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Dec. 2, 2003

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
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Starting the season 6-0 for the first time since 1988, USC will play The Citadel on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7:00 pm. The game is the first of three road games USC will play the next two weeks (at Clemson Dec. 6 and at Temple Dec. 15).

The Citadel, 2-1, are led by Pat Dennis (Washington and Lee, 1978), who is in his 12th year with the Cadets. The Cadets were 8-20 in 2002-03 and return two starters and five letterwinners from that team.

The game will be broadcast on television by CUSS (Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson television – not shown in Columbia).

USC is 72-23 lifetime against The Citadel, winning 66-50 in the two school’s last meeting (Jan. 2, 2003 in Columbia). Dating back to the 1940-41 season, USC has won 49 of the last 51 games the two teams have played. Their series dates back almost 90 years with USC winning the first match-up 24-15 on Feb. 7, 1914. The Citadel’s last win against South Carolina was an 88-87 win in Columbia on February 22, 1989.

Six and Counting

Carolina currently has a six-game winning streak to start the 2003-04 season. The longest winning streak at SC under Coach Odom was five. The five game winning streak started on December 8, 2001 and ended on January 5, 2002 in Gainesville against the Gators. Under Odom, the Gamecocks have posted four straight wins four times.

USC hasn’t started 6-0 since the the 1998-89 under Coach George Felton. The 6-0 start in 1988 included wins over Maryland, Clemson and Ohio State. That team ended up 19-11 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to N.C. State.

With the win over SMS, it marked the second straight year that the men’s basketball team starts out with a 4-0 record. Since joining the SEC, USC has started 4-0 only twice.

If and Only

You won’t catch the USC coaching staff or players looking ahead to 7-0 or 8-0 or 9-0, but why not just find out when it last happened for the Garnet and Black?

The last time USC started a season 7-0: 1971-72 under Coach Frank McGuire. The Gamecocks finished the season at 24-5 and advanced to the NCAA East Regional. The year before USC started the season 9-0, finishing at 23-6 and advancing to the NCAA East Regional.

The best start ever was in 1933-34 when USC went 18-1. That team won its first 17 games of the year. Their only loss was to N.C. State in the second to last game of the year at the Southern Conference Tournament (24-43).

But his best is a few games away

This season’s 6-0 start is the best for USC under Coach Odom, but not Odom’s best start as a head coach. It would take seven more wins – through the Appalachian State game on Jan. 2, to equal his best start ever as head coach. His 1996-97 Wake Forest team went 13-0 before finishing the season at 24-7 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In Odom’s last season at Wake, his team started the season at 12-0, finishing at 19-11 with another NCAA Tournament bid.

Odom vs. The Citadel

Coach Odom is 5-0 against the Citadel and 1-0 in Charleston against the Bulldogs. In his first two seasons at Carolina, Odom has defeated the Bulldogs twice. Both of the victories are by a 16 point margin. His only trip to Charleston to face the Bulldogs came on November 25, 1996 when he took his then-Demon Deacons into Charleston and came away with a 34 point win (86-52).

Every single person

If you dressed in the garnet and black on Saturday – you played. Every player also had a chance to do something last year’s team didn’t – take a shot. Everyone on the roster attempted at least one shot.

USC held every Campbell player in single digits for scoring as well. This did not happen one time last year. Campbell also did not block any USC shots, with this stat only being accomplished by Florida and Clemson last season.

Diaper Dandies: Fab Five

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 75.5 ppg. The Fab Five are averaging over 35 percent of the Gamecocks points with 26.6 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 eight times the first six games (Gonner three times, Balkman and Kelley twice and Wallace once).

Helping out with the boards too, the Gamecocks average 40.0 rebounds per contest with the five averaging 13.2 rpg amongst themselves.

November Reign

USC finished the month of November a perfect 6-0. November seems to agree with Odom as he is 12-2 at South Carolina in the month of November. The two losses came against Duke and UCLA in the 2001 Maui Invitational.

Looking ahead, under Odom USC is 9-5 in December.

Fearless Leader

Senior Mike Boynton, named the captain prior to this season, scored 15 points for a career high against Navy. Add in last Monday night’s 14 points against SMS and it was also the ninth 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.”

Boynton played in his 91st game to end the season last year. To jump into the top 10 this year, of games played in a career, he would need to play in at least 20 games this year. Assuming he stays injury free and the Gamecocks play in the first round of the SEC Tournament, Boynton would tie BJ McKie and Aaron Lucas for the most games played in a Gamecock uniform at 123.