Out of the middle of nowhere, out on the islands, South Carolina rose up to knock off previously unbeaten Saint Mary’s 78-71 in the Diamond Head Classic last night in Honolulu.
Tyrone Johnson scored 16 points to lead four Gamecocks in double figures as South Carolina shot a sizzling 58.3 percent from the floor. Johnson made six of nine shots. Laimonas Chatkevicius was five-of-six, Duane Notice was four-of-five and Demetrius Henry was three-of-five.
It was a rare impressive non-conference win for the SEC and an even better — not to mention surprising — one for Frank Martin’s club, which entered the game with a 2-5 mark.
In fact, South Carolina had lost three straight games — 79-52 at Oklahoma State, 86-68 at home to Manhattan and 74-68 at home to USC-Upstate.
Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s had won nine straight, including an 82-74 win over Boise State and a victory over a pretty good Akron team.
South Carolina now plays Boise State, a winner over Hawaii last night, at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 in a semifinal game of the tournament.
In the game before South Carolina-Saint Mary’s, President Obama and family showed up to watch Michelle’s brother Craig Robinson, the head coach at Oregon State, lose 83-71 to Akron. The President is spending the holidays in Hawaii.
Photos of South Carolina-Saint Mary’s and President Obama and family at Oregon State-Akron by Associated Press.
SEC men’s basketball results over weekend
Sunday, December 22
- South Carolina 78, Saint Mary’s (CA) 71
- Mississippi St. 71, USF 66
- Mercer 79, Ole Miss 76
- Auburn 77, Boston College 67
Saturday, December 21
- Arkansas 72, South Alabama 60
- Oklahoma 64, Texas A&M 52
- Xavier 77, Alabama 74
- Illinois 65, Missouri 64
- LSU 86, UAB 63
- Florida 66, Fresno St. 49
- Vanderbilt 76, Georgia Tech 63
- Georgia 65, W. Carolina 63
- Kentucky 93, Belmont 80
- Shocker! Gamecocks beat Saint Mary’s
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- Duke hands UK women first loss of season