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March 4, 2003

Both South Carolina and Alabama are coming off SEC wins on television over the weekend. South Carolina defeated Vanderbilt, 76-64, on Saturday for the Commodores seventh straight loss. Alabama handed Mississippi its ninth straight loss, 86-63, on Sunday.

USC Head Coach Dave Odom talked about the Alabama game on Monday’s SEC teleconference. “It’s an important game for both teams, but for different reasons,” said Odom. “We are trying to improve our record and getting ready for next season. Alabama is fighting for a lot. They started out hot and have played through their tough period. Now they are playing very well. It will be a tough game for the Gamecocks.”

USC, 12-13 and 5-9 in the SEC. USC is in search of its sixth SEC win, with hopes of putting up its third straight season with at least six wins in the league. Dave Odom is 2-4 against Alabama and Tide Head Coach Mark Gottfried brings in a 4-2 mark against USC.

Alabama is 16-9 and 6-8 in SEC play. Alabama is 10-2 at home this season, with its only losses coming at the hands of Kentucky (1/25/03, 46-63) and Georgia (2/18/03, 69-74). Alabama made the NCAA Second Round in 2002 and was ranked No. 1 earlier this season.

“South Carolina is playing well right now,” said Gottfried on Monday’s SEC teleconference. “They have won five of the last seven. We are looking at the big picture right now as far as we are concerned and South Carolina is the next step that we want to take. It’s important to all of us to make the NCAA Tournament, but it’s very important for our seniors for all they have done. Hopefully, we can finish strong and make that happen.”

on deck: the senior finale

USC will have its final chance to say good-bye to its four seniors on national television, when CBS comes calling on Sunday. The Noon game against Georgia and South Carolina will feature a pre-game salute to seniors Chuck Eidson, Tony Kitchings, Marius Petravicius and Chris Warren.

Then-No. 22 Georgia got the best of the Gamecocks two weeks ago in Athens, 66-79.

The Georgia-Carolina game will be Carolina’s 14th television appearance this season. USC is 6-7 record on television in 2002-03, but 6-1 at home.

isn’t he?

USC assistant coach Barry Sanderson will return to his birthplace on Wednesday (Sept. 15, 1967 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama). Sanderson, son of former Alabama coaching legend Wimp Sanderson, graduated from Tuscaloosa Central High School before graduating from Alabama in 1990.

a monster day

Carlos Powell must have eaten his Wheaties on Saturday morning. The sophomore from Florence collected four career highs on his way to scoring 21 points in USC’s 76-64 win over Vanderbilt. His previous career high was 20 points, a feat he accomplished three times this year (last time: The Citadel, 1/2/03).

Powell was a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line – both career highs. His previous career highs at the charity stripe were also against The Citadel (he was 5-8 from the free throw line in the 1/2/03 game). His 11-11 outing was only second on this year’s team to Chuck Eidson’s 12-12 showing in the win against Clemson on Feb. 12. Finally, Powell dished out seven assists (previous high was four vs. Colo. State on 12/22/02).

Powell had been in a bit of a slump, as he had hit double figures in only one of the last five games (17 in the UT win). But, it was the 16th game this season Powell scored in double figures. Powell has led the Gamecocks in scoring eight times this year.

spark plug

Michael Boynton came roaring off the bench on Saturday, but it wasn’t the points he scored that were important. It was his positive attitude that Coach Odom praised after the game. Chuck Eidson also was impressed by the attitude Boynton brought off the bench with him on Saturday. “He was like that comfortable blanket you grew up with,” said Eidson. “He came in and the mood just changed to ‘we’re about to win this game.’ There was no afterthought after that. We were going to get the ball upcourt and we’re going to get good shots. It was nice to have him out there helping me out.”

top 3

Chuck Eidson and Carlos Powell are 2-3 in the SEC in the top free throw appearances this season. Florida’s Matt Walsh leads everyone with a 14-14 effort against Miami. Eidson was 12-12in the win against Clemson and on Saturday Powell was 11-11 in the win against Vanderbilt.

wanna win? score 70, lead at halftime

This season USC is 9-1 when scoring more than 70 points, with its lone loss coming at the hands of the Gators (75-77 on Jan. 18). On the flip side, when USC scores less than 70, the Gamecocks are 3-12 with its only wins coming against Temple (66-47), The Citadel (66-50) and Mississippi (55-49).

Another fact, when USC goes into the lockerrroom at halftime with the lead, they are 11-3. When they go in down, they are 1-10.