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Dec. 14, 2004

South Carolina comes off a 10-day break for final exams to host South Florida Tuesday, Dec. 14 in a 7:30 pm game at The Colonial Center. The game will be part of a doubleheader with the Gamecock women’s team as they play Florida A & M at 5 pm.

The Gamecocks are 4-1 on the early season and have played all five games against non-conference opponents. Their last outing they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Clemson (Dec. 4, 62-63). One bright spot: sophomore Tre’ Kelley scored 22 points – a career high.

South Florida is 5-3 on the season with a 71-62 loss at Michigan on Saturday. Last year the Bulls were 1-15 in Conference USA (the lone win was a 68-60 win over Southern Miss in Tampa) and 7-20 overall. The Bulls return eight letterwinners and three starters for second year head coach Robert McCullum.

The Gamecocks and the Bulls are meeting for the first time since February 23, 1977. The series between the two teams is tied, 1-1, with both teams taking a win on their home court.

The game will be the first non-conference regular season against a Conference USA opponent since December 2, 2000. The last two games played against a Conference USA opponent are both against Memphis. The Gamecocks lost the 2002 NIT Championship to Memphis and lost the 2004 NCAA Tournament 1st Round game to the Tigers. USC has lost three straight games to Conference USA opponents and holds a 58-80 mark against teams in that conference.

What They’ve Been Doing …

Plagued by foul trouble for most of the contest, senior Terrence Leather poured in a career-high 28 points in 25 minutes of action as the University of South Florida men’s basketball team (5-3) fell to the Michigan Wolverines (6-3), 71-62, on Saturday, Dec. 11 at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Bulls shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field during the first half and 47 percent (26-of-56) for the game as USF dropped its third contest of the season. Struggling from behind the arch, USF recorded a season-low two three-pointers, shooting 15 percent (2-of-13) from three-point land.

Backyard Ballers

South Carolina features two players from Tampa – the home of the Bulls. Junior Tarence Kinsey attended Jefferson High School and was Florida’s AAAA Player of the Year. He finished his career as Jefferson’s all-time leading scorer. Sophomore forward Renaldo Balkman, an All-SEC Freshman team selection, comes from Tampa to Carolina via Laurinburg Institute in Laurinburg, N.C.

On deck

The Gamecocks’ first six games of the season have been all played at home. The game at USF will be the last of the six before USC hit’s the road for the first time this season.

South Carolina’s schedule gets tough real fast this week. After the game against South Florida on Tuesday, the Gamecocks will depart for Lawrence, Kansas where they will play No. 2 Kansas in famed Allen Fieldhouse on Sat., Dec. 18 at 8:00 pm (est). The game will be featured on FOX SportsSouth with Gary Williams (play by play) and Barry Booker (color analyst) making the call.

The Gamecocks have never faced Kansas. Coach Odom is 1-1 against the Jayhawks. His win came at Wake Forest on Dec. 7, 2000 when the then-Wake Forest head coach led his team to a 84-53 pasting of KU. The loss occurred in the 1994 NCAA Tournament Second Round, when Kansas handed Wake a 69-58 loss in Lexington, Ky.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and Odom have never faced each other as Self has been the head coach at Kansas, Illinois and Tulsa.

Not coming back so quick

South Carolina will travel to Mobile, Ala., on Saturday after the Kansas game. USC will play East Carolina at 6:30 pm (est) on Monday, Dec. 20 as part of the GMAC Bowl. The game will be shown on CSS.

Dave Odom has quite a history with East Carolina. He was the school’s head coach from 1979-1982, tallying a 38-42 record in his three years. He has never faced the school as a head coach.

USC is 5-5 against the Pirates. Their last meeting: USC dropped a 34-56 game in Columbia under then-Gamecock head coach Eddie Fogler on Dec. 19, 1998.

Starting over

The game with USF will be South Carolina’s game first since its 62-63 overtime loss to Clemson on December 4. The Gamecocks have been idle because of final exams and will now play four games in eight days (USF, Dec. 14; at Kansas Dec. 18, vs. East Carolina Dec. 20 and SC State, Dec. 22).

Against Clemson, 17,828 fans attended the overtime thriller. That mark was the third highest total in Colonial Center history and the highest total ever for a non-conference game at the Colonial Center. In 37 total home games at the Colonial Center USC has had 10,000 fans or more in attendance 22 times.

The lose to Clemson ended a number of streaks for USC:

• 26 consecutive non-conference home wins

• Odom’s first loss to Clemson in 10 games

• First non-conference loss at the Colonial Center (20-1)

• Ended USC’s four game winning streak against Clemson

• USC’s first loss to a team in the state of South Carolina under Coach Odom (14-1)

• First loss of the 2004-05 season

• The eight points scored by Carlos Powell against Clemson ended his streak of scoring 10 or more points in a non-conference game. Powell had scored 10 or more in 18 straight non-conference games.

Not Now

South Carolina hasn’t lost back to back to non-conference opponents since losing at Wyoming and at Colorado State on Dec. 19 and Dec. 22 of 2002. At home, Carolina hasn’t lost back to back home non-conference games since losing to Clemson and East Carolina on Dec. 16 and Dec. 19. 1998.