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Aggie men's basketball team loses to South Carolina - Aggie Sports: Mens Basketball

Aggie men's basketball team loses to South Carolina

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 12:32 am, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina's Duane Notice is steadily gaining attention for his skills at the point. Then again, the freshman had little choice with the problems that developed at that spot.

Notice, the 6-foot-2 freshman, has filled in nicely in place of injured Tyrone Johnson and off-to-the-NFL Bruce Ellington. On Wednesday, Notice scored a career-high 19 points to help South Carolina end its 0-6 Southeastern Conference start with an 80-52 victory over Texas A&M on Wednesday night.

Notice figured to see time at shooting guard, where he's much more comfortable, until the Gamecocks lost Johnson to a fractured foot and senior Ellington to the NFL draft. That left coach Frank Martin needing Notice's ball handling and leadership to blossom in a hurry.

"The learning curve has been tremendous," Notice said. "I couldn't tell the future -- that Bruce would go to the NFL or that Ty would get injured. Even though it's not my natural position, it's what I have to do for the team to help us win."

The Gamecocks (8-12, 1-6) hadn't done much of that the past few weeks. Their last victory before this was Jan. 3 against South Carolina State and they were on the verge of tagging Martin with his longest losing streak as a college head coach.

But South Carolina came out fast, built a 10-point lead in the first six minutes and rarely looked back.

"That was the story of the game, really," A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. "Their guards out-physicaled us and made plays at the rim that we didn't make."

Sindarius Thornwell, another freshman, had 19 points while Brenton Williams had 18 points off four 3-pointers.

"It does feel good," said Williams, the team's lone senior. "We knew it was coming eventually."

Jamal Jones and Shawn Smith had nine points apiece for A&M, which has lost four straight since defeating South Carolina 75-67 on Jan. 15.

Johnson was lost in that contest when an official accidently stepped on his foot. He had surgery days later and comes to games on crutches. Ellington's steady hand was expected to spend plenty of time directing the games, but the two-sport standout -- Ellington led the football Gamecocks in receiving this season -- gave up his senior seasons in both sports to train for May's NFL draft.

Martin says Notice has worked to quicken the transition and become a more instinctive leader. Notice was as vocal and focused as he'd been all year in practice this week, the coach said. "He played like a point guard tonight," Martin said.

The Gamecocks came into this one struggling at nearly all aspects of the game. They were last in SEC rebounding and near the bottom in league offense and defense. They had tied the school worst with an 0-6 start and the six-game losing streak matched the longest ever in Martin's seven seasons as a head coach.

A&M started the second half with a 13-5 run to cut the Gamecocks' 20-point halftime lead to 46-34. It had the chance to cut further into the lead, but Shawn Smith missed a layup and Notice followed with a three-point play. The Aggies made it 50-37 on Fabyon Harris' 3-pointer, then Notice connected on a second three-point play as part of a 17-4 South Carolina run over the next seven minutes that locked up the game.

The Aggies were cold and mistake prone in the opening half. They shot 33 percent (7 of 21) and committed 10 turnovers. They also got outmuscled under the boards by the Gamecocks, 20-11.

A&M got in Tuesday before the brunt of the southern snowstorm reached the state's capital city. The effects, though, were seen at Colonial Life Arena where there were no cheerleaders or pep band since the South Carolina campus was closed because of icy roads.

The weather didn't stop Gamecock football coach Steve Spurrier from attending. He sat for a time with A&M athletic director Eric Hyman, who held the same job at South Carolina until leaving for the Aggies in the summer of 2012.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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4 comments:

  • mart80 posted at 2:48 pm on Thu, Jan 30, 2014.

    mart80 Posts: 1885

    Not sure which direction Kennedy has them going..I truly believe after watching this year, there seems to be a lack of talent, compared to players on other teams. Its hard to coach up a player , that probably about as good as he is going to be. " It is, what it is". I work with people with Parkinson's, most are sharp as a tack, medications slow the shaking, but doesn't in most part effect their cognitive abilities. So in essence, I don't believe the disease is interfering with coaching. Their like anyone else, they have good and bad days. Kennedy, just didn't start coaching yesterday. He has had some good teams, but I believe he probably had the "talent" to go with it. He is recruiting well, considering, he doesn't have a top notch team at this point. Just my perspective.

     
  • RJ posted at 2:35 pm on Thu, Jan 30, 2014.

    RJ Posts: 1069

    Hey Jay, your not thinking. First of all Sumlin took over from the "Loser Sherman", went to the SEC West, won 2 bowl games. Kennedy took over a team that went to the NCAA's, and he has taken the team "Downhill". Look at what Billy G did his 3rd year in a much tougher BB conference. I gave Kennedy a break the first 2 years, but this year with no emotion, no leadership, he needs to go!!

     
  • JayP posted at 1:42 pm on Thu, Jan 30, 2014.

    JayP Posts: 4

    I think Coach Kennedy is getting far too much criticism. We need to remember that he came into a situation where his best player went into the draft and other key players sustained injury--not to mention dealing with his health own issue. Last year, he had a one man team because Turgeon didn't recruit at all. This year he's getting some of his players on the court, but they are young and without a point guard. Add to that, he has no reliable post player and the one he was expecting to have (Trocha) isn't eligible this year. The team isn't performing up to our hopes, but neither did the football team if we're honest. This was supposed to be the BCS or national championship year, but we lost FOUR games. Our defense was terrible, but no one was/is saying Sumlin can't coach or needs to go. Instead, we said the defense is young and the recruiting is good so the future looks bright. Why aren't we giving Kennedy the same grace and courtesy? He's recruiting well (next year Alex Robinson, Sidy N'dir, Trocha, Jalen Jones) and more experience should help the current players (just like we say with the football team's D). Right now, Kennedy has no players on the roster capable of carrying the team during a tough stretch. Ask yourself where the football team would have been this year without Johnny and his heroics? Would we have beaten Duke without that guy who carried the team on his back while yelling, "Take it! Take it!"? I say no, we would have been 8-5 at best and still would have given Sumlin the benefit of the doubt for next year. We have a good basketball coach who has class and integrity. Unlike Turgeon, his players graduate. He cares for his players and A&M. He needs another year to build his program. Character matters, Ags. Let's show some and get off Coach Kennedy's back. Gig'Em!

     
  • RJ posted at 7:54 am on Thu, Jan 30, 2014.

    RJ Posts: 1069

    After that performance ( S..... Show) Hyman should of taken a page out of USC's AD Pat Hayden play book and met the plane at Easterwood Airport, pulled Kennedy off to the side and said "Your Fired", go home and take care of your health and family. Losing like they did to a team with no SEC wins ranks up there with Sherman's loss to Ark. State and Fran's 70 plus loss to OU. Men's BB is the worse sports program in all of A&M Athletics!!

     
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