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Jan 8, 2003

Box Score?|? Quotes

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Carlos Powell had 13 of his 15 points in the second half as South Carolina overcame some horrible early shooting to beat Mississippi 55-49 on Wednesday night.

The Gamecocks (7-4) have won all seven games in their new Carolina Center. But it looked like that streak would end when they had only two field goals and eight turnovers in the game’s first 17 minutes.

But behind Powell, center Tony Kitchings and Michael Boynton, South Carolina won its Southeastern Conference opener for just the second time in six years.

Kitchings, the 6-foot-10 center playing for the first time since hand surgery in November, had 11 points and four rebounds. Boynton, switched from point guard to shooting guard two games ago, had three second-half 3-pointers for 13 points.

The Rebels (9-3, 0-1 SEC) could not take advantage of South Carolina’s early struggles, leading only 12-4 during that opening stretch. And they could not respond when the Gamecocks found their shooting touch.

Powell scored 5 points and Boynton hit three straight 3s as South Carolina opened the second half with a 20-7 run to lead 33-22.

Ole Miss closed to 44-40 on Derrick Allen’s two foul shots with 2:31 to go. But Kerbrell Brown hit a 3-pointer for the Gamecocks and that pretty much sealed the win.

Aaron Harper led the Rebels with 16 points. Justin Reed, the team’s top scorer coming in, was held to 9 points, five fewer than his average.

The first half, with Ole Miss leading 15-13 at the break, came close to setting a new low for modern college basketball.

South Carolina shot a miserable 27.8 percent (5-of-18) for the half. Ole Miss was even worse at 26.1 percent (6-of-23).

A late rally – the Gamecocks outscored the Rebels 9-3 the last three minutes – kept them this one from looking like a throwback score from the sport’s “Stall Ball” era.

And still, it was South Carolina’s fewest points ever in a half of an SEC game, surpassing the 17 scored against Kentucky on Feb. 13, 1999.

The Rebels also set a futility mark with the fewest points scored by a South Carolina opponent, bettering the 17 Tennessee hit on Jan. 8, 1997.

South Carolina played its second half without starter Rolando Howell, kept on the bench after he was kicked in the head by Mississippi’s Justin Reed with five minutes to go in the opening period. School officials said doctors would evaluate Howell for blunt head trauma after the game.