By PETE IACOBELLI
The Associated Press
COLUMBIA - Christiaan Jones scored 18 points in his homecoming as Stetson beat a Southeastern Conference school for the first time since 2004 with a 63-56 victory over South Carolina on Monday.
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The Gamecocks (8-5) had looked to build off its last outing, a 70-59 win at defending national champion Virginia on Dec. 22. Instead, South Carolina was stung by Jones, a Columbia native who played high school basketball with Gamecock coach Frank Martin's son Brandon before joining the Hatters (6-9).
Jones had two 3-pointers and was 10-of-13 from the foul line in Stetson's first victory against an SEC team since defeating Georgia 56-52 on Dec. 29, 2004.
South Carolina cut the Hatters' 13-point second-half lead to 51-49 after Justin Minaya's 3-pointer with 5:22 to play.
But Kenny Aninye hit two foul shots and Jahlil Rawley a 3-pointer to extend Stetson's edge. The Gamecocks could not respond.
South Carolina had the past eight days off since stunning Virginia - and it showed.
The Gamecocks missed seven of eight shots as the Hatters took off on a 16-6 run midway through the opening half for a 28-19 lead.
Rawley began the surge with a basket, Rob Perry scored five points in the run and Jones hit two foul shots for the Hatters' large lead.
South Carolina's two double-digit scorers coming in, AJ Lawson and Jair Bolden, were held to a combined eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Maik Kotsar led the Gamecocks with 11 points.
THE BIG PICTURE
Stetson: The Hatters hadn't played like a team capable of taking down a Power Five opponent. But the steadiness Stetson showed could serve them well with Atlantic Sun Conference play set to open later this week.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks certainly stubbed their toe in a big way in what figured to be a final tune up for SEC play. Instead, South Carolina must re-figure its rotation and best decide how to use its best player, Lawson, who played just 13 minutes.
South Carolina begins SEC play at home against Florida on Jan. 7.
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