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Nov 17, 2003

Box Score | Quotes

Associated Press Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Carlos Powell had 12 points and 16 rebounds as South Carolina beat Gardner-Webb 83-74 on Monday night in the first round of the Guardians Classic.

The Gamecocks needed some clutch 3-point shooting in the opener for both teams to overcome the Bulldogs, who finished just 2-14 in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season and is in their second season in Division I.

Michael Boynton’s 3-pointer with 5:33 to go gave South Carolina the lead for good. Then, with the Gamecocks clinging to a one-point lead with just over two minutes to go, freshman Tre Kelly and junior college transfer Josh Gonner each buried 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to push the Gamecock lead to 74-67 with 1:41 to go.

South Carolina hit 12 of 26 3-pointers, including eight of 15 in the second half. Gardner-Webb was just 4-of-24 (16.7 percent from behind the arc).

The Gamecocks move on to play Idaho on Tuesday night in the second round of the exempt tournament, while the Bulldogs will play Elon in the consolation game.

Six Gamecocks scored in double-figures, including Tarence Kinsey, who had 14 points and nine rebounds, Gonner, who also had 14 points and Kerbrell Brown, who had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Brian Bender led Gardner-Webb with 21 points and also had eight rebounds. Brendan Clowry added 10 points and 10 boards for the Bulldogs.

The game was the debut of South Carolina coach Dave Odom’s more frenetic, transition oriented team. And it got poor reviews to start from a smallest-ever crowd of 5,317 at the Colonial Center as the Gamecocks put up bad shots and were slow getting back on defense, falling behind by as much as 11 in the first half.

The Gamecocks were able to take their first lead since the game’s opening moments on a 3-pointer by Boynton with just under 15 minutes left. The long shot was about the only thing keeping South Carolina in the game as the Gamecocks hit five of six from behind the arc to start the second half.

But Gardner-Webb, who went 5-24 last season and won just one game away from home, didn’t panic, keeping to the game plan that seemed to befuddle South Carolina up until the Gamecock lead got too big late.

The Bulldogs used constant motion and most of their baskets came on lay-ups or putbacks. Gardner-Webb scored on nearly a dozen backdoor screens or other set plays, leading Odom to beg his team to pay attention on defense.

On the other end of the floor, South Carolina, which is coming off a 12-16 season, struggled with anything other than a 3-pointer, going just 14-of-45 from inside the arc, including close to two dozen shots inside or near the paint.

The Gamecocks missed the inside presence of senior center Rolando Howell, suspended for 10 games after pleading no contest to a domestic violence charge stemming from an incident where he choked his girlfriend. Gardner-Webb center Simon Conn, who averaged just four points and three rebounds last season, had 14 points and seven rebounds. The Bulldogs also scored 48 points in the paint.

And while South Carolina was only outrebounded by one, they showed little strength, During one first-half offensive possession, the Gamecocks missed six shots and two free throws.