COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — AJ Lawson scored 19 of his career-high 30 points in the second half as South Carolina pulled away and beat Texas A&M 78-54 on Wednesday night in the Gamecocks’ Southeastern Conference opener.
South Carolina (3-2, 1-0), which had a 28-day layoff before an eight-point win over Florida A&M on Saturday, made 10 baskets from beyond the arc and shot 42% (29-of-69) overall.
Lawson was 10-of-22 shooting with three 3-pointers. Jermaine Couisnard made a career-best five 3s and finished with 15 points and four assists. Wildens Leveque added 10 points.
Emanuel Miller scored 17 of his career-best 28 points in the first half for Texas A&M (6-3, 1-2). He is one of eight players in the SEC this season who has scored in double figures in every game they have played. Quenton Jackson added 13 points.
Jackson’s 3-pointer pulled the Aggies to 38-34 early in the second half. The Gamecocks answered with a 17-5 run and had a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Six players had at least five rebounds for South Carolina, which outrebounded the Aggies 45-31.
> South Carolina’s defense was locked in from the opening tip, forcing 19 turnovers and holding A&M to 34 percent shooting (17-for-50 FGs, 5-for-25 3FGs). The Gamecocks also were plus-14 on the glass with a 45-31 advantage.
> In the second half, the Gamecocks limited the Aggies to just six made field goals and 27 percent shooting.
> Junior AJ Lawson followed up his 25-point performance vs. Florida A&M with another standout showing, recording his first career 30-point game. He made a career-high 10 field goals and was 7-of-8 at the free throw line.
> Sophomore Wildens Leveque had his first career double-figure outing in SEC play with 10 points. His previous high in league play was eight in a road win last season at Arkansas (1/29/20).
> Redshirt sophomore Justin Minaya was active again with another solid all-around performance. He had six points, eight rebounds and a team-high five assists.
> Redshirt sophomore Jermaine Couisnard scored all his points behind the arc, knocking down a career-high five 3s.
> Head coach Frank Martin now has 150 career wins at South Carolina, which is good for third all-time in program history behind Frank Johnson (174 wins – 1941-42, 1946-58). Tonight’s victory improves his record against the Aggies to 13-6.
Carolina travels to Ole Miss (6-3, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday for its first SEC road matchup. Tip time versus the Rebels is set for 6 p.m. ET on the SEC Network and the Gamecock Radio Network.