COLUMBIA — Suspended South Carolina coach Frank Martin apologized to fans for his harsh words aimed at Gamecocks point guard Duane Notice in the loss to No. 1 Florida this week.
“I can’t do anything other than apologize,” Martin said Friday in a news conference to address the suspension. “I’m sorry is a powerful two words and if you use it over and over again for the same reason it loses its meaning. I can’t force people to like me, but I’ve got to respect this university.”
Martin was suspended one game by athletic director Ray Tanner on Thursday. He already apologized to Notice and is not traveling with the team to its regular-season finale at Mississippi State today.
Associate head coach Matt Figger will take over the team in Starkville.
Martin will resume his duties before the Gamecocks play in the Southeastern Conference Tournament next week.
“I talk to my players a lot about maturity,” he said. “I think it’s time I work on my maturity as well.”
Martin was caught on tape cursing at Notice late in the 72-46 loss to the Gators on Tuesday night, and the tape went viral.
He said he felt uneasy after the game and understood he had crossed a line.
Martin called Tanner while on a recruiting trip to apologize for the tirade. He talked with his players, although stopped short of saying he had apologized to them.
NO. 2 WICHITA STATE 80, EVANSVILLE 58
In St. Louis, Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker scored 17 points apiece and Wichita State (32-0) set a Missouri Valley Tournament record with 11 blocked shots, staying perfect for the season with a romp over Evansville (14-19) in the quarterfinals.
D.J. Balentine finished with 31 points with seven 3-pointers for ninth-seeded Evansville, which lost twice by an average of 15 points to Wichita State in the regular season.
Kadeem Coleby had six of the blocks for the Shockers.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 65, FURMAN 50
In Asheville, N.C., Jelani Hewitt scored 20 points and Tre Bussey 14 as seventh-seeded Georgia Southern (14-18) shot out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back, defeating No. 10 seed Furman (9-21) in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament.
Former Josey standout Kyle Doyle had eight points and seven rebounds for Georgia Southern.
The Eagles, in their first Southern Conference Tournament since 2002, face second-seeded Chattanooga (18-13) in the quarterfinals Saturday.
Charlie Reddick scored 18 to lead Furman.