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Dec 20, 2003

Box Score | Notes | Quotes

Associated Press Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Carlos Powell scored 11 points, nine of them in a decisive 9-2 run, as South Carolina beat North Carolina State 58-55 on Saturday.

The Wolfpack (5-2) started the game lazy and ended it the same way.

They were down just two when Gamecock Kerbrell Brown stole a rebound from Marcus Melvin with 10.5 seconds left and hit a layup that clinched the game for South Carolina. Tarence Kinsey then stole a pass and slammed it home as the Gamecocks (10-1) clinched their 13th straight non-conference win since opening the Colonial Center in 2002.

North Carolina State looked lackadaisical to start the game too, turning the ball over three times and missing its first four shots falling behind 10-0.

South Carolina’s Josh Gonner set a new career-high with 19 points, even though he didn’t score in the last 15:30 of the game. Brown had 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and Powell also ended the game with 11 points.

Julius Hodge led the Wolfpack with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Levi Watkins had 12 points and Engin Atsur added 10 for North Carolina State.

The Wolfpack trailed by 10 points before going on a 17-2 run over seven minutes that put them up 48-43 with seven minutes to play. But that’s when Powell took over.

Powell capped his nine straight points by forcing a steal, then taking a pass from Michael Boyton and hitting a reverse layup as he was fouled. After hitting the free throw, South Carolina led 52-50 with 2:31 left.

North Carolina State would hold the ball for the next 1:45, but missed four shots to tie and a free throw.

In another era, this would have been an early Atlantic Coast Conference battle. The Wolfpack are the first Tobacco Road team to come back to Columbia since the Gamecocks bolted from the ACC in 1971.

Instead it was just a test for two teams with gaudy records who have feasted on mostly weak competition. And South Carolina, with a strength of schedule hovering around 300th in the country, showed it can play with a little better competition.

The Wolfpack shot just 3-of-8 from the foul line, while the Gamecocks hit 14 of its 19 free throws, including going 6-of-8 in a nearly 12 -minute stretch in the second-half where they only hit one field goal.

It made up for the difference in field goal shooting. North Carolina State was 23-of-51 (45.1 percent), while South Carolina was 20-of-56 (35.7 percent).