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Dec. 1, 2001

Associated Press Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Once again, it was the little guys winning the game for South Carolina. And that doesn’t sit well with South Carolina coach Dave Odom.

Jamel Bradley scored 16 points and Aaron Lucas and Chuck Eidson, a forward who plays like a guard, added 12 each as the Gamecocks (4-2) beat Colorado State (4-3) 66-58 on Saturday night.

Colorado State’s Brian Green led all scorers with 24 points. He went 10-for-10 from the foul line and 7-of-12 from the field.

After getting a solid game from his interior in a win over Wofford on Wednesday, Odom is back to worrying about his inside game.

On three straight possessions, forward Rolando Howell turned the ball over twice, then missed a shot in the lane. The sophomore would miss most of the second half with a bruised sternum.

Marius Petravicious scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but shot only 4-of-10 from the field. Kitchings also pulled down eight rebounds and had six points, but missed all four of his free throws, including one air ball.

Odom, a wiry coach whose always had a soft spot for big men, said he likes how his inside guys always want to get the ball closer to the basket. But they have to learn when to take the shot.

“They should take what the defense gives them and quit trying to muscle the ball inside closer and closer,” Odom said.

South Carolina led by 13 with eight minutes to go. But the Rams went on an 8-0 over the next three minutes, cutting the lead to 55-50. Bradley then hit a three, and Tony Kitchings made an inside bucket to put the margin back to 60-50.

The Rams (4-3), whose only lead came at 2-0, had a chance to cut it to three with 2:39 left, but Jon Rakiecki’s 3-pointer rimmed out.

“We had a few mental lapses and it slowed us down a little bit,” said Lucas, who worried his team could never put the Rams away.

“We need to keep the heat on, keep the pressure on and finish the game,” Lucas said.

Colorado State shot 50 percent (20-of-40) from the field, compared to 42.6 percent (-of-54) for South Carolina. But the Rams turned the ball over 22 times compared to the Gamecocks’ 15 turnovers.

“That’s the key stat in the game,” Odom said. Colorado State coach Dale Layer agreed.

“I would say we had too many lapses and miscues to win this game. Playing on the road you can’t make as many mistakes as we did,” Layer said. “They are a good team and they will make you pay.”

South Carolina went 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from behind the arc, compared to 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) for Colorado State.

The Gamecocks played hot in stretches of the first half, including hitting 3-pointers on three straight possessions. But the Rams stayed close and trailed 33-25 at the break.

Colorado State would pull within two at 35-33 with 16:44 left. Bradley then hit a jumper for the Gamecocks. Eidson stole the ball on the next possession, got it back, made a layup and was fouled. After the free throw, South Carolina led 40-33.

The Gamecocks would eventually swing the momentum into a 20-9 run. Lucas hit two 3-pointers and another field goal during that stretch.

South Carolina is in the midst of playing six games in 12 days. The Gamecocks have Providence and Georgetown at home, before playing bitter rival Clemson on the road.