Why Keyshawn Bryant, Jermaine Couisnard missed Gamecocks SEC tournament game

Veterans Keyshawn Bryant and Jermaine Couisnard were surprise absences for South Carolina in Thursdays opening game of the SEC tournament against Ole Miss. . . The SEC Network announced both players would be out due to coachs decision shortly before the game, with senior guard Seventh Woods also out due to a groin injury suffered at Kentucky. Playing short-handed, the No. 11 seed Gamecocks fell to No. 6 seed Ole Miss, 76-59, ending their season with a 6-15 record. . . After the game, head coach Frank Martin addressed what happened. . . All three are dealing with physical injuries, and just the mental toll that its taken on all three is not fair, Martin said. Its been extremely difficult. . . At the end of the day Im not going to put winning a game over young peoples mental health, young peoples physical health. . Asked directly about the TV report that called Bryant and Couisnard missing the game a coachs decision, Martin emphasized that their absences were not disciplined-related. . . South Carolina had three separate COVID-19 shutdowns during the 2020-21 season. . . Im worried about mentally where theyre at. I cant be more honest than that, Martin said. This year has been ridiculously taxing on our players mentally and physically. . . Behind junior A. J. Lawson, Bryant and Couisnard ranked second and third on the team in scoring, with 14. 4 points per game and 10. 1 points per game, respectively. In recent weeks, Martin had praised Bryant for his growth as a vocal leader on the team. . . After a breakout redshirt freshman year, Couisnard struggled shooting the ball this season, finishing with a 30. 2% clip from the field. He missed two games during the teams six-game losing streak with an ankle injury, and he missed the last game of the regular season at Kentucky with a rib injury suffered during practice.

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