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Jan. 7, 2003

USC will host its SEC opener against Mississippi Wednesday, Jan. 8 at The Carolina Center at 7:30 pm. The Rebels are 9-2 on the year, with their last game a 57-49 defeat of Samford on Dec. 31. USC lost 53-71 in Oxford, Mississippi last year during the regular season but exacted revenge on the Rebels when the Gamecocks bested them 69-67 in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina will have to take the court on Wednesday without two players who started on Thursday: Chris Warren and Marius Petravicius. Warren is out with a broken bone in his ankle and Petravicius has a partial ACL tear (see page 5-6 for more). But, USC will see Tony Kitchings back on the court when he starts at center for the first time since he broke his hand on Nov. 29 against South Carolina State. Freshman Tarence Kinsey will get his first career start. Also expected to start are sophomore Carlos Powell, junior Rolando Howell and senior Chuck Eidson.

“We will play eight players. The five starters plus Michael Boynton, Kerbrell Brown and Jarod Gerald, we will be looking at in some rotation with these eight,” said USC Head Coach Dave Odom.

“It’s absolutely great that Tony will be back in the line-up. We are glad he is back. He has been here for four years and has so much experience in SEC play,” said junior Michael Boynton. “He helps the younger players with his experience.”

USC will play three of its next four games at home, after playing four of its last five on the road. After welcoming Mississippi, USC will then hit the road to play at Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 (SEC-TV). The Gamecocks will then return to host Auburn (Jan. 15) and Florida (Jan. 18 – SEC-TV) at The Carolina Center for the first time. USC is 6-0 at home since opening The Carolina Center Nov. 24 against East Tennessee State. In fact, the Gamecock men’s and women’s basketball teams are a combined 15-0 since The Carolina Center opened in November.

The Mississippi game will be carried on the radio airwaves by the Gamecock Sports Network. Charlie McAlexander (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color) will call the action on more than 25 stations in the Palmetto State and world-wide on the internet at

Odom Coaches his 500th as a head coach

USC Head Coach Dave Odom, 306-193 in his career as a head coach, will coach in his 500th career game as a head collegiate coach on January 8 against Mississippi. Overall, as both a college head and assistant coach, he has coached in more than 800 games (807) over a 27 year span.

Prior to coaching on the collegiate ranks, Odom was a high school basketball coach for 11 years (Goldsboro, Durham High Schools). During that span, he was also a head football and head baseball coach for a period of time, overseeing two future Major Leaguers on the diamond.

The following are a list of games, by the 100s, during Odom’s head coaching career:

1. 11/30/79 Virginia Commonwealth L 71-72 (at ECU) 100. 2/7/90 at Georgia Tech L 70-79 (at WFU) 200. 11/29/93 Wisconsin-Green Bay W 61-58 OT (at WFU) 300. 12/7/96 at N.C. State W 53-45 (at WFU) 400. 1/9/00 Clemson W 67-53 (at WFU) 500. 1/8/03 Mississippi (at USC)