Chris Silva scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead South Carolina to a 78-61 win over FIU on Monday night.
Maik Kotsar scored 16 points, Justin Minaya added 13, and Frank Booker chipped in 12 for South Carolina (5-1) as head coach Frank Martin faced his alma mater for the first time on the road as a head coach. Martin is 3-0 against FIU.
FIU (2-4) was led by Eric Lockett's 21 points.
After hitting a 3 to give the Gamecocks a 38-36 lead going into the break after a wild first half, Booker picked up where he left off, hitting three 3s in the opening minutes of the second half to give South Carolina a 57-38 lead.
Booker's 3 were part of a pivotal 15-0 run that helped lift the Gamecocks to the win.
FIU cut the deficit to 10 points at 68-58 with six minutes left in the game, but were unable to get within single digits.
Both teams played an entertaining first half with each taking a turn at a big run.
South Carolina opened with a 9-0 run capped by an emphatic breakaway dunk by Silva. The Gamecocks' fast start continued, making 9 of their first 11 shots to build a 20-4 lead.
Then, the Golden Panthers went on its run erasing the 16-point deficit with a 27-3 run over the next 8:41.
Trejon Jacob sparked FIU by scoring seven straight points with a layup, a long 3, and a two-handed dunk to cut the deficit to 20-11.
FIU continued its surge and took a 23-22 lead following a 4-point play by Brian Beard Jr. with 8:04 left in the first half. Moments later, Beard Jr. drilled another 3 for a 29-23 advantage.
South Carolina trailed 31-23 before Silva ended the run with a basket.
The Gamecocks committed 12 turnovers and made 1 of 9 shots from the field during the run.
South Carolina: Booker is proving to be a solid addition to the team after averaging 5.7 points a game at FAU last season. The 6-foot-3 senior has made a team-high 17 3-pointers through six games and is shooting 40.5 percent from behind the arc.
FIU: The Golden Panthers will look to build on their impressive 27-3 run in the first half behind their trio of guards as they will be looking for their first win over a Division I school.
South Carolina travels to New York to face Temple at Madison Square Garden on Thursday as part of the Under Armour Reunion doubleheader.
FIU will host Florida National on Wednesday, a school they lost a trademark infringement lawsuit against two years ago in regards to the school's abbreviations (FIU and FNU) being similar.