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Gamecocks nip Kentucky Wesleyan by one point

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Kansas State - Syracuse

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17: Fead coach Frank Martin of the Kansas State Wildcats reacts as he coaches against the Syracuse Orange during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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If you struggle to beat Kentucky Wesleyan, how will you deal with Kentucky proper?

It’s a question Frank Martin may have pondered after he calmed down. The Panthers from Owensboro, KY tormented his nominally more talented SEC squad in Tuesday’s exhibition game, leading for much of the second half. In fact, Wesleyan was ahead by one point with seven seconds left in the game, forcing Martin’s team to drop in a buzzer-beater to avoid being LeMoyne’d.

It’s an exhibition game, so we’re not going to read too much into it, but a couple of interesting bits of info did come out of the game. First of all, Martin did not use the standard tactic used by BCS schools facing inferior opponents; he did not use his bench to run the Panthers ragged. Only seven Gamecocks saw action, paced by elevated reserve Brenton Williams, who scored 22 points on the night. Lakeem Jackson’s 10 boards were the most by an individual player, but Wesleyan snagged 35 boards overall to South Carolina’s 31, and outshot their hosts all over the floor.

Frank Martin knew he was accepting a challenge when he left Kansas State to take over the Gamecocks. The locker rooms are going to need a fresh coat of paint after this one, though. And practice is going to be hell.

Here’s the game stats from (click to embiggen). Please note All Name worthy Mr. Walker for the Panthers: