GC Men’s Hoops Begins Season 2-0


Hayden Flinn

The GC men’s basketball team started their season 2-0 after hosting the Tri-Conference Challenge this past weekend. On Friday Nov. 12, the Bobcats took down the Coker Cobras 91-69. They also defeated the Erskine Aces 90-62 the following day.


Senior Wesley Simpson led the way for the Bobcats in both games, especially making an all-around impact in their game against Erskine. Simpson constantly made plays all over the floor. He led the team in all major statistical categories with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals.


Simpson spoke on the keys to his success after the Erskine game.


“Just trusting myself and knowing that those are things that I can do,” Simpson said. “Also just trusting the guys and knowing that they got my back, and if the lane is open like it was tonight, I’m going to drive on them.”


The Bobcats started the Erskine game Saturday with an early lead. Shots were falling for GC at first, but they eventually hit a shooting slump towards the end of the opening half.


Luckily for the Bobcats, their defense was phenomenal. They held Erskine to only 22 points at halftime. Erskine shot 26.7% from the field, and just 7.1% from 3-point range.


Erskine struggled to get open looks in the first half. They had ten turnovers to the Bobcats’ four turnovers. Any open look that Erskine had was shot from the free-throw line, which they struggled with, shooting only 41.7% in the first half.


Going into halftime, the Bobcats were up 34-22, and Simpson had 15 of the team’s points. The team shot 40.5% from the field, and only 18.2% from outside the arc.


“We felt really good going into halftime,” said head coach Mark Gainous. “We were 2-for-11 from three, and I told the guys that if we shoot ok, like if we shoot 4-for-11 or 5-for-11, then we’re up 20.”


Coming out of halftime, the Bobcats returned with an ultra-aggressive approach. Only a few minutes into the second half, the Bobcats had a comfortable lead. Instead of easing into cruise control, they hit the gas pedal and didn’t look back.


They surprised Erskine with a full-court press coming out of a timeout, and it proved too much for the Aces.


“We like our full-court press to be almost like a water faucet,” Gainous said. “You know, sometimes you turn the pressure on, and if it’s working, we keep it on, and if it’s not, we turn it off. Once we got to a 15-to-16-point lead, we just felt like that was the pace to play with them, to make them take quick shots. They made some, but when they missed some, it led to fast break points and threes for us.”


The Bobcats shot better in the second half, just as Gainous stressed to the team at halftime. The team’s field goal percentage rose by 16% as they shot 55.9% from the floor. The team’s three-point field goal percentage also spiked, increasing by 21.2% as they shot 40% from deep.


GC juniors AJ James and Brandon Thomas got the shooting going for the Bobcats in the second half. James went 3-of-4 on his attempts from beyond the arc in the second half, while Thomas shot 1-for-2. Both players put up 10 points on the evening.


James had the best highlight of the night after catching an alley-oop pass and throwing it down in the second half, adding to the team’s momentum and bringing the crowd to its feet.


The Bobcats poured 56 points on Erskine in the second half. The turnover margin and consistency in hitting free throws made all the difference in the game.


The Bobcats caused nine more turnovers in the second half, winning the turnover battle 19-8. They also shot 70% from the free throw line, 20% higher than their opponents.


This game served as an all-around dominant performance by the Bobcats. The team ran the fast paced, perimeter-oriented offense that they had practiced all offseason extremely well. They put up at least 90 points in both games and won each by at least 22 points.


The Bobcats already have great chemistry and effective communication on the floor, and they have only played two regular season games. They will truly be the team to watch this season.