December 24, 2001
By Charles Bennett
Special to the Associated Press
COLUMBIA – South Carolina didn’t bring its “A” game Thursday night. Neither did The Citadel, and South Carolina’s “B” game was better than the Bulldogs’ “B” game.
The Gamecocks took advantage of a cold shooting stretch by The Citadel in the second half to pull away for a 73-57 victory at Frank McGuire Arena, snapping the Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak.
“We played against a very good basketball team tonight,” Citadel coach Pat Dennis said. “They played tremendous defense and took our guards out of the game.”
The Gamecocks (8-3) led by nine at halftime and gradually put the game away after the Bulldogs (7-3) missed 11 of their first 15 shots in the second half.
South Carolina wasn’t exactly lighting it up either, but center Marius Petravicius was effective inside, scoring 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half.
“Some nights you don’t get execution, you get tough,” South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. “I want both, but on a night when you have to choose, I’ll take tough.”
The Citadel also played tough but didn’t help its cause by committing 19 turnovers.
“We had a real cold spell in the second half and I credit their defense,” Dennis said. “We turned the ball over too much and our post players struggled near the basket.”
Travis Cantrell was the only player in double figures for the Bulldogs, scoring 15 points.
Carlos Powell came off the bench to score 13 points for South Carolina.
“Carlos Powell always seems to be in the mix,” Odom said. “He gave us some good minutes.”
South Carolina led 37-28 at halftime, and the nine-point margin was the Gamecocks’ biggest lead of the half.
Both teams struggled offensively, thanks to aggressive man-to-man defense by both teams.
South Carolina opened in man-to-man defense and stayed with it throughout the first half, while The Citadel played man-to-man, with a few minutes of zone mixed in.
The Citadel’s biggest lead of the half was two points, and the Bulldogs led for the last time with 7:26 to play, 16-14, following a short jumper from the baseline by Clyde Wormley. Wormley’s basket ended a scoring drought of 3:58 for the Bulldogs.
South Carolina endured an even longer drought, going 6:34 without a basket, but that ended on a 3-pointer by Chuck Eidson that put South Carolina ahead 17-16.
From there, South Carolina gradually built its lead, going ahead by nine on Ivan Howell’s 3-point basket with four seconds to play in the first half.