Sunday, January 17, 2010

Downey Not Enough Against Vandy, USC Suffers 1st SEC Loss

Game Stats        Highlight Video

Devan Downey was unstoppable for the third straight ballgame, but that was not the case for the remainder of the Gamecocks squad.  Downey was responsible for 55% of the USC (11-6, 2-1) offense, his season high 35 points, 4 assists and 6 steals would beat many teams, but Vanderbilt (14-3, 3-0) was very efficient offensively shooting 61% for the game and out rebounded the Cocks 40-23 and limiting the Gamecocks to only 19 second chance points to 26 for the Commodores. Vandy won 89-79.  At the end of the day, Vandy was just to long, deep and efficient for the smaller shorthanded Gamecocks team.  A.J. Ogilvy quietly scored 22 points on 7-8 shooting from the field and 8-13 shooting from the charity stripe, 18 of those points in the second half.  Ogilvy also pulled down 9 rebounds.  Andre Walker also added 10 rebounds in helping the visitors maintain control of a game that found the Cocks down by as many as 17 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.  The 5'9" Downey also led the Gamecocks in rebounding with 5 of the team's 23.

The Gamecocks' defense continued to generate turnovers, causing 20 Vandy mistakes converted to 25 USC points, but that was the only other bright spot for the Cocks as they never really threatened to overcome the advantages of their SEC foe from Nashville.  Downey shot the ball extremely well; 12-21 from the field, 3-6 from 3-point range and 8-9 from the free throw line.  Head Coach Darrin Horn will have to find a way to get better shooting than the remaining 16-43 (38%) shooting from the rest of the team, which included transition scoring by Lakeem Jackson who scored 11 points 10 in the paint on 5-7 shooting and 1-4 from the line.  Ultimately it came down to size and depth, as the 6'9" Jeffery Taylor scored 16 points on 6-9 shooting for the Commodores, along with balanced performances from all players who logged minutes.

Coach Horn stated, "We've been talking for weeks now about how important it is for everyone to play well and bring what they can bring for us to have a chance to win ball games. Tonight that wasn't the case. It starts on the defensive end. You won't beat anyone when they shoot 61 percent against you. There were things we did well and spots we played with the energy and aggressiveness we need to have, but it wasn't enough. That's the bottom line. We need to have a complete performance. Collectively we weren't good defensively tonight to give ourselves a chance to win."

The defense can continue to keep games in reach and respectable, but it requires offense in the half court to get the Gamecocks over the hurdle to win enough games in the conference to make this a successful season and possibly enter post season play.  The conference guard play in the upper half of the league is too good to turn the ball over enough to allow a one-man scoring performance to win games.

Game Notes:

Sam Muldrow was only 3-13 from the field.

Vanderbilt was 6-13 from three point range.

All nine players entering the game scored multiple baskets for Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt received 30 points from its' bench, while USC scored 7 points with its' bench.

USC only committed 12 turnovers.

Averaging over 8 blocks a game going into the game, USC only blocked 3 shots, while Vandy blocked 7.

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