Feb. 21, 2003
South Carolina will travel to the Peach State on Saturday, Feb. 22 to play No. 22 Georgia at 2 p.m. The two teams split the series last year, with the home team winning each game: USC 60-67 in Columbia and the Bulldogs 75-82 in Athens.
Both teams will be looking to take command of the series, with it knotted at 39. Georgia leads the series 23-13 in Athens and has won the last three of four in Athens. But, the Gamecocks have won the last four of five against the ‘Dawgs. Dave Odom is 2-2 against Georgia lifetime, while UG coach Jim Harrick sits at 2-4 lifetime.
USC, 11-11 and 4-7 in the SEC, is feeling better about itself these days. The Gamecocks have won the last four games, including its last three SEC games. USC’s winning streak matches its season high for wins with its 4-0 start of the 2002-03 season.
The Gamecocks haven’t won three straight SEC games since they won five straight in 1998.
“We’re fortunate to have played a little bit better basketball,” said Odom on Thursday’s SEC teleconference. “We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to elevate our play in conference and come away with some wins. We’ve got a big task ahead of us as we go to Athens to play Georgia.”
No. 22 Georgia, 15-7 and 7-4 in the SEC, is 10-0 at home this season including a 5-0 mark against league teams. Georgia is led by SEC Player of the Year Candidate Jarvis Hayes, who checks in with 17.5 ppg and 4.3 rpg.
“(On USC’s win over UT): It’s good news and bad news,” said Harrick on Thursday’s SEC teleconference. “The good news is that South Carolina beat Tennessee Wednesday night and got us back tied with Tennessee. The bad news is that we may be playing the 1-2-3 of the hottest teams in the league. We haven’t played them yet, so this is our first match up. It’s going to be a great game.”
The game will be televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports to a Southeastern United States audience. Paul Kennedy (play by play) and Joe Dean, Jr. (analyst) will make the call from Athens. The game will be seen in the Palmetto State on WMMP-TV (Charleston), WIS-TV (Columbia), WFXB-TV (Florence), WBSC-TV (Greenville/ Spartanburg) and WRDW-TV (Augusta).
This Carolina’s 11th television appearance this season and fourth on JP Sports this year. USC is 5-5 on television.
The Georgia game will be carried on the radio airwaves by the Gamecock Sports Network (for radio listings see page 14). 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 www.uscsports.com.
likes the hotel food?
On the road, Kerbrell Brown is first on the away scoring list with 13.4 ppg. But, at home Brown is just sixth on the list with 7.6 ppg. Second on the away list is Carlos Powell, who is averaging 12.9 ppg.
“I like playing in a hostile environment I guess,” said Brown.
Powell leads USC with a 13.3 ppg average at home. Chuck Eidson is second on that list with 12.4 ppg.
tony’s a tiger
Turning it up a notch is what Tony Kitchings is up to these days. After averaging just six points and 2.6 rebounds in three games (UK, at LSU and at Vandy), Kitchings has averaged 16.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 assists the past three games. He has raised his points per game average over a point as well, hitting a season-high 10.3 ppg.
In Wednesday night’s game against UT, Kitchings scored 21 points with eight rebounds, both team leaders. He blocks three shots, including two by SEC Player of the Year Candidate Ron Slay. Kitchings and Rolando Howell kept Slay frustrated a good bit of the game.
Last season, Kitchings had a nine-game stretch where he did not score in double-figures, seeing his points average dip to 5.4 per game (at UK to MSU). He then turned it on to score in double figures nine straight games and push his average to 7.0. Prior to the nine game stretch, he had only scored in double figures three times last season.
Kitchings also boosted his rebounding average from 5.0 rpg to 6.2 rpg in the same stretch last season.
is 13 the lucky number?
USC has used 13 different line-ups in 22 games this season. But, USC used its 13th line-up for the fourth straight time against Tennessee. That line-up includes Kerbrell Brown, Chuck Eidson, Rolando Howell, Tony Kitchings and Chris Warren.
Prior to line-up No. 13 USC had only started the same line-up more than two times in a row, starting the following for a three game stretch against Temple, Georgetown and Wofford: Carlos Powell, Howell, Petravicius, Chuck Edison and Mike Boynton.
Coach Odom met with the media today, prior to the Georgia game tomorrow, and had this to say.
“Rebounding is a key in the game against Georgia. Especially defensive rebounding. I don’t’ worry a lot about defensive transition but we have to rebound on defense.
“Georgia is as well a coached team as anyone in the league. They are undefeated at home (10-0 this year). They are seasoned veterans who play with confidence. They can hurt you inside, they play very physical and are a very good basketball team.
“We had a good practice yesterday, but we want to get a good bit of work done today as well. We need this to be a good practice. We’ll get after it today pretty quick to get ourselves back on track. We are as healthy as we have been in sometime and that’s good.
“The attitude is very positive. We will challenge them to really lay it on the line in Athens. That’s our only chance to win. You can’t go down there to Georgia and hold anything back. We have to be active, intent, committed and will have to play well under pressure. It will be a good gauge for us as far as how we’ve progressed.
“We have gotten better in transition than rebounding on defense. We need to get rebounds a whole lot better. Those areas of the game are going to be very critical tomorrow.
“We are playing of the conference’s top teams and this conference is ranked very high nationally. To beat them would say something about our team.
(on scoring 70 points in each of the last 4 wins): “We have had everybody in practice the last 10-12 practices. That has really helped to turn our offense around. Chemistry is key to the offense.”