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Jan. 28, 2005

South Carolina travels to the Sunshine State on Sat., Jan. 29 for the first of two games this year against the Florida Gators. The 1:00 pm game on Saturday will be shown on Jefferson-Pilot (JP) television with Tim Brando making the call and Larry Conley working as the color analyst.

USC Head Coach Dave Odom visited with the media on Friday prior to the Florida game on Saturday. Notes on the Florida game follow his comments.

“There are some outstanding freshmen in this league this year and Florida is no exception,” said Odom. “They have three of the most talented freshmen in the league – it’s quality and quantity with their freshmen. Anthony Roberson is also excellent and David Lee is having his best season this year. I would expect that Matt Walsh would be back in the line-up and if not in the line-up then he will play a considerable amount.

“Florida is a team we need to stand up to and it would be a real feather in our cap if we could beat them. We prepared well yesterday, we have put together a good plan and now it’s a matter of executing it. I expect we will start the same line-up on Saturday afternoon as well (Powell, Wallace, Balkman, Kelley, Kinsey). Florida would be an exceptional win and viewed even better as the season went on.”

“Our offensive efficiency is good enough if we get the ball enough on offense we put ourselves in position to win basketball games. We need to get to the foul line more. I can’t figure that out. It seems like teams are coming in saying `we just won’t foul them.’

Coach Odom talked about the Vanderbilt game

“I was really proud of the way we finished the Vanderbilt game. We really came alive in the second half. Carlos Powell hit a three-pointer, Brandon Wallace hit a three-pointer and Renaldo Balkman hit a three-pointer. Tarence Kinsey hit a three-pointer. We really came alive. We made some very good passes and Vanderbilt went a bit cold offensively. Our defense and rebounding also really picked up in the second half. John Chappell gave us some defensive presence inside. The real key was our ability to rebound in the second half.”

“That is the first time in a game this year that Carlos Powell has been double and triple teamed. He couldn’t make his move to the glass. But I was glad to see he worked himself out of that. In the past he might have gone in the tank.”

Coach Odom was asked about John Chappell

“John Chappell has earned more playing time. He is probably the most popular player on the team. You couldn’t possibly dislike him. He’s just simple enough, with no hidden agenda. He does nothing harmful or hurtful to anyone. So when we substitute him in a game almost anytime it pleases his teammates. He is not always the best player to substitute but his teammates want him to do well because they know how much effort he puts into it. But this isn’t a popularity contest either. He has earned more playing time through his efforts.

“Carlos Powell asked me yesterday `Coach, do you think Chap will get more time?’ and I said `What do you think?’ He said `I hope so.’

“John wants everybody to do well and everybody wants him to d well. He’s the first cousin to Rainman.”

Coach Odom was also asked about getting that first road win this year.

“We’ve played well on the road. We have to keep plugging. We just haven’t played well enough. We are sort of like Vanderbilt – they played well the other night at our place, but just not well enough. I’ve been thinking about what I can do to help; not motivational, but tactical. There are times in every game that as a coach you can sense the game in on the line. Next time we are in that position – it’s now win time – I may call an uncharacteristic time-out to address the team and say `make good shots’, `don’t turn it over’, ` don’t play casual’, `don’t forget the fundamentals.’

Coach Odom on NCAA Tournament bid hopes

“I tell my team in the fall that the NCAA Tournament begins the first day we play a Division I team in November. It begins when the season begins. You can’t lose non-conference games, you can’t have bad losses out of conference. So I address the team about that in November and December. If I asked Tarence Kinsey in November about the game that night, he would say `Coach, this is an NCAA Tournament game tonight’. They know you can’t lose those type of games early and expect to go. Once its Christmas time, they are more aware and you don’t need to remind them.”


South Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Carlos Powell (15.1 ppg), Tre’ Kelley (10.5 ppg) and Tarence Kinsey (10.0 ppg). Powell also leads the Gamecocks in rebounds with 6.5 rpg.

Posting a 68-63 win over Vandy on Wednesday, the Gamecocks are sporting a 11-6 record overall and a 3-3 mark in conference play. Home court advantage has helped out the Gamecocks as USC are 10-1 at the Colonial Center this season and 1-0 on a neutral court.

On the road, USC has played teams close but has came up short as the Gamecocks are 0-5 on the road. Four of the five losses have been by eight points or less, while three of the five have been by four or less. Four of the five teams have been nationally ranked with four of them being ranked in the Top 17.

About Them and Playing Us

Florida defeated Georgia 70-47 on ESPN on Tuesday night, good for head coach Billy Donovan’s 80th SEC win.

The Gators come in 12-4 overall and a 4-1 SEC record. UF is led by junior Anthony Roberson, who is averaging 18.4 ppg and 2.4 rpg. David Lee leads the Gators with 7.8 rpg, adding 12.0 ppg. Matt Walsh, who has been sidelined for almost a month with an ankle injury, but has played the last two games, is averaging 14.6 ppg (second on the team) and 2.9 rpg. Walsh played 24 minutes, scoring nine points in the Georgia win.

Florida leads the overall series 25-19 and holds a 12-5 mark in Gainesville. The Gamecocks have lost seven in a row to the Gators overall and have lost six in a row in Gainesville. The Gamecocks last win in Gainesville was a 79-74 win on Feb. 21, 1998. USC’s last win overall against Florida was a 69-68 upset against the No. 5 Gators in Columbia on Jan. 7, 2001.

Not on USC’s side, but it’s just a stat — Florida is 16-5 in the month of January over the past three years (16-4 in SEC).

.500 and looking to be .571!

The Gamecocks opened up their 2005 SEC schedule against the Wildcats in Kentucky and dropped the game to the nation’s No. 8 team by four (75-79). Since then USC has won every other game, battling to stay at .500 in the conference. (Wins: vs. Georgia, vs. Tennessee, vs. Vanderbilt; Losses: at No. 8 Kentucky, at LSU and at No. 17 Miss, State).

A BIG Smile

USC is 6-0 this season following a loss. Four of the wins after the loss were decided by five points or less (East Carolina 57-53, South Florida 72-70, Tennessee 66-63 and Vanderbilt 68-63) while two others were decided by 20 or more (App. State 91-57, Georgia 74-54). USC was 6-4 last season following a loss.

Less Means More and So On

Josh Gonner is averaging six minutes less playing time than he did last year (29.9 mpg last year to 23.8 mpg this year). But his shooting percentage has increased in all three categories this season. In field goal percentage he is shooting 41.2% to last year’s 41.0%. In three point field goal percentage he is shooting 34.8% to last season’s 33.8%. And on the free throw lane, he is shooting 74.1% to last year’s 72.5%.

Tre’ Kelley is averaging almost double the minutes he did last year — with 31.4 mpg this year on the hardwood, compared to last year’s 16.1 mpg. He is also averaging double the points this year, averaging 10.5 ppg this year to last season’s 5.1 ppg.

Brandon Wallace is also averaging a significant amount of more minutes this year, playing 24.0 mpg this year compared to last season’s 13.4 mpg. Wallace leads the team with 28 blocks (he had 35 blocks in 34 games last year) and 16 dunks.

The Gators Last Time Out

Florida raced out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back in a 70-47 win over SEC rival Georgia on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators (12-4, 4-1) built a 17-point cushion at the half and increased their margin to 27 points during the second half en route to head coach Billy Donovan’s 80th victory in conference play. The Bulldogs’ 47 point total was their lowest against Florida since Dec. 28, 1951. UF also held a commanding 44-21 edge on the boards over the Bulldogs (7-9, 1-5).

Junior Anthony Roberson had a game-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, including four treys. Al Horford ended the game with 10 points and seven rebounds. Six of Horford’s 10 points were off free throws. Also from the charity stripe were junior Matt Walsh and sophomore Lee Humphrey. Both Gators were perfect from the line with Walsh hitting all five of his free throws and Humphrey knocking down 4-of-4.

Post-game Vanderbilt

The following are notes/quotes following the Vanderbilt game:

The 8 3’s by Vandy in the first half vs. South Carolina were the most since Alabama hit 11 3’s in the second half last year (a 90-82 OT win over `Bama on 2-4-04) — Alabama was 5-12 in the 1st half; 11-16 in the 2nd half and 0-3 in the OT period.

* USC out-rebounded Vanderbilt 27-12 in the second half. The Gamecocks recorded 16 offensive rebounds against Vanderbilt on Wednesday night. The total was the fourth highest this season. USC totaled 19 vs. Wofford, 18 vs. Temple, and 17 vs. SC State. Carolina has 15 or more offensive rebounds in five games this season.
* Renaldo Balkman recorded his first start this year against the Commodores and his ninth career start. In the last three games, he has totaled 32 points, 19 rebounds and 7 assists. He has scored in every game this season and is second on the team in rebounds per game. Against Vanderbilt, he was one rebound shy of recording his first double-double.