Jan 15, 2003
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Marquis Daniels scored 31 points and Auburn remained perfect in Southeastern Conference play with a 67-60 victory against South Carolina on Wednesday night.
Daniels started the game with two 3-pointers and then came through with nearly every big shot after that as the Tigers (14-2, 3-0) won their eighth in a row and sixth-straight against the Gamecocks (7-6, 1-2).
Daniels’s most important moment came in the second half after South Carolina had cut Auburn’s 43-34 lead to three points. He scored the next eight points to extend things and, after Daniels missed a 3-pointer, Marco Killingsworth followed with a dunk to give the Tigers a 53-43 lead.
South Carolina made one more run as Michael Boynton had a 3-pointer and Chuck Eidson two foul shots to cut the lead to 59-56 with 3:02 left.
Nathan Watson, though, made a long 3-pointer – Auburn shot 7-of-14 from behind the arc – and the Gamecocks had lost for the first time in eight games at their recently opened Carolina Center.
Auburn hasn’t started this well overall or in the SEC since the 1999-2000 season when it reached No. 4 in the national rankings when it began 16-1 including 5-0 in the league.
But things get much tougher for the Tigers.
They go home to face No. 9 Alabama on Saturday, then play at nationally ranked Kentucky and Georgia the next week.
Watson was the Tigers only other player in double figures with 12 points.
Rolando Howell led South Carolina with 15 points. Although the Gamecocks were hurt when Carlos Powell, the team’s leading scorer coming in, could play only nine minutes of the second half when he came down hard on his right ankle.
Powell went to the training room, then returned to the lineup. But he was held to 6 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
It may not have mattered who was in there for South Carolina – no one could stop Daniels.
He scored 5 points as the Tigers closed the first half with a 14-2 run that put them ahead 34-29 at the intermission.