South Carolina suffered a 70-47 loss to Wichita State in its opening neutral-site game at the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday night at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
Senior forward Maik Kotsar was the only player in double figures for Carolina, finishing with 12 points for his third straight double-figure game. He also had seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks in a team-high 36 minutes. Freshman forward Wildens Leveque had six points and a career-high eight rebounds.
South Carolina fell to 4-2 on the season while Wichita State improved to 6-0.
Erik Stevenson led the Shockers with 19 points, all in the first half, and the Wichita State defense held the Gamecocks to just 32 percent shooting (18-for-56) from the field.
Stevenson led the Shockers to a double-digit lead midway through the first half, but Carolina fought back and pulled within seven, 29-22, with 2:48 to go after a Jair Bolden jumper. Wichita State then finished the half on a 12-0 run to go up 19 at the break.
The Gamecocks limited the Shockers to seven points in the opening nine minutes of the second half but were unable to cut into the deficit.
The Gamecocks were just 3-for-10 from behind the arc and had just two fast-break points. Wichita State's bench outscored Carolina's, 31-14.
Head coach Frank Martin credited Wichita State and didn't like the fight from his team.
"We weren’t very good because of them. They are the ones who ran us into trouble," he said. “That’s a lack of fight and a lack of a willingness to engage. This week was a step up in the talent we are playing against and the physicality we are playing against and we obviously didn’t answer the bell tonight."
South Carolina will face the loser of West Virginia (4-0) and Northern Iowa (6-0) in the consolation game of the Cancun Challenge tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.