Thornwell can't take down LSU alone

Thornwell can't take down LSU alone

For Gamecock basketball fans taking a break from the miserable, rainy Saturday afternoon in Columbia to see the 7-7 men's hoops squad take on the 9-4 LSU Tigers, freshman star Sindarius Thornwell did his best to entertain with 13 first half points out of the gate.

However, the toughest task proved to be competing with the towering LSU front line, who were undoubtedly intimidating when they stepped onto the court draped in their purple and gold trimmed uniforms at Colonial Life arena against the shorter and leaner Gamecocks. Although South Carolina and coach Frank Martin couldn't find an answer to get more rebounds in the first half, Thornwell kept them in the game by scoring inside and out.

LSU's 6-9 256 lb Johnny O'Bryant III, who scored 30 points and snagged 10 rebounds with his gigantic arms in last year's contest when the teams squared off, was impressively kept in check with only 2 points and 2 rebounds in the first half.

If it weren't for Gamecock starters Duane Notice and Demetrius Henry each getting 2 fouls in the first 2 minutes and 10 seconds of the game, South Carolina easily could have led instead of trailing 32-30 at intermission. LSU did find a big offensive boost from the skilled 6-9 241 lb freshman Jarell Martin who netted 11 points going into the break.

Thornwell stayed hot early on in the 2nd half, but LSU's powerful O'Bryant III also started to heat up as did the Tiger guards from 3 point range. An eager and surprisingly lively crowd at Colonial Life Arena did its best to keep the Gamecocks in the game, but only Thornwell responded. The 6-5 Thornwell thrashed the LSU defense to finish with 25 points, but LSU held off the feisty South Carolina team and will head home to Baton Rouge with a 71-68 victory.

Jarell Martin led the Tigers with 18 points, but it was the clutch rebounding late in the game from O'Bryant III that did the Gamecocks in. LSU could have kept South Carolina at a greater distance, but they struggled from the free throw line all afternoon.

The Tigers even their conference mark at 1-1, 10-4 overall, while the Gamecocks drop to 0-2 in the SEC, 7-8 overall and continue to look for answers.

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