South Carolina Warriors

South Carolina Warriors take down East Point in opener

mmckinnon@thesunnews.comNovember 9, 2012 

— The South Carolina Warriors held a 45 point lead at halftime on Thursday, and overwhelmed the East Point (Ga.) Jaguars 137-97 in the home opener.

Warriors coach John Kefalas had mixed emotions about the team’s first game.

“We played great in the first half, we gave up only 30 points,” Kefalas said. “We gave up 67 in the second half so we didn’t play as well. I know it’s our first game, but our defense wasn’t good tonight.

“When we did our inside-out game, we did well,” he added. “But we got out of it and started shooting too many shots from outside. We won the game, but we made a lot of mistakes.”

Veteran Marquise Gainous had an explanation for those mistakes.

“When you get up by so much, its kind of tough to keep playing hard,” Gainous said. “That’s not an excuse to give up so many points so we have to keep playing solid from beginning to end.”

Despite the mistakes, South Carolina’s offense was tremendous. Point guard Sherod Harris led the way with with 16 points and 13 assists.

“He play pretty well but he also made some mistakes on defense,” Kefalas said of Harris. “But all-in-all he did a good job leading the team.”

Harris showed gratitude towards his teammates.

“It was because of the team that I had a lot of assists so I have to thank my team, really,” Harris said.

Gainous had 15 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks off the bench, good for the team’s only other double-double of the night.

“I brought him off the bench tonight because I wanted to get these young guys some experience,” Kefalas said of Gainous. “He came off the bench and did a good job, but he’s the team veteran [so that’s expected].”

Dustin Scott was the Warriors’ leading scorer with 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting, and added four rebounds and five assists. Kellen Brand scored 21 points with three rebounds and three assists. Tim Ware added 12 points, and Matt Kendrick had 14 points for South Carolina.

The Warriors outscored the Jaguars 80-38 in the paint, and outrebounded them 56-37.

“We had a size advantage against them so we used that to our ability in the paint,” Gainous said.

South Carolina also forced 30 turnovers and scored 47 points off those turnovers.

“Usually the team that turns the ball over less, wins the game,” Harris said. “When another team turns the ball over, you want to capitalize and that’s what we did.”

The Jaguars, regardless of being an hour and a half late to the game due to issues with the team’s van, played with spirit. Jaquas Dobbs led the team with 25 points and Carl Jackson added 24.

“They played hard and they only had seven guys,” Gainous said of East Point. “They came out and played their hardest from the jump. We got a little lackadaisical at the end but we have to continue to play hard for 48 minutes.”

Said Kefalas: “We got lazy in the second half but again, it’s our first game and these kids are still learning to play together. We got some new guys but once we put the chemistry together, we’ll be fine. I just don’t like to give up so many points.”

Contact MAX McKINNON at 444-1767.

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