With the game tied at 8, the Gamecocks used a 23-2 run to take an insurmountable lead. During the latter part of the run, North Carolina Central went seven possessions in a row without getting a shot off and South Carolina led 42-20 at halftime.
North Carolina Central committed 34 turnovers in the game, the most ever by a Gamecocks opponent.
"We had 30 field goals and 20 of them were assisted so that's a real positive for us," South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. "Some of the turnovers were us being really good defensively and flying around. The encouraging thing is we played zone the last fifteen minutes of the game and had pretty good activity."
South Carolina (7-1) opened the second half by scoring the first 11 points, including a 9-0 spurt in the first 40 seconds. The lead never was fewer than 30 points the remainder of the way.
Downey has been the Gamecocks' leading scorer in six of the eight games this season. Zam Frederick added 18 points while Mike Holmes chipped in with 14 points and Josey grad Dominique Archie had 11.
"In a game like this you have to go out and not worry about the opponent and try to get better as a team," Downey said. "I feel like for the most part, especially in the second half, we concentrated on getting better."
The winless Eagles (0-12) are in their second year as a Division I program and fell to 4-38 during the transition. They were led by Jamar Briscoe with 19 points.
The Gamecocks have two more games before the Christmas break -- against The Citadel and Presbyterian -- before facing No. 25 Clemson on Dec. 30.
South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross played for the first time since suffering a left knee injury during the season opener and had two points in 15 minutes.