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Dec. 31, 2004

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Less than 48 hours removed from a four point loss at No. 10 Pittsburgh (68-72), USC returns for a 6 pm showdown with Wofford on New Year’s Eve to finish off the non-conference slate. The game will be shown on C-SET featuring Gary Williams (play by play) and Lane Odom (color analyst). As its last non-conference game of the year, South Carolina will open the SEC season at Rupp Arena on Wednes., Jan. 5.

What others think
In the latest Sportline Top 25 poll USC is ranked No. 23 (Dec. 29). In the latest RPI rankings (Dec. 30), USC is ranked No. 25 (old RPI) and No. 39 (new RPI). Its strength of schedule on ranks as the 22nd best in the country. In the Dec. 30 Sagarin rankings, USC is ranked No. 50 and its strength of schedule is ranked No. 115.

USC vs. Them
USC is 38-18 all-time against the Terriers and 26-8 in Columbia. USC has won 19 in a row against Wofford. The last Wofford win came in Spartanburg when the Terriers took a 33-31 win in the 1938-39 season. The two teams split that year with Carolina taking a 34-31 win in Columbia.

Wofford’s last win in Columbia came during the 1931-32 season. During the 19 game winning streak, three games have been decided by 10 points or less with two of them being the games in the 1938-39 season and the 1941-42 season.

A Quick Overview of the Terriers
The Wofford basketball team returns to action for the first time since Dec. 19 when it faces South Carolina. The Gamecocks represent the Terriers’ fourth and final opponent from the SEC this season. Wofford has already defeated Auburn (8578, Dec. 5) while suffering close losses to Tennessee (73-67, Nov. 29) and Georgia (93-89, OT, Dec. 19). Wofford will have played just two games in the last 19 days when it takes the court at USC. After defeating Appalachian State (Dec. 11), the Terriers took a week off for final exams. Wofford then played consecutive days at Charleston Southern and Georgia (Dec. 18- 19) before breaking for Christmas.

For the eighth time in their 10 seasons on the Division I level, the Terriers are facing USC. Wofford has dropped 19 consecutive decisions to the Gamecocks with its last win coming in 1938-39 (33-31).

The Terriers have already defeated a Gamecock squad this season, posting an 81-76 win over Jacksonville State (Dec. 1).

Use to be
Wofford senior guard Greg Taylor will be facing his former school. Taylor played his first two years at South Carolina. Per NCAA transfer rules, he sat out the 2002- 03 campaign and is now in his second season with the Terriers.

Not too shabby
With a 7-3 record, the Terriers are off to their best start in 10 seasons on the Division I level. Overall, it’s Wofford’s top mark after 10 games since a 9-1 record in 1993-94.

Terrier forward Howard Wilkerson has received SoCon Player of the Week honors twice this season. In four games against SEC and ACC competition, Wilkerson is averaging 23.3 points and 9.8 rebounds. The Terriers top the SoCon in scoring (82.4 points per game), field-goal percentage (49.0) and assist/turnover ratio (1.4).

USC is 4-3 this season in the month of December, with two of the three losses coming at #2 Kansas and at #10 Pittsburgh. The Gamecocks lost those two games by a combined eight points on the ranked teams home court. The other loss was against Clemson in overtime. The Tigers hit a last second shot to win the game by one. The three losses were by a combined nine points. In the Gamecock wins, USC didn’t just walk away with those games as all but one was decided by six points or less.

Wofford’s the last
With Wofford being the last in-state foe the Gamecocks will face this season, it can be pointed out that Coach Odom has dominated the state of South Carolina in basketball. The head coach is 54-9 overall against all teams in the state of South Carolina — with its only losses coming to in-state rival Clemson. That total includes one game against the Gamecocks as well. The most wins come against Clemson as Odom is 22-9 against the Tigers and is 31-0 against the rest of South Carolina.

Don’t shoot around him
Brandon Wallace has been a blocking machine as of late as he has blocked 10 shots in his last three games. Wallace had four blocks against East Carolina, three against SC State and added three blocks at No. 10 Pittsburgh. Wallace also grabbed 10 boards in the win over SC State. The 10 rebounds are one shy of his career high that came against the Citadel on December 3, 2003 when he collected 11 boards in his first career start.