COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A.J. Lawson and Jermaine Couisnard scored 12 points each, Jair Bolden had 11 and South Carolina dominated Wyoming defensively in a 66-32 win Sunday.
The Gamecocks (2-0) buried the Cowboys with five 3-pointers in the first eight minutes and a suffocating defense throughout. It was the fewest points USC allowed since 2005 and the fewest field goals allowed in coach Frank Martin's nine-year tenure.
Cowboys guard Hunter Maldonado had 32 points in his season-opener but with South Carolina sophomore Justin Minaya guarding him most of the game, was held to 10. Minaya, who missed all but five games last year due to a knee injury, blanketed Maldonado and also scored three points with four rebounds and three assists
"I think I played pretty good on defense, I think we all did," Minaya said. "Everybody was talking, communicating on the screens."
The Cowboys (1-1) shot 23 percent from the field and only hit nine field goals.
"We were overmatched, physically. But I was happy with my guys' willingness to come in on the road in the SEC early in the year and compete," said coach Allen Edwards, who played JV basketball for Martin at Miami Senior High School. "Sometimes you have to go through things like this to get better."
Minaya didn't bring anything extra to the game, even after being out and the Gamecocks losing to Wyoming last season in Laramie. He only scored three points but had four rebounds and three assists while playing 27 minutes of lockdown defense.
"That's who he is, man, that's who he is," Martin said. "I want to coach guys that want to win. He is incredible that way."
The Gamecocks comfortably won and Martin is pleased with the depth he has, but still cautioned that he always likes to keep the offense simple early in the season. It's much more of a freelance game instead of rigid structure.