Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gamecocks Storm To First Road Win Against Auburn

SEC Game Highlights                  Game Stats

South Carolina takes Auburn's best punch early to settle done and use defense and key perimeter shooting to down Auburn.  Darrin Horn turned on his patented Kamikaze defensive pressure to disrupt the Auburn tempo and all USC players provided offensive and defensive input to generate Carolina's first road win of the season in Auburn, Al 80-72.

After starting 7-0, the Tigers watched the Gamecocks reciprocate with a 7 point run to tie the game and USC's defense never allowed another serious run by Auburn.  The constant disruptive defensive pressure by USC caused several Tiger turnovers.  Steven Spinella found confidence in his perimeter shot and even attacked the interior, Sam Muldrow blocked or altered several shots, Austin Steed provided strong interior support with Johndre Jefferson.  Brandis Raley-Ross hit key perimeter shots in the second half to take pressure off Devan Downey who led all scorers with 33, 17 in the final 10 minutes after Auburn tied the score and threatened to make a game of it.

Auburn received great performances from DeWayne Reed (19 pts. and 8 assts.) and Brendon Knox ( 22 pts. and 7 rebs. on 9-11 shooting).

The key to the game eventually was Downey's late scoring surge, and good free throw shooting down the stretch.  Statistically this game was extremely close, with Auburn out rebounding the Cocks, but key plays such as 10 points and 5 offensive rebounds from Steed.  Horn needed a team effort and he got what what he ordered including a career high 7 points from Spinella.

Auburn (9-7) will likely finish near last in the SEC but the road win will at least give life to the challenge to winning games on the road against non-contending opponents, while trying to continue the home court dominance under Horn in collecting wins against as many visiting teams regardless of their record and national stature.  As always, a win is a win, especially in conference play.

Game Keys:

USC with 11 3-pointers versus 2 for Auburn, USC was 13-17 from the charity stripe with Auburn missing 10 free throws going 11-21 and USC scored 20 points off turnovers to 14 for the Tigers (with an 11-5 advantage in the second half). 

Horn placing a long and mobile Muldrow on the top of the zone, at times, to extend the defense and push the Auburn perimeter game away from desired spots, allowing the defensive rotation time recover on swing and skip passing.

Why are these game keys?  Because South Carolina was out rebounded 41-37, Auburn scored 52 points in the paint to 26 for USC, Auburn also led in second chance points 15-10 and fast break points 8-4.  USC caused 18 turnovers, but allowed 16 turnovers of their own.

Do the math, the 11-2 3-point margin between the teams becomes the actual margin of victory.  Don't want to forget the 2 long range shots made by Muldrow out of set plays on 2-3 shooting from the arch.

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