March 20, 2002
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) — Chuck Eidson scored 18 points and Tony Kitchings added 11 and 11 rebounds as South Carolina downed Nevada-Las Vegas, 75-65, to advance to the National Invitational Tournament quarterfinals.
The Gamecocks (20-14), who won for the fourth time in their last five games and improved to 11-6 at home, face Ball State on Thursday in Columbia in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
Lou Kelly netted 28 points for the Runnin’ Rebels (21-11), who fell to 1-4 all-time against South Carolina and dropped to 7-7 in NIT play.
All five starters scored in double figures as the Gamecocks shot 45 percent (24-of-53) from the field and outrebounded UNLV, 43-32.
Jamel Bradley tallied 18 points, Rolando Howell added 12 and Aaron Lucas chipped in 11 for South Carolina, which enjoyed a huge edge at the foul line, hitting 23-of-36 while the Runnin’ Rebels went 9-of-13 from the line.
Neither team was particularly careful with the ball. The Gamecocks committed 19 turnovers while UNLV coughed it up 20 times.
Dalron Johnson contributed 17 points and seven rebounds for UNLV, which shot 40 percent (26-of-65) from the field.
Leading 31-26 at halftime, South Carolina built and maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the second half until Nevada-Las Vegas began chipping away with nine minutes left.
Trailing 57-41, UNLV scored 11 of the next 13 points and pulled within 59-52 on Kelly’s free throw with 5:41 left. After Eidson hit a foul shot and Kitchings added two of his own, Kelly drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 62-55 with 4:33 to play.
But the Gamecocks were up to the challenge as Lucas sank a free throw and Howell and Bradley nailed 3-pointers for a 68-55 lead with 3:19 remaining.
Kelly scored 12 points in the first half, when the Runnin’ Rebels shot just 32 percent (10-of-31).