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Nov. 24, 2003

USC will play Southwest Missouri State (SMS) in the semi-finals of the Guardians Classic in Kansas City tonight at 9 pm EST. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Bears and the Gamecocks. USC is 3-0 on the young season, while SMS comes in at 2-0 with wins over Western Illinois and San Francisco.

SMS is led by Barry Hinson (Oklahoma State, 1983), who is in his fifth year. The Bears were 17-12 in 2003.

SMS was picked to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference in the league’s preseason poll. The Bears have four starters returning from the 2002-03 team that tied for third in the league standings. Wichita State, which tied SMS for third a year ago, is the preseason favorite to win the league title with Creighton and Bradley selected second and third respectively.

USC is 4-3 lifetime against the MVC, playing only Southern Illinois at a neutral site twice and winning both contests.

Prior to Carolina’s game, Richmond will play San Francisco in the other semi-final. The winners will advance to the Guardians Classic Championship game on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 9:00 pm EST. The losers of the semi-finals will play in the consolation game at 7:00 pm EST on Tuesday. All games will be played in Municipal Auditorium.

Diaper Dandies

USC brought in five newcomers this year – four freshmen (Renaldo Balkman, Brandon Wallace, Paulius Joneliunas and Tre Kelley) and one JUCO transfer, Josh Gonner. Thus far in the 2003-04 campaign USC is averaging 77.3 ppg. The Fab Five are averaging 25.6 ppg as a collective group with only Paulius Joneliunas looking for the first points of his career. The five have also scored in double figures four times the first three games (Gonner twice, Balkman and Kelley once).

Like a broken record

USC set or tied two school records in Friday night’s win over Navy. First, Navy set a USC school record with 30 turnovers for an opponent. The old record of 29 turnovers vs. the Gamecocks was held by three schools – with the latest being NCAA Tournament participant ETSU last season in the home opener (1124/02). The 30 turnovers was also a school record in turnovers for Navy.

USC also tied the school record for most steals with 20 – with USC matching the number of steals against Mercer (12/30/01) and Lenoir-Rhyne (12/6/61).

Since when?!?

Navy scored just 40 points against the Gamecocks on Friday night. It was the fewest points scored against Carolina since Maryland won a 31-30 game against USC on January 9, 1971. Interestingly enough, the next time the two teams played that year (March 11, 1971) USC won 71-63 in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Prior to the 40 points, Wofford (64-41, Dec. 2, 1996) and Tennessee (73-41, Jan. 8, 1997) both scored 41 points against USC during the 1996-97 season.

A few more brag facts against Navy

The 33 point victory for Carolina is the largest since South Carolina defeated Ball State 82-47 in the final game at the Carolina Coliseum on March 21st, 2002. The game sent USC to NIT Tournament semi-finals at Madison Square Garden, where they defeated Syracuse 66-59 en route to finishing as the national runner-up to Memphis (a 72-62 loss).

Walk-on guard Sheldon Everett’s scored his first ever points and also tallied his first career assist against Navy. On his break-away lay-up for his first career points he looked as though he thought about dunking it, but went with the safe play instead.

Powell puts up

Carlos Powell’s 11 points marked the 32nd time that he has scored in double figures in his career. Powell has four double-doubles in his career – including the one he posted against Gardner Webb in the first game of the year.

Fearless LEADER

Senior Mike Boynton, named the captain prior to this season, scored 15 points for a career high against Navy. It was also the eighth time that he has ever scored in double digits.

Earlier in the year, Odom had this to say about Boynton: “He might not be All-SEC as a guard, but he could be All-SEC as a leader.”

Double up

The Gamecocks had five players score in double figures. It marks the second time this year at least five players scored in double figures. (Carolina had six players against Gardner Webb on November 17, 2003).

Not once last season did USC have five or more players in double figures in a single game.

He’s the MAN!

Sophomore Tarence Kinsey’s break-out performance in the first and second rounds of the Guardians Classic earned him MVP honors of the South Carolina Regional. He has already surpassed his season total of 43 points last year, collecting 49 points in the past three games.

He leads the team with 16.3 ppg and is tied for second with 7.0 rpg.

Kinsey scored a career-high 21 points in the win over Idaho and pulled down a career best 9 rebounds against Gardner Webb. The sophomore from Tampa is averaged 17.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.5 APG and 1.5 SPG during the first two rounds.

SMS’s Anthony Shavies was named the MVP of the SMS Regional.

Looking back

In last year’s Guardians Classic finals, Creighton defeated Notre Dame 80-75 to win the tournament. In the inaugural 2001 Classic, Missouri defeated Iowa 78-77.

The Guardians Classic promotes the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Guardians of the Game program, dedicated to recognizing the role coaches play in the lives of student-athletes and their communities.

Not looking ahead, BUT

The majority of teams in The Guardians Classic have little or no history with USC, but there is one that does. The Richmond Spiders hold an 8-7 series record over USC.

The last time the two met might have been the most damaging, though. Gamecock fans certainly haven’t forgotten the 62-61 loss to the Spiders in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1998. The Gamecocks, seated No. 3 in the East Regional after its second straight 20-win season, saw both BJ McKie’s jumper and a successive LeRon Williams tap fall short as then-ranked No. 14 Carolina fell to Richmond in the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. It was the second-straight year an Eddie Fogler-coached team fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as the year before, in 1997, USC fell 78-65 as the second seed to No. 15 seed Coppin State (East Region, Pittsburgh, Pa.).

USC is 0-1 against San Francisco, dropping a 72-71 (OF) loss on January 9, 1982 in Columbia.

Updating the record

The Gamecocks have a 1,146-1,013-1 mark in 96 seasons and are one of 11 teams in the SEC to have won 1,000 or more games.

Tournament Past

In the Gamecocks last pre-season tournament appearance, they finished fourth in the Maui Invitational in 2001. In November tournaments, since 1980, USC is 8-8. In preseason tournaments (Maui Invitational, Puerto Rico Shootout and Guardians Classic), USC is 6-5.

All told the Gamecocks have won 14 tournaments in the past, dating back to 1951. Those titles include the following: 1959 Richmond Invitational (86-85 win over Lafayette), the 1960 Gulf South Classic (85-79 win over Ole Miss), 1968 Quaker Classic (62-59 win over LaSalle), 1969 Sugar Bowl Classic (84-83 OF win over Notre Dame), 1970 Holiday Festival (86-84 win over Western Kentucky), 1971 Cable Car Classic (67-59 win over California), 1974 Carolina Classic (77-64 win over LSU), 1975 Carolina Classic (70-61 win over Oklahoma State), 1980 Palmetto Classic (62-53 win over Furman), 1983 Florida Citrus Bowl Classic (64-51 win over Stetson), 1987 City of Miami Classic (76-63 win over Miami, Fla.), 1989 Sun Carnival Classic (62-60 win over Kansas State), 1990 Diet Pepsi Tournament of Champions (74-70 OF win over Houston) and the 1991 Texas Star Classic (71-69 2OF win over San Diego State).

Join us Big P and Jarod

USC has four players averaging in double figures this season: Tarence Kinsey (16.3), Carlos Powell (14.0), Mike Boynton (11.3) and Josh Gonner (11.3). Of the 14 players on the roster, only Paulius Joneliunas and Jarod Gerald haven’t scored at least one point in the first three games. But Big P is averaging 1.5 rpg and Gerald is averaging 1.0 rpg and 1.5 apg.