The OP Stat of the Game: Jerai Grant 11 reb, 12pts.
After crawling back from the ledge, OP donned the orange suede and Tigers stepped up at home to defeat the gamecocks.
While is isn't enough to atone for the loss last night in the ACCCG, nor the football loss to USC, it was a big step forward for the Tigers who did not give up after record-breaking collapse against Illinois.
Today, several players responded to a challenge, namely, Jerai Grant. While part of this is because of the attention paid to T. Booker on the inside, Jerai was more aggressive and efficient with his touches. He let the game come to him. Good for the Tigers, bad for the cox, and hopefully for future opponents as well. IF we continue to hit on the outside and have a double-sided inside presence, Booker will be able to re-establish his singular position on the inside.
Today was a big game, especially psychologically. OP and the Tigers responded well. USC kept it close, but they were not deep enough, nor strong enough today to hang. Devan Downey's uncharacteristically poor play, combined with the changing defenses, not just the solid full-court Tiger press, forced other USC players to try to step up.
Stitt played a solid game against Downey and proved why is a starter- his defense. Of course when you think that is all he has, Stitt turns in a 14 point game, just as Tanner Smith did.
The Tigers again played as a team. Even with Booker being held in check on the offensive and rebounding sides, he was able to pass the ball adroitly.
Of Trevor and the team's performance, OP wants Booker to touch the ball each trip down the court and thinks this performance will prove to the Tigers that "if you throw it into him, you're going to get some open looks."
While this was not a big win in terms of ACC standing, national standing, etc. It was big because it go the Tigers back on track and was a big psychological mountain that was scaled. In the past, when the Tigers would do the collapse, it would be a big slide, not just a one game skid.
Today's game hopefully proved otherwise.
Now, for some time off, a light pre-ACC/late-year schedule before it's on.