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Jan. 9, 2004

South Carolina, 13-2, will finally hit the road again, after posting a 5-1 record in Carolina’s six-game homestand. Only the Florida game sent Gamecock faithful home without a smile when Carolina fell 62-65 to the Gators Wednesday.

South Carolina will travel to Georgia to play the Bulldogs in Athens for a 5 pm televised contest on Sat., January 10. Georgia is also coming off an SEC-opening loss, dropping a 65-89 game at Tennessee.

The game will be shown on SEC-TV (Fox TV) with Mike Goldberg making the call and Barry Booker working as the color analyst. USC is 4-1 on TV this year, including a 2-0 record on SEC-TV.

The Georgia Bulldogs, 83-80 winners over then-No. 3 Georgia Tech last Saturday, are coached by first-year Head Coach Dennis Felton. UGA was 19-8 last year with an 11-5 SEC record. They return two starters and four letterwinners.


USC head coach Dave Odom and UGA head coach Dennis Felton had these things to say during Thursday’s SEC teleconference:

“We are coming off a difficult loss to Florida,” said Odom. “The job of coaches like myself who come out on the short end of the score are to get good and quick positive turnaround. We did not execute very well defensively the last four minutes of the game against Florida, which is also to Florida’s credit.

“We just have to work harder and be more demanding of ourselves. We’ve got to correct our mistakes,” said Georgia’s Felton. “We have to turn around, evaluate ourselves and do what we have to do so we can be better in our next game. South Carolina uses their speed extremely well. They make it difficult to score points against them. Their defense is a big reason for their record so far this season.”

Not so good lately

The Gamecocks have not beat the Bulldogs since January 30, 2001 (3 games) and have not beat the Dogs in Athens since February 24, 2001. Since joining the SEC, USC is 2-10 overall in Athens against Georgia. Two of the last three games that these two teams have played, have came down to overtime. (UGA 60-55 in Columbia on 3/9/03 and UGA 82-75 in Athens on 2/27/02)

Dishin’ it

After not having any assists in the Appalachian State game on 1/2/04, Boynton marked a season high and tied his career high of eight assists. The Appalachian State game is the only game that Mike Boynton does not have any assists in this season.

He has led USC in assists 11 times this season.

Too far, halftime, D-fense

The Gamecocks were five of 29 from behind the arch against the Gators on Wednesday night. The .172 that they shot was a season low for the team in the three point range

The Florida game was the first game this season that USC has had the lead at halftime and failed to win. USC is now 10-1 this season and is 41-7 under Odom when leading at the break this season.

The Carolina defense gave up 65 points to the Gators on Wednesday night. The 65 is the most points USC has allowed since giving up 71 to Temple on December 15, 2003. It marked the seventh time this season that a team has scored 60 or more points against the Gamecocks. USC has allowed 50 or less points six times this season.

Stacking up in the SEC

Over the years, South Carolina has a 141-197 (.418) record against teams in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 83-72 (.538) at home, but are just 42-107 (.281) on opponents’ home floors.

Since joining the SEC, Carolina is 76-119 (.391) in regular-season league games and 88-130 (.405) overall including postseason contests (USC played LSU in the 1996 Maui Invitational, and Alabama and Vanderbilt in the 1996 postseason NIT).

Overall, South Carolina is 53-76 (.413) in games against SEC East squads since the league went to a divisional alignment when the Gamecocks and Arkansas joined the league in 1992. The Gamecocks are 35-53 (.398) against SEC West teams in that same span.


USC is ranked No. 43 in the latest Sagarin ratings (1-9-04). It also ranks Carolina’s SOS as 307. On, USC is ranked No. 79 (1-8-04). On, USC’s RPI is No. 71 but its strength of schedule is rated at 295.

In both polls this week USC received votes.

Made to be topped

Last season Chuck Eidson broke the career steals record with 274. What records are in jeporady this year? Three players are on pace to reach career milestones or records. The following is a chart on each.

Player Category Player Stat Record or place of reachable record

Mike Boynton, Jr. Car. Games Played 106 123/1

Mike Boynton, Jr. Car. Steals 95 112/10

Rolando Howell Car. Blocks 57 76/10

Rolando Howell Points 837 1000/41

Carlos Powell Points 796 1000/41

Came game ready

USC knew that the freshmen class was going to have to produce in order for the team to be successful this season. If you take a look at the freshmen stats for SEC players, it’s pretty obvious they are contributing in every area.

Renaldo Balkman is in the top 10 of five categories among SEC freshmen. Brandon Wallace is also listed in the top 10 in two categories, with Tre Kelley making the list in one category.

Balkman is No. 2 in steals (1.0), No. 3 in blocks (1.3), No. 4 in ppg (7.3), No. 5 in rpg (4.7), No. 9 in field goal percentage (51.2%).

Wallace is No. 2 in blocked shots (1.5) and No. 4 on the list in rebounding (4.8 rpg). Kelley is No. 6 in assists (2.0 apg).

Balkman leads the team with nine dunks. Wallace has the Fab Fives only double-double of the year, collecting 10 points and 11 rebounds against The Citadel on Dec. 3. JUCO transfer Josh Gonner has the highest point total in one game, collecting 19 against N.C. State.