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South Carolina out to avoid missteps vs. upset-minded Winthrop


South Carolina is building a solid foundation for this season, but coach Lamont Paris is aware that upsets are taking place around the country.

He’s looking for his team to avoid that situation when Winthrop visits Tuesday night in Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina (9-1) has won nine of its first 10 games in a season for only the sixth time in program history, and the first time in seven years.

“In the landscape of college basketball, there’s a lot of teams out there, some of them have a little number next to their name and wish they could have a do-over against a team that everybody thought they should beat,” Paris said.

The Gamecocks struggled at times in Saturday’s 73-69 home victory against Charleston Southern. Winthrop will be the second straight Big South Conference opponent for South Carolina.

“We certainly made some defensive mistakes, but I don’t think more than what we have in some really good defensive games that we’ve had,” Paris said.

One key for South Carolina has been good ball security. It has finished with a single-digit turnover total in seven of its games, including six straight.

South Carolina’s Meechie Johnson has averaged 21.8 points per game in the last five outings.

Yet it’s time for the Gamecocks to get better, and this week offers a good opportunity for that.

“What we want to do is not just tweak everything for the next opponent,” Paris said. “We do a lot of self-scouting. What I’m most concerned about is what does our product look like when we go into SEC play? What does it look like? Can we continue to fine tune it?”

Winthrop (8-4) had a four-game winning streak end in a 75-59 loss Saturday at Xavier. Two of the Eagles’ other setbacks also came on the road to teams from power conferences, falling to Clemson and Georgia.

K.J. Doucet leads Winthrop with 14.2 points per game, one of four players averaging double figures.

“They’re great kids,” Winthrop coach Mark Prosser told the Rock Hill Herald this month. “We were able to recruit and welcome them in to a locker room of other really great kids. They’re very selfless and with a deep team, like I think that we have, on any given night, it could really be anybody.

Winthrop has attempted more free throws than its opponents in all 12 games.

–Field Level Media

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