So it would be interesting to see how Frank Martin's team would play from the start. The fans in attendance at Colonial Life Arena found out quickly as the Bulldogs went out to a 10-2 lead as the Gamecocks had no answer for SC State forward Matthew Hezekiah. Hezekiah scored six of the Bulldogs first ten points.
Hezekiah briefly put the Bulldogs back up by one. But a Damien Leonard three pointer put the Gamecocks up for good. South Carolina would enter the half up eight, 37-29 after another Kacinas tip shot.
But other than Hezekiah, the Bulldogs didn't have really any other scoring options. The closest SC State would get to South Carolina was six points, 61-55 on a Patrick Myers jumper with a little more than seven minutes left.
The Gamecocks would pull away, scoring the next six straight points. A Brenton Williams three point play, followed by a Richardson three pointer put South Carolina up twelve, 67-55, with 6:41 left. The lead would grow as much as fourteen as the Gamecocks would end up winning 80-69.
Hezekiah was dominant, shooting 12 of 18 from the field for twenty four points. He also added fourteen rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. The only other player in double figures for the Bulldogs was Louis Adams, who scored eight of his twelve points from the free throw line.
Despite not having three of their top four scorers, South Carolina managed to still have four players in double figures scoring. Jackson led the Gamecocks with sixteen points and eight rebounds. Richardson scored fifteen points, Williams chipped in with fourteen points and Leonard added ten points. Kacinas nearly had a double double with nine points and ten rebounds. Eric Smith added seven assists for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks got their tenth win, matching the season total for last season. Now comes the teeth of the schedule, eighteen conference games. South Carolina needs to be at full strength come SEC play time. That starts Wednesday at Mississippi State.