South Carolina 65, Detroit 35
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)—Renaldo Balkman scored 14 points and Brandon Wallace added 10 points and seven rebounds as South Carolina used its best defensive performance in 34 years to beat Detroit 65-35 Saturday.
The Gamecocks (8-4) forced 17 turnovers, blocked 10 shots and held the Titans (6-8) to 27.1 percent shooting (13-of-48). No Detroit player scored in double-figures and the Titans trailed the whole way.
It was the best defensive night for South Carolina since losing to Maryland 31-30 in overtime in January 1971 in a game that was 4-3 at halftime.
Detroit was flat starting both halves, falling behind 12-1 at the start and letting the Gamecocks score the first nine points of the second half to take a 31-15 lead.
Just when it looked like the Titans might crawl back into it like they did in the first half, Tre Kelley closed the door with two 3-pointers to give South Carolina a 37-22 lead.
The only drama left for the rest of the game was whether Detroit would top the 40-point mark. A missed layup on a two-on-one break for the Titans with just under a minute to go made sure of that.
Except for a few stretches by South Carolina, both teams played ugly. The Titans, who had 10 turnovers in the first half, played worse as the game wore on. Back-to-back dunks by Balkman followed by two straight slams by Brandon Wallace put the Gamecocks ahead 56-33 with just under three minutes to go.
Detroit even struggled to get the ball in bounds, having to call a time-out with 3:12 left in the game after four players ran to the other end of the court after a South Carolina basket.
The Gamecocks made mistakes, too, and exasperated coaches boomed across a quiet, three-quarters empty Colonial Center.
Torvoris Baker led Detroit with nine points and nine rebounds, while Ben Green also scored nine for the Titans.
Kelley had nine points and Rocky Trice and Tarence Kinsey each added eight for South Carolina.