COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) —Jair Bolden scored 19 points and South Carolina defeated Texas A&M 81-67 on Saturday afternoon.
The Gamecocks made 16-of-30 of their 3-point attempts (53.3%), in keeping the Aggies at arms’ length for most of the second part of the second half. The Aggies, one of the nation’s worst 3-point shooting teams, finished 3-of-14 from 3-point range (21.4%), in failing to keep up with South Carolina down the stretch.
The Gamecocks (10-7, 2-2 SEC) led 39-33 at halftime thanks to 10 points each from Justin Minaya and Bolden over the first 20 minutes. The Aggies (8-8, 2-3) briefly grabbed a lead at 49-48 nearly midway through the second half before the Gamecocks reclaimed the lead for good, primarily thanks to the long shot (10 of 18 from the 3-point line in the second half).
Minaya added 18 points and Jermaine Couisnard chipped in 17 for the Gamecocks, and South Carolina also held a 38-27 rebounding edge.
One sequence with a little more than seven minutes remaining summed up South Carolina’s effort: The Gamecocks missed five consecutive shots, two jump shots and three layups, on the same possession, but followed each with an offensive rebound. Couisnard rewarded his teammates’ hustle with a 3-pointer from the right corner to cap the flurry of misses and rebounds, and lift South Carolina to a 63-55 lead.
Josh Nebo led the Aggies with 18 points.
> The Gamecocks tied a school record making 16-of-30 (53.3%) shots from behind the 3-point line. Carolina was 10-of-18 (55.6%) from deep in the second half alone. The Gamecocks made 16 3s in a 84-77 win at home over the Aggies last season on Feb. 16, 2019 and 16 triples in a 92-52 home win against Campbell on Nov. 28, 2007.
> Carolina matched a season-high previously set in an 84-80 win at UMASS with 22 assists (T-4th most in a single game in Martin’s tenure with the Gamecocks).
> Defensively, South Carolina held Texas A&M without a field goal the final 4:22 of the contest.
> After not playing in a win over No. 10 Kentucky earlier in the week, redshirt junior Jair Bolden bounced back in a big way with a team-high 19 points off the bench. He played 34 minutes and knocked down a career-high five 3s on seven attempts from downtown.
> Redshirt sophomore Justin Minaya had one of the best games of his career to date with 18 points (career high), eight rebounds and five assists. He played all 40 minutes, becoming the first Gamecock since former standout Duane Notice (2/21/15 vs. Texas A&M) to stay on the court the entire game.
> Redshirt freshman Jermaine Couisnard continued to roll with 17 points in just his second career start.
> Sophomore AJ Lawson added 13 points thanks to four 3s. He was limited to just 16 minutes due to foul trouble.
> Senior Maik Kotsar led the team with 10 rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
> With the victory today, South Carolina improves to 4-1 in true road contest this season.
> In eight seasons under head coach Frank Martin since 2012-13, the Gamecocks improve to 57-2 when scoring 80 or more points (4-0 this season).
Carolina is back on the road next Wednesday when it travels to face No. 4/4 Auburn (15-2, 3-2 SEC). Tip time at Auburn Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Andy Kennedy (analyst) on the call for the ESPNU broadcast.