South Carolina defeats South Carolina State 82-75

CHRIS DEARING
The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Brenton Williams scored 19 points and Ty Johnson added 17 points to lead four players in double figures as South Carolina earned a 82-75 victory over South Carolina State Friday night.

Williams and Johnson took control after the Bulldogs erased a 15-point deficit to tie the game at 60 with 7:02 remaining in the game. The duo each scored five points during a 13-5 run that gave the Gamecocks a 73-65 lead with 3:28 remaining. South Carolina State (4-9) would not get closer than seven points the rest of the way as the Gamecocks made 14-of-17 free throws in the final ten minutes, including 12-of-15 after the score was tied.

South Carolina looked like it would cruise its fifth game in six outings as they jumped to a 44-33 advantage at the break. The Gamecocks took control with a 14-3 run over a six-minute span. Williams started the run with a 3-pointer and scored five points during the spurt. Johnson also connected on a 3-pointer as four players contributed during the run.

But the Bulldogs opened the second half on a 17-7 spurt to pull within one, 51-50, in the opening six minutes. They connected on 7-of-8 field goals to get back in it. South Carolina State had a chance to take its first lead but a 3-pointer by Koran Wright rimmed out.

The Bulldogs eventually tied the score at 60 on a dunk by Devin Joint with 7:02 remaining. That is when Williams and Johnson took control for the Gamecocks.

Notice had 13 points and eight assists and Demetrius Henry recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina (7-6) closes its non-conference portion of the schedule by winning five of six games after opening the season 2-5. They travel to Florida to open SEC play on Wednesday, January 8.

Matthew Hezekiah scored 18 points to lead South Carolina State. Theron Stephens added 15 and Darryl Palmer chipped in 12 points for the Bulldogs.

South Carolina will play the rest of the season without senior Bruce Ellington. The Moncks Corner, S.C. native doubled as a wide receiver on the football team and announced his attentions to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Ellington played in 80 basketball games during his career, including three games this season. He averaged 11.3 points per game, 3.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds over his career.