COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Christian Jones scored 18 points in his homecoming as Stetson beat a Southeastern Conference school for the first time since 2004 with a 63-56 victory over South Carolina on Monday.
The Gamecocks (8-5) had looked to build off its last outing, a 70-59 win at defending national champion Virginia on Dec. 22. Instead, South Carolina was stung by Jones, a Columbia native who played high school basketball with Gamecock coach Frank Martin‘s son Brandon before joining the Hatters (6-9).
Jones had two 3-pointers and was 10-of-13 from the foul line in Stetson’s first victory against an SEC team since defeating Georgia 56-52 on Dec. 29, 2004.
South Carolina cut the Hatters’ 13-point second-half lead to 51-49 after Justin Minaya’s 3-pointer with 5:22 to play.
But Kenny Aninye hit two foul shots and Jahlil Rawley a 3-pointer to extend Stetson’s edge. The Gamecocks could not respond.
South Carolina had the past eight days off since stunning Virginia – and it showed.
The Gamecocks missed seven of eight shots as the Hatters took off on a 16-6 run midway through the opening half for a 28-19 lead.
Rawley began the surge with a basket, Rob Perry scored five points in the run and Jones hit two foul shots for the Hatters’ large lead.
Maik Kotsar led the Gamecocks with 11 points.KEY STATS
> South Carolina was just 4-of-19 from 3-point range (21.1%) and 12-of-24 (50.0%) from the foul line
> Stetson scored 18 points off of 15 Gamecock turnovers in the contest
> Senior forward Maik Kotsar scored 11 points for his eighth double-figure scoring game of the season. Kotsar also collected three steals vs. Stetson, his second-straight game with three takeaways.
> Rookie guard Trae Hannibal scored a season high eight points in matching a season high with 19 minutes of action vs. Stetson.
> R-sophomore forward Justin Minaya pulled down a team high nine rebounds, marking the fourth time this season he has led or shared the team lead in rebounds.
> South Carolina begins SEC action on Jan. 7 when it hosts former SEC East foe Florida at Colonial Life Arena. Tip time for the matchup is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.