John Whittle (247sports.com) – Original Article
South Carolina battled back for a 77-66 victory over USF on Saturday afternoon on the road. The Gamecocks (9-1) were down at halftime, but came out sharp in the second half to take control of the game. Watch the video below of the full press conference with head coach Frank Martin and sophomore PJ Dozier, or check out the notes below.
“We kind of played the first half like someone took our dog. We didn’t have the enthusiasm and the fight that we’ve played with every single day out there. I’m equally as pleased, because I think we grew up a lot in the second half as a basketball team. Different guys were doing things.”
“PJ continues to grow as a player and do unbelievable things for us. He’s got God-given ability that has to impact our team in a great way for us to be a great team and he continues to grow into that.”
Martin noted that Maik Kotsar played some three position in the game because of the suspension to Sindarius Thornwell and injury to Hassani Gravett. … “We have to figure out now with the team that’s actually on the court for us how to keep our identity. Our identity is our enthusiasm, a relentless approach defensively. That’s what gives them the life to play aggressively on offense. You think about our game, we had open shots in the first half we didn’t make. Defensively, we had no juice and didn’t rebound. They attacked us and had us on our heels. It was like a boxer in the last minute of a round who is groggy; luckily we made it into halftime to be able to sit down and recompose ourselves.”
“Duane jumping up making that first one (in the second half), him being a senior, kind of gave everyone a little enthusiasm.”
“Growth starts with confidence. Last year, it wasn’t there. I didn’t have the trust in the coaching staff because I’d come out, do the same things, make freshman mistakes. I have a lot of work to do and need to keep progressing. … I need to continue to grow as a player and continue to help the team.”
“We weren’t playing Gamecock basketball. We make offense out of our defense and we weren’t doing that the first half. We went into the locker room at halftime, Coach gave us the word we needed, and we came out with intensity in the second half.”