COLUMBIA, S.C. (University of South Carolina) – Playing for the second time since Christmas, South Carolina (5-6) cruised to a 78-45 win in today’s rematch with Akron (6-5) at Colonial Life Arena behind a stellar day from senior guard Brent Williams who tied a career-high in 3-pointers (6) and field goal attempts (17) as he led all scorers with 24 points.
To go with Williams’ 6-9 shooting from beyond the arc, sophomore Michael Carrera chipped in a season-best 13 points as well as seven rebounds. Sophomore Mindaugas Kacinas also tallied double-figures on the afternoon with 11 points. Akron was led by Quincy Diggs who recorded 13 points .
After the Zips grabbed an early 4-0 lead, the Gamecocks quickly erased it from the 3-point line as Sindarius Thornwell and Williams hit back-to-back 3s to open up the game for Carolina.
Williams extend the lead to five just under five minutes into the game, but Akron hit a 7-0 spurt over the next three minutes as Deji Ibitayo collected five of five points during the run that gave the Zips a 14-12 lead.
After reclaiming the lead on a pair of free throws from Kacinas, the sophomore extended the lead to three with a lay-in after a strong drive through the lane from Duane Notice freed him up under the rim. A rebound on a his own missed free throw from Thornwell on the Gamecocks next possession allowed Carolina push the lead to 24-18. Notice collected one of his career-high six assists as he found Williams on the right side for an open 3.
Akron managed to cut the deficit to two with 1:46 remaining, but the strong shooting from Williams continued as the senior hit his third 3-pointer of the half. Williams ended the half with 11 points, hitting a season-high three 3’s as the Gamecocks took a 30-24 lead into the half.
South Carolina continued its first-half momentum into the second 20 minutes. After missing on its first two shots of the half, the Gamecocks raced out to a 17-1 run with six different players scoring in the opening eight-plus minutes of the half. The Gamecocks held the Zips to 0-6 from field during the stretch as they pushed the lead to 47-25 with 12:24 remaining in the game.
After Pat Forsythe hit a jumper to end the drought for the Zips, Williams connected on his fourth and fifth 3s of the afternoon on back-to-back possessions to give the Gamecocks a 53-27 lead with 10:49 left.
With just over eight minutes remaining, the Gamecocks went on an 11-0 run starting with Carrera passing his season-high mark with his 13th point of the day. The three-minute stretch also saw Kacinas score four of his 11 points as the Gamecocks took a 69-35 lead.
The 33-point win for the Gamecocks was keyed by a season-high 20 assists to only seven turnovers. Four days ago, Carolina had 12-10 ratio against Zips in its 10-point win at the Diamond Head Classic.
The Gamecocks had a strong performance defensively on the afternoon as they turned the Zips over 21 times and held them to 13-40 (32.5 percent) from the field. Carolina finished the day shooting 28-63 (44.4 percent), going 8-15 (53.3 percent) from 3.