South Carolina Holds off DePaul, 73-68
PHOENIX — In the final game of the first day of action at the inaugural Arizona Tip-Off, the South Carolina Gamecocks broke away early and never looked back in a 73-68 victory over the DePaul Blue Demons.
South Carolina (4-0) led wire-to-wire, taking its first double digit lead 7:55 into regulation. It closed the opening stanza with a nine-point edge, 41-32. DePaul (1-3) made a late charge, shrinking the deficit to as little as five with 2:35 in regulation, and creeped down to three with :9 seconds left in regulation.
The Gamecocks held on without scoring a basket in the final 3:27, while DePaul finished the contest on a 9-6 scoring advantage in the same time stretch. The Gamecocks were outscored by DePaul 36-32 in the second half. South Carolina’s edge was stabilized by 12 made second half free throws.
Meechie Johnson tied for the scoring lead with 24 points, adding five rebounds for the Gamecocks. He was joined in double figures by Zachary Davis (10), who pitched in three rebounds and a steal.
DePaul saw Chico Carter Jr. equal Johnson’s 24 points, adding six rebounds and two assists. No other Blue Demon had more than eight points.
South Carolina will face Grand Canyon in the Cactus Division Championship Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. DePaul opens Sunday’s action at 12:00 p.m. against San Francisco in the Third Place Game of the Cactus Division.