GAME NOTES: The streaking Manhattan Jaspers hope to continue their winning ways on Tuesday night, as they visit the South Carolina Gamecocks for a non- conference showdown at Colonial Life Arena.
The Jaspers got a four-game road swing off on the right foot with a 77-72 triumph over UNC Wilmington on Sunday. The win was the fourth straight for the Jaspers, who have had no problem picking up victories on the road. Manhattan is a perfect 6-0 away from home. The Jaspers play the third leg of the trip at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against Buffalo on Saturday.
The Gamecocks haven't been on the court much this season, having only played five games. South Carolina is 2-3, with the most recent clash coming on the road against No. 7 Oklahoma State on Dec. 6. The Gamecocks didn't fare well in that matchup, falling in a 79-52 final. The loss was the third in the last four games for the Gamecocks, who will head to Honolulu for the Diamond Head Classic beginning this weekend.
This is the second straight year these teams have met, and it was the Gamecocks who captured a 63-57 triumph last season. The win was the fourth in five all-time meetings for South Carolina.
George Beamon scored a game-high 23 points and the Jaspers converted their field goals at a 48 percent clip in both halves to pull off the win over UNC Wilmington. The Jaspers also enjoyed a 24-17 scoring advantage from the free- throw line, and a 38-32 edge in points in the paint.
Beamon (20.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) has recovered nicely after missing most of last season due to injury. The 6-foot-4 swingman is not only on pace to set a career-high in scoring, but in rebounding as well. Beamon has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, and has had at least 23 points in all but three. Beamon doesn't get a ton of help though as Michael Alvarado (11 ppg, 3.8 apg) is the only other player averaging in double figures. Alvarado is definitely a pass-first player though as he leads the team in assists. Rhamel Brown (9.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 4.1 bpg) is also more known for his efforts outside of scoring as he is fifth in the country in blocked shots.
A miserable first half sank South Carolina against Oklahoma State the last time out. The Gamecocks had only four field goals on 20 percent shooting over the first 20 minutes as they entered halftime trailing, 39-15. USC also turned the ball over 24 times and was outscored, 33-11, off takeaways.
The Gamecocks have been one of the worst teams in the SEC in terms of turnovers this season, the team coughing the ball up an average of 14.6 times per game, which ranks second in the conference. Constantly giving up possession as well as having a poor shooting percentage (.417) allows the Gamecocks to net just 67.8 points per game. However, South Carolina has been solid on defense, limiting foes to 39.2 percent shooting. Tyrone Johnson (12.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) leads the team in scoring and assists, but he is connecting on just 39.1 percent of his total shots. Sindarius Thornwell (11.8 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures, but he was limited to just seven points against Oklahoma State.
Playing on the road hasn't presented much of a challenge for Manhattan. However, even though South Carolina is far from an elite team in the SEC, the Jaspers might have some trouble in this one.
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