lawson, T.J. Moss and Keyshawn Bryant)?

''I just want to keep getting balder,'' Martin said. ''It's important to me that my bald spot keeps growing.''

UP NEXT

South Carolina begins a four-game stretch that will go a long way toward determining its postseason chances. The Gamecocks are at Wyoming on Wednesday, then travel to No. 7 Michigan Dec. 8 to complete the road trip. After that is the exam break and back-to-back games against No. 4 Virginia and archrival Clemson, which recently fell out of the Top 25.

Coastal Carolina hosts Hampton on Wednesday to start its last four-game stretch of non-conference games. The Chanticleers will have two home and two away games during the stretch, including a Dec. 9 game at Wofford, which whipped the Gamecocks by 20 points.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
+ 1 Zac Cuthbertson made 3rd of 3 free throws 15.0
+ 1 Zac Cuthbertson made 2nd of 3 free throws 15.0
+ 1 Zac Cuthbertson made 2nd of 3 free throws 15.0
  Zac Cuthbertson missed 1st of 3 free throws 15.0
  Personal foul on A.J. Lawson 15.0
+ 1 T.J. Moss made 2nd of 2 free throws 25.0
+ 1 T.J. Moss made 2nd of 2 free throws 25.0
  T.J. Moss missed 1st of 2 free throws 25.0
  Personal foul on David Pierce 25.0
  Personal foul on Amidou Bamba 37.0
  Turnover on Amidou Bamba 37.0
Team Stats
Points 79 85
Field Goals 25-64 (39.1%) 25-58 (43.1%)
3-Pointers 11-23 (47.8%) 10-26 (38.5%)
Free Throws 18-23 (78.3%) 25-33 (75.8%)
Total Rebounds 40 34
Offensive 13 10
Defensive 23 22
Team 4 2
Assists 12 13
Steals 7 9
Blocks 3 12
Turnovers 18 16
Fouls 24 17
Technicals 0 0
24 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST
25 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo Chanticleers 4-4 413879
home team logo Gamecocks 4-3 503585
Team Stats
away team logo Chanticleers 4-4 76.3 PPG 39.5 RPG 13.1 APG
home team logo Gamecocks 4-3 72.7 PPG 40.2 RPG 12.9 APG
Key Players
40
Z. Cuthbertson F 18.2 PPG 8.2 RPG 2.5 APG 48.8 FG%
00
A. Lawson G 13.4 PPG 4.3 RPG 2.9 APG 41.1 FG%
Top Scorers
Z. Cuthbertson F 24 PTS 12 REB 3 AST
A. Lawson G 25 PTS 6 REB 2 AST
39.1 FG% 43.1
47.8 3PT FG% 38.5
78.3 FT% 75.8
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
Z. Cuthbertson 24 12 3 8/15 3/4 5/7 4 32 3 1 1 5 7
A. Sanders 8 3 3 2/7 2/3 2/2 2 24 0 0 2 1 2
A. Bamba 7 3 1 3/11 0/0 1/1 2 21 2 2 2 1 2
T. Gumbs-Frater 6 3 1 2/7 0/2 2/3 4 18 1 0 1 1 2
T. Brown 5 7 2 1/8 0/5 3/4 3 31 1 0 6 1 6
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
Z. Cuthbertson 24 12 3 8/15 3/4 5/7 4 32 3 1 1 5 7
A. Sanders 8 3 3 2/7 2/3 2/2 2 24 0 0 2 1 2
A. Bamba 7 3 1 3/11 0/0 1/1 2 21 2 2 2 1 2
T. Gumbs-Frater 6 3 1 2/7 0/2 2/3 4 18 1 0 1 1 2
T. Brown 5 7 2 1/8 0/5 3/4 3 31 1 0 6 1 6
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Pierce 10 1 0 3/6 3/5 1/2 5 21 0 0 4 0 1
T. Burton 10 5 0 3/6 0/1 4/4 1 19 0 0 2 4 1
D. Kralj 9 1 2 3/4 3/3 0/0 2 27 0 0 0 0 1
D. Jones 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
I. Hippolyte 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 5 0 0 0 0 1
J. Coleman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Lindsey - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Muse - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. LeGania - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Dibba - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 79 36 12 25/64 11/23 18/23 24 200 7 3 18 13 23
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Lawson 25 6 2 6/10 2/5 11/15 2 38 3 0 4 2 4
C. Silva 9 5 1 4/9 0/0 1/2 4 19 1 6 3 1 4
M. Kotsar 7 8 1 2/4 1/1 2/2 2 29 4 3 0 3 5
K. Bryant 7 4 1 3/8 0/0 1/1 2 17 0 1 2 3 1
T. Moss 4 4 0 1/8 1/5 1/2 0 25 0 0 0 0 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Lawson 25 6 2 6/10 2/5 11/15 2 38 3 0 4 2 4
C. Silva 9 5 1 4/9 0/0 1/2 4 19 1 6 3 1 4
M. Kotsar 7 8 1 2/4 1/1 2/2 2 29 4 3 0 3 5
K. Bryant 7 4 1 3/8 0/0 1/1 2 17 0 1 2 3 1
T. Moss 4 4 0 1/8 1/5 1/2 0 25 0 0 0 0 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
H. Gravett 23 2 4 7/10 4/7 5/7 3 34 0 0 2 0 2
F. Haase 7 2 2 1/6 1/6 4/4 2 23 0 1 2 0 2
T. Campbell 3 0 1 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 6 0 1 2 0 0
A. Frink 0 1 1 0/2 0/1 0/0 2 9 1 0 1 1 0
E. Hinson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Bolden - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Cudd - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Minaya - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Nelson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Couisnard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 85 32 13 25/58 10/26 25/33 17 200 9 12 16 10 22