South Carolina basketball: Gamecocks look to bounce back after tough loss in New York

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina basketball team is in the midst of a funky six-day stretch that began in Miami, moved to New York and will end in Columbia.

The run of three games in six days began on Monday with a 78-61 win at Florida International. At Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, South Carolina fell to Temple, 76-60.

On the heels of that 9 o’clock tip in New York, it’s another short turnaround for South Carolina (5-2) when UMass (3-4) shows up to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday for a 2 o’clock tip on SEC Network Plus.

“I’m not going to lie,” senior guard Frank Booker said. “[Saturday], we’re going to see what kind of team we are, how we bounce back. … Now that we’ve lost and we’ve been on the road, things like that, are we going to fold? Are we going to have excuses? Are we going to be tired?

“Or are we going to buckle down and actually be ready for the next game and not have any excuses?”

It’s a similar test to last month’s, which followed a disappointing loss to Illinois State in the opening round of the Puerto Rico tipoff in Myrtle Beach, S.C. South Carolina bounced back a day later with an 80-56 win over UTEP, before closing out the tournament two days later with a second win over Western Michigan.

Booker believes the end of this current stretch could send the Gamecocks in either direction.

“It can really help us or it can hurt us,” he said. “It can help us in a way where we can come together. We talk about where we messed up at and where we can learn from. Or we can sit and we can play the blame game.”

Booker, a senior graduate transfer from FAU and Oklahoma, is counted among the group of leaders that’s trying to keep things on the right track. Junior forward Chris Silva, junior guard Hassani Gravett and sophomore forward Maik Kotsar, the three returning players from last season’s Final Four squad, also have a say in keeping the blame game out of the picture.

“That’s a virus. We don’t want that,” Booker said, “So as of [Thursday] night, we talked to each other. We made sure everybody let [Thursday] night go and just go from here.”

The post South Carolina basketball: Gamecocks look to bounce back after tough loss in New York appeared first on SEC Country.

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