Jan. 24, 2004
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Carlos Powell had 12 points, including South Carolina’s only 3-pointer of the game with 1:38 left, to lead the 25th-ranked Gamecocks past LSU 61-55 Saturday night.
South Carolina (17-2, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) had lost a 10-point lead and trailed 50-47 on Brandon Bass’ dunk with 3:54 remaining.
The Gamecocks then got some help when LSU coach John Brady was called for a technical foul after he fell over on the sideline when Darrel Mitchell picked up a charging foul on a driving layup.
Josh Gonner hit one of the two foul shots for South Carolina and Powell tied it on an inside basket off the inbounds play. After Xavier Whipple hit two free throws to put the Tigers (12-4, 2-3) back in front 52-50, Powell stroked a high-arcing 3 from the left corner – the Gamecocks’ first after starting 0-of-22.
Gonner stole the inbounds pass and converted a quick layup that gave South Carolina a 55-52 lead and sent the record crowd of 17,927 at the Colonial Center into a frenzy.
The Gamecocks pushed their lead to 58-52, but nearly gave it away again.
Whipple had two foul shots after an unsportsmanlike technical foul on South Carolina’s Michael Boyton to draw LSU to 58-55. But that was as close as it got for the Tigers, who lost their third straight in the SEC.
South Carolina, who returned to the national rankings this week for the first time in nearly six years, is off to its best start in 34 years. The 1969-70 team went 18-1. The Gamecocks have not been this good in the SEC since opening 11-0 in 1996-97.
Rolando Howell had 12 points off the bench for South Carolina.
Jamie Lloreda finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season.
LSU looked ugly most of the half. Only three Tigers scored in the first 17 minutes as they fell behind 29-19. But South Carolina tried to play to its capacity crowd and couldn’t.
The Gamecocks settled for quick 3-pointers, threw the ball away on flashy passes and committed fouls. As a result, LSU scored the final 7 points of the half and trailed just 29-26.
LSU continued its hot streak after the break, increasing its lead to 43-36 while the Gamecocks missed long shot after long shot. That is until Powell made the only 3 that mattered for South Carolina.