COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Sindarius Thornwell had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead South Carolina past cold-shooting and 25th-ranked Michigan 61-46 on Wednesday night.
The Gamecocks improved to 5-0 for a second straight season and knocked off their first ranked opponent since an 81-78 win at No. 8 Texas A&M last February. South Carolina got a big assist in this one from Michigan’s awful outside touch – it finished 10 of 52 (19.6 percent) for its worst shooting percentage in six years.
It was the first time the Wolverines (4-1) hadn’t reached 50 points since scoring 42 in a loss to Eastern Michigan on Dec. 9, 2014.
The Wolverines scored more points from the free throw line, 24, than the field. They hit just two of 26 attempts from behind the arc.
South Carolina took control with a 22-12 run to start the second half and the Gamecocks were never tested as Michigan kept missing.
Zak Irvin, Michigan’s leading scorer, was just 2 of 13 from the field for five points. He fouled out with 5:33 to go. Derrick Walton Jr. led the Wolverines with 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Duane Notice added 13 points for the Gamecocks.
THE BIG PICTURE
Michigan: The Wolverines are in the bottom half of Big Ten shooting teams early on and it was easy to see why against South Carolina. Michigan was just 6 of 24 from the field in the opening half, including an ice cold 1 of 12 from behind the arc. If it weren’t for its talent for drawing fouls (Michigan made 14 first-half free throws), the Wolverines would have been in a deep, deep hole. Michigan will have to find a more consistent touch if it hopes to make a mark in conference play.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ young players – there were four freshmen and a sophomore who saw first-half action – were aggressive on defense, maybe a bit too aggressive in the first half. South Carolina was whistled for 11 fouls, putting Michigan’s accurate free throw shooters on the line. At one point, Gamecocks coach Frank Martin screamed, “Why?” at PJ Dozier after his silly foul following his missed shot.
Michigan starts a four-game home stand with Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday night.
South Carolina takes on its second-straight ranked opponent when it plays No. 18 Syracuse on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.