Following up on the football team’s beat down of CTU last week, the basketball team kept the ball rolling against the Tigers with a 59-56 road victory yesterday afternoon. Before we reflect on the game, let’s take a minute to review the performance of our major men’s sports teams against our “rivals” from the upstate during 2011:
- Baseball – check (won season series, again)
- Football – check (see aforementioned beat down reference)
- Basketball – check and mate
That’s right, I said basketball. After losing to the likes of Elon and Tennessee State in the early season, things didn’t look good for Darrin Horn’s young charges entering the game at Littlejohn. In fact, I think most Gamecock fans (let’s be honest, all Gamecock fans) pretty much chalked this one up as a L. Having just whipped the Tigers in football, most of us were fairly content with things, and were resigned to the fact that beating CTU on the road was basically an impossible task for what has appeared (again, let’s be honest) to be a bad, bad basketball team.
Well, shame on us. Someone forgot to tell Bruce Ellington and the rest of our guys that they weren’t supposed to win. In what was an ugly basketball game from both sides, the Gamecocks made the plays down the stretch and managed to pull out the win. Big shots in the final couple of minutes by Anthony Gill and Eric Smith, and a strong overall game from Demontre Harris, propelled the Gamecocks to victory. This win gives guard/wide receiver Ellington two wins over CTU in eight days (h/t to willy_t_smith on Twitter for this tidbit), a feat likely unparalleled in the history of the “rivalry.”
We at TRC would like to give a shout out to Coach Horn’s wife Carla for her enthusiasm and support of the team. Carla got lots of TV face time late in the game and seemed to will the ball into the hoop when the Gamecocks were shooting critical free throws down the stretch.
Here’s hoping that this victory can serve to energize this young team into some improved play. There are definitely some positives to build on: our lead guard (and unquestioned leader) is back; Gill is a player with obvious high D-1 skills who can play inside and outside; Harris is capable of being an effective SEC post presence-especially on D; and Malik Cooke has shown himself capable of shouldering the scoring load on occasion.
But let’s get back to the “rivalry”…..
This victory gives that Gamecocks a season sweep of baseball (season series), football, and basketball for the second consecutive year. We at TRC find this very satisfying to say the least. At this rate, we may want to rethink the “rivalry” term. Looks more like a “domination” to us.