South Carolina captures snow-delayed win 65-59
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)
The Gamecocks (9-15, 2-9) have only won twice in the Southeastern Conference, both times in games when the campus was closed because of snow in the South. The other victory was over Texas A&M on Jan. 29th, the day after winter weather snarled traffic and coated lawns.
Duane Notice's 3-pointer with 13:59 left put South Carolina ahead for good. Thornwell added a 3-pointer moments later to start a 17-5 run as the Gamecocks took control.
Brenton Williams added 14 points for South Carolina and Notice 10.
It was the second straight loss for Vanderbilt (13-10, 5-6).
Kyle Fuller led the Commodores with 20 points. Freshman center Damian Jones had 16 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks for Vanderbilt.
The Gamecocks held Vanderbilt's top scorer, reigning SEC player of the week Rod Odom, to 3-of-9 shooting for 10 points, five fewer than his season's average.
South Carolina moved in front 58-45 on Brian Steele's fast-break finish with 3:58 to go. Vanderbilt put together a final charge with seven straight points to draw within 58-52 on Odom's 3-pointer.
But Thornwell added a foul shot and a bucket to restore the big margin and South Carolina closed things out.
The snow-delayed, mid-afternoon game brought a middle-school feel to the 18,000-seat arena. There was no pep band, dance squad or cheerleaders as campus was closed for a second day because of the winter storm. The squeak of sneakers at times was the most prominent sound as the 1,000-or-so fans watched the contest.
The game needed an afternoon start so Vanderbilt could return to Nashville - the Commodores play Saturday afternoon at home - without further weather complications.
Both coaches were antsy to get this started and their teams played that way early on. The action was end-to-end, but so were the misses: South Carolina opened 5-of-14 shooting with just one more field goal than Vanderbilt, which went 4 of 15.
The Gamecocks built a five-point lead early and never gave it up, although the Commodores closed the half with Fuller's driving layup with less than a second left in the half to head to the locker room down 28-27.
Notice, the Gamecocks freshman point guard, struggled in shooting while matched with Fuller a senior. Notice was 1 of 7, although he limited Fuller into a 3-of-11 showing from the field in the opening half.
Rod Odom was held to just two points off two shots from the field. Jones, the 6-foot-10 freshman center, picked up the team's slack with 11 points and four boards the first 20 minutes.
Vanderbilt was looking to rebound from its last game, a disappointing loss to Arkansas.