Preseason All-SEC selection Keyshawn Bryant made his season debut with 17 points off the bench to lift South Carolina to a 65-58 win over Rider on Sunday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.
Jermaine Couisnard added 13 points and Erik Stevenson 10 as the Gamecocks (5-1) shrugged off a sluggish start and outscored Rider 40-30 in the second half.
With high expectations surrounding the return of Bryant, who went 6-of-10 from the field for South Carolina. He also notched five rebounds, two assists, three blocks and two steals in 21 minutes.
The playing time was the first for the team's returning scorer and rebounder after he was suspended five games for violating an athletic department policy.
Rider (3-5) was playing for the first time since splitting two contests in the Cancun Challenge in Mexico last Tuesday and Wednesday.
Dwight Murray posted 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Broncs.
Allen Powell scored 11, and Dimencio Vaughn and Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson grabbed 10 and nine boards, respectively.
After spotting the home side an opening bucket by James Reese V, the Broncs raced out on an 11-0 run behind five points from Powell and four from Vaughn.
With South Carolina making just two of its 11 field-goal attempts, Bryant entered the contest at 13:58 and grabbed a rebound that led to Devin Carter's 3-pointer. Bryant then was good on a baseline jumper for his first points this season.
South Carolina closed strong as Josh Gray blocked Powell's short jumper. Bryant grabbed the rejection and went the length of the court for a dazzling layup to finish a 7-1 run.
Behind Powell's seven points, Rider led 28-25 at the half.
Couisnard notched seven points and Bryant added six.
After leading for only 28 seconds to open the game, the Gamecocks tied the game on Bryant's trey and claimed their second lead when the left-hander drained two free throws for a 38-36 edge at 10:46.
Bryant's baseline dunk, Stevenson's long ball and Bryant's three-point play brought the crowd to life as its team went up 54-42 on an 11-0 run.
--Field Level Media