COLUMBIA -- South Carolina used a 22-6 run early in the second half to pull away from Kentucky Wesleyan on its way to a 69-59 win in an exhibition men's basketball game on Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena.
Freshman Anthony Gill had a solid debut as he led USC with 14 points and six rebounds. Senior Malik Cooke added 11 points and four rebounds, and sophomore RJ Slawson netted 10 points and had a game-high eight boards. On the defensive end, sophomore Damontre Harris had a game-high five blocks. USC led at halftime, 33-32.
The Gamecocks made 23 of 54 shots from the floor but did most of their damage from 3-point range, knocking down 10-of-19 attempts. The Panthers struggled against USC's defensive pressure, making just 27.9 percent of their attempts, but they held a 39-37 advantage on the boards.
The third-seeded College of Charleston women play in today's Southern Conference tournament semifinals, facing No. 7 seed Georgia Southern at UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro at 7:30 p.m.
The Cougars opened the tourney with a 3-0 home win over Elon. In the regular season, C of C won, 2-1, at Georgia Southern. The winner plays the Furman-Samford winner at 1 p.m. Sunday at UNCG.
-- Charleston Southern (9-9-1) was ousted from the Big South women's tournament, falling to Winthrop in penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie through double overtime at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. The Eagles won the shootout, 5-3.
No. 2-seeded Winthrop advances to play No. 3 Campbell in today's semifinals at 7 p.m. The other semifinal pits No. 1 Radford against No. 5 Liberty at 4:30 p.m.
Major League Soccer's D.C. United will return to defend its Carolina Challenge Cup title in 2012. D.C. United won the 2011 tournament title with wins over Chicago Fire, the Charleston Battery and a tie versus Toronto FC. The Cup will be hosted by the Battery from Feb. 25-March 3 and feature USL member Charleston, D.C. and two other MLS teams to be announced.
United has won the last two editions of the Challenge Cup. The Battery's rivalry with D.C. United extends back to 1999, when it ousted United from that year's U.S. Open Cup.
All the matchups are played at Blackbaud Stadium.