South Carolina 75, W. Carolina 50

Freshman Anthony Gill scored 14 points in his debut to lead

South Carolina to a 72-50 win over Western Carolina on Friday night

in the season opener for both teams.

South Carolina leaned on its newcomers of Gill and junior

college transfer Brenton Williams, who added 13 points. All 10

Gamecocks who played also scored.

The Gamecocks made 30-of-59 shots, the first time they have shot

better than 50 percent in 17 games.

Western Carolina turned the ball over 19 times. Trey Sumler and

Harouna Mutombo each led the Catamounts with 11 points.

South Carolina started off missing six of its first seven shots,

but the Gamecocks didn’t struggle much after that. South Carolina

started pressing Western Carolina about midway through the first

half, leading to two quick buckets by Williams and a time-out from

the Catamounts, who won their division in the Southern Conference

last season.

Western Carolina then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the

game at 16 with nine minutes left in the first half, but the

Gamecocks finished the half on a 19-9 run.

By the second half, it was highlight time for the Gamecocks.

Gill had an alley-oop that turned into a layup that put South

Carolina up 63-40 with 6:26 to go. Brian Richardson brought the

sparse crowd to its feet with a one-handed jam with 4:45 left that

put the Gamecocks up by 24 points.

South Carolina got plenty of help from everyone. Nine of the 10

players who played at least 10 minutes scored as coach Darrin Horn

shifted line-ups and wasn’t afraid to substitute out his entire

team. The Gamecocks bench scored 38 points.

South Carolina won its 11th straight opener, while Western

Carolina fell to 0-8 against the Gamecocks. Western Carolina coach

Larry Hunter was denied his 600th career win.

The Gamecocks went 14-16 last season, losing nine of their last

10. Then came an offseason full of turmoil. Leading scorer Bruce

Ellington decided to moonlight on the football field, meaning he’d

miss several games.

Expected starter Murphy Holloway transferred away without ever

taking the court. South Carolina was picked to finish last in the

Southeastern Conference.