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December 30, 2001

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Chuck Eidson scored 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting as South Carolina beat Mercer 88-52 on Sunday.

The Gamecocks’ stifling defense led the day. South Carolina (10-3) tied a school record with 20 steals and by causing 29 turnovers. The Gamecocks also got nine blocks and took four charges.

South Carolina ends its non-conference schedule with five consecutive victories and has won nine of its last ten since losing to Duke and UCLA in the Maui Invitational. They start the Southeastern Conference season on the road Saturday against No. 3 Florida.

Marius Petravicius scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds for South Carolina, which had five players in double figures.

A 15-1 run by the Gamecocks over a 5{ minute stretch in the first half basically put the Bears (3-9) away.

Mercer had 10 possessions during the run and had the ball stolen three times, turned it over twice more, had a shot blocked, lost the ball on a charge, missed two 3-pointers and hit a free throw.

During that same stretch, Eidson hit two 3-pointers and a jumper. Michael Boynton added a 3-pointer of his own, Petravicius scored inside and Jamel Bradley hit two free throws.

Clarence Baker and Jan January led the Bears with 12 points each. Andrew Walker added 11 and Justin Howard had 10 for Mercer.

The Gamecocks continued to pour it on in the second half mixing starters and subs. They got their biggest lead of the game at the end, when walk-on Jon Land hit a short jumper with 18.7 seconds left. It was the walk-on freshman’s first field goal of the year.

The win was South Carolina’s tenth before January, setting a new team record. The Gamecocks have drawn 40 charges for the year, five shy of last season’s mark of 45.