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March 2, 2004

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South Carolina, 21-7 and 8-6 in the SEC, will host Kentucky in the last regular season game of the year at the Colonial Center on Wednesday, March 3 at 8:07 pm. The game will be televised on Jefferson-Pilot. The first meeting between the two schools resulted in a 65-64 win by Kentucky with USC missing a last second shot for the win.

USC Head Coach Dave Odom will start four seniors in Mike Boynton, Jr., Kerbrell Brown, Sheldon Everett and IVAN HOWELL. It is the first career start for both Everett and Howell. Rolando Howell, manager Hall Beard and the other four seniors will be honored prior to the game at 7:50 pm. Fans are encouraged to get to the game early to help honor the seniors and their families!

USC is in a two-way tie for second place in the SEC Eastern Division with Florida (17-8). Every team on the SEC Eastern side has a winning record this year. Only Arkansas (12-13) and Ole MIss (12-13) don’t have winning record on the SEC West side.

In its last game, South Carolina defeated Georgia on Saturday 63-47. Kentucky defeated LSU on Sunday on CBS 70-64.

The Wildcats are 21-4 on the year and 11-3 in the SEC – having clinched the SEC Eastern Division title on Sunday. The Wildcats are coached by seventh-year head coach Tubby Smith. The Wildcats were 32-4 last season and posted a perfect 16-0 record in SEC play. They won the SEC Tournament and made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. They return three starters and 12 letterwinners.

Gamecocks vs. Wildcats

Kentucky holds a 12-3 mark in Columbia overall and a 32-5 advantage overall. The Gamecocks last win against Kentucky came at the 2002 SEC Tournament in Atlanta. The last time the Gamecocks defeated the Wildcats in Columbia was in the 1996-97 season. Carolina took an 84-79 game in OT on February 4, 1997. The current losing streak to Kentucky in Columbia is at six games.

Last season the Wildcats came to Columbia and scored 87 points on the Gamecocks in the Colonial Center. The 87 points is the most by an opponent in the Colonial Center. The Wildcats shot 52.3% from the floor in that game.

Not a ticket to be had

The last two home games of the year, against Georgia and Kentucky, have been sell-outs. The Kentucky game sold out last Wednesday – two weeks prior to the game. The Georgia game sold out on Tuesday. USC has had five sell-outs this year.

The Gamecocks have played six home SEC games so far and have a record of 4-2. All six games have seen a packed crowd in the Colonial Center as 15,042 or more have packed the Center in those five games. (15,042 vs. Florida; 17,806 vs. Tennessee; 17,927 vs. LSU; 16,227 vs. Alabama; 17,792 vs. MSU; 16,092 vs. Vanderbilt; 17,814 vs. Georgia). The LSU crowd of 17,927 was the largest crowd to ever see a basketball game in the state of South Carolina and the first pre-game day sell out.

Fans have poured into the Colonial Center to watch the Gamecocks play their SEC games. 118,700 total fans have packed the Colonial Center in seven SEC games this season. USC is averaging 16,957 fans per conference game.

Coach Speak

USC Head Coach Dave Odom and Kentucky Head Coach Tubby Smith both spoke to the media via the SEC tele-conference on Monday.

“Looks to me like Kentucky is an improved basketball team,” said Odom. “They continue to play well on the road. They’re playing at full strength right now. It’s going to be a difficult game for us. It’s an important game, and one that we’ll have to play very well in just to win at the end.”

On Kentucky’s defense: “I think their defense is so team-oriented, and each one of them covers for the other so well. They’re not given to making errors. They make you beat them. That really describes their defense. They rebound the heck out of the basketball. They take advantage of turnover mistakes. They can play man-to-man 70-80 percent of the time, but their zone is also effective.”

“It’s very good to have Gerald Fitch back and playing well,” said Smith. “Anytime you play the Gamecocks it’s going to be tough. We were lucky to get the win here last time.”

50 or less

USC has held seven squads to 50 points or less this season while allowing opponents to score only 60.8 points a game. Under Odom, South Carolina has held 17 opponents to 50 points or less. USC is 15-1 in the games where they have held opponents to 50 or less. The only loss came against Auburn last season.

The Sweet 17 with 50 or less under Odom are: Wofford 49, Providence 48, SC State 50, Charleston Southern 41, Vanderbilt 43, Auburn 50, Ball State 47, Temple 47, The Citadel 50, Mississippi 49, Navy 40, Campbell 48, The Citadel 38, Charleston Southern 36, SC State 50, Yale 48, and Georgia 47.

Going all the way back to the Frank McGuire era, which started in 1964, USC has held 69 opponents to 50 points or less. The most times in a season that USC has held opponents to 20 or less is seven times during the 2001-02 season (Odom’s first season at USC) and this season. The second most is six times in the 1969-70 season.

Coaches since the 1964-65 season

Coach Number of times Seasons at USC

McGuire 27 16

Odom 17 3rd season

Fogler 10 8

Felton 8 5

Foster 4 6

Newton 3 2

Guarded tough

Carlos Powell scored in double figures in the first 24 games of the season but defenders have kept Powell to eight points or less in the last four games. Powell has scored 26 points in those four games.

Losing at the half, not so fast

The Gamecocks were 3-26 when losing at halftime under Coach Odom before this season but the Gamecocks have managed to turn that around. This season Carolina is 5-3 when trailing at the half to make the total 8-29 overall under Odom when trailing at the half.

10 or less

The Gamecocks came into the season turning the ball over 10 or fewer times 13 times under Coach Odom. This season, USC has accomplished that feat seven times.


Josh Gonner came on strong in USC’s Saturday night win against Georgia. Gonner was seven of nine from the field and seven of eight from the free throw line to lead USC with 22 points. Gonner’s previous three games had him going 6-26 from the field and 6-10 from the free throw line for a total of 21 points. The 22 points marked the fourth time for him with 20 or more points and the sixth time that he has led the team in scoring.

March Madness

Under Odom, the Gamecocks are 12-2 in November, 15-6 in December and then when SEC play starts in January the Gamecocks are 11-11 and 10-13 in February. USC will play two regular season games in March before playing in the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks are 7-6 under Odom in March. Six of the seven wins came in the 2002-03 season when USC made the run for the NIT Championship in New York. The Gamecocks upset Kentucky in the SEC Tourney but then lost to Alabama before going on to win their next four games and then losing to Memphis in the NIT Final.

Home Sweet Home

The Gamecocks 14 wins at home this season is tied for the second most in USC history. The 1973-74 team went 14-1 while the 1974-75 team also went 14-1. The 1982-83 team has 17 which is the USC record. This season USC is 14-2 at the Colonial Center.

2001 and beyond: USC is 47-18 at home since 2001