Originally created 03/15/97

Early exit leaves Davis shaking head



PITTSBURGH - When Larry Davis exited Friday's game with 29 seconds left, he took a seat at the far end of South Carolina's bench.

Past even the trainers and managers, he sat in a chair so far away that he was almost outside the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

As hard as he tried, Davis could not hide. After scoring only two points in the Gamecocks' shocking 78-65 first-round loss to Coppin State, the usually-reliable guard was left to bemoan his final game.

"I'm stunned, but this is the NCAA Tournament and things like that happen," said Davis, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference and third-team All-America pick. "It should be me to step up and hit the shots we needed, but I was just not able to. I didn't play well today. I think I hurt the team."

The only member of South Carolina's team to play in a NCAA Tournament - Davis was a sub on North Carolina's teams in 1993 and '94 before transferring to USC - he was 1-for-8, 0-for-5 from the 3-point line and didn't attempt a free throw.

Davis missed from the left wing, the right wing, from the top of the key and a few places in between. His only points came on a meaningless short jumper with just under a minute remaining in the game.

It was certainly not the way he wanted his Gamecock career to end. In two seasons, the Denmark, S.C., native, the team's second-leading scorer at 16.4 points, set the school-record with 153 career 3-pointers and reached double figures in 52 of 63 games.

He also became one of only four Gamecocks to reach 1,000 points in two seasons.

"Once I missed some shots, my confidence wasn't there," Davis said. "I don't know what went wrong. It was just one of those games."

His inability to hit from outside forced fellow guards BJ McKie and Melvin Watson to attempt too much. They finished with 29 points, but McKie's final two baskets came after the game had been decided.

"Coppin State didn't let me get too many good looks at the basket," Davis said. "A lot of the credit has to go to them. They didn't let us get many easy shots."