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March 3, 2005

USC hosts Ole Miss Sunday, March 6 in its last regular game of the year. The non-televised game will tip-off at 2 pm EST. USC is 5-8 in regular season finales since joining the SEC.

South Carolina is coming off a 65-75 loss at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, while Ole Miss fell at home to LSU, 53-58.

It’s very likely the two will match-up again in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday, March 10 in Atlanta. Oddly enough the USC women closed out the regular season with Mississippi and also opened the SEC Tournament win the Rebels.

Ole Miss leads the overall series 10-9 but the Gamecocks hold a 5-1 mark in Columbia. The Rebels only win came in the 2000-01 season when they took a 67-61 victory. Three of the last four meetings between the two teams have been decided by six points or less. Last season, Ole Miss took a 79-68 victory in Oxford. Gamecocks

The Gamecocks enter the Ole Miss game with a 14-12 record overall and a 6-9 mark in conference play. Home court advantage had helped out the Gamecocks as they have collected a 12-3 record at the Colonial Center this season, with losses only to Clemson, Auburn and Florida.

The Gamecocks are 5-2 at the Colonial Center this season in SEC games, including its 73-61 win over No. 3 Kentucky. Last year Carolina was 5-3 in SEC play at home with the three losses coming against No. 14 Florida, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 6 Mississippi State. On the road, the Gamecocks have one road win to nine losses. Six of the nine losses have been by 8 points or less, while four of the six have been by four or less. Five of the nine teams have been nationally ranked with the five being ranked in the Top 17.

About Them

Ole Miss enters the game with a 13-15 record overall and a 4-11 record in the SEC. Their SEC wins have some against Georgia, Auburn (twice) and Tennessee. They are led by Tommie Eddie’s 11.1 ppg and Londrick Nolen is also averaging in double figures at 10.6 ppg and a team-leading 4.6 rpg.

Despite out-rebounding LSU, Ole MIss dropped a 53-58 game to the Tigers on Wednesday in Oxford. Marvin Moore and Todd Abernethy both chipped in double figures at 15 and 12, respectively. The Tigers were 20-28 at the free throw line to UM’s 7-13.

He Said, He Said

“It’s been a long year. When you look at the schedule and see that we play Ole Miss the last game of the regular season, it’s sort of funny, because we are so far away from each other and are in different divisions,” said USC Head Coach Dave Odom on the SEC teleconference on Thursday. “Then it looks as though we will turn around and play them again next week in the SEC Tournament. Ole Miss is not a team we think about a lot during the season, but it’s one we will be focusing on a lot over the next week. We are on a four-game slide and need to get back going again as we head into the SEC Tournament. They are a good team and we have to get ourselves ready to play.”

“Our guys have been able to put themselves in many opportunities to win some games.” said UM Head Coach Rod Barnes on the SEC teleconference on Thursday. “We are playing some really tough games, but just not doing enough to turn those close games into wins. But we are seeing some good things about us right now. It’s tough to have to go to South Carolina the last game of the regular season, but that’s just the way it is. We are trying to win games. Whatever it takes, that is what we are going to do.”

15 is No. 1

The Ole Miss game will be Carlos Powell’s 126th game in garnet and black, breaking Mike Boynton, Jr.’s school record set just last year for career games played (125).

Powell has 128 career steals, good enough for ninth on the all-time career steals list.

Powell is No. 12 on the career points scored list with 1,403 points. To move to No. 10 he needs 1,439 points (Jo Jo English). BJ McKie holds the record for most points scored at 2,119.

Against UT on Jan. 15, he scored at least 20 points (20) for the eighth time in his career (career high: 23 points at Clemson last season). He had the sixth double-double of his career when he collected 13 points and 10 rebounds at No. 2 Kansas, the seventh vs. SCSU two games later when he collected 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs and then his eighth career double-double vs. Auburn. Finally, he added his ninth double-double against Florida when he scored 17 points with 13 rebounds. The 13 rebounds were the most for Powell in an SEC game during his career.

Also Leading in PPG, RPG

SC is led by senior All-SEC candidate Carlos Powell. Powell is leading the team with 15.3 ppg and 6.6 rpg. He also led the team in those same categories last year. The last player to lead in these two categories in consecutive years was Jimmy Foster when he led the team three years in a row 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84. He is the only player to do it three consecutive years. Art Whisnant (1960-61 and 1961-62) and Joe Smith (1952-53 and 1953-54) are the only other players to accomplish that feat two straight years.

Powell has shot 50% or better in 19 of the 26 games this season and has led the team in scoring 16 times and rebounding 16 times. Powell had scored 10 or more points in 24 of 26 games this season (8 vs. Clemson, 9 vs. Vandy), but he has also been doing a good job of cleaning the boards for USC. The senior forward has totaled five or more rebounds in 19 of 26 games this season – including a 13 rebound performance vs. Florida.

18 straight

USC has shot 40% or better from the field in 18 straight games which include seven straight for USC shooting better than 50% from the floor.

Free Throws

Carolina has made only 21 free throws in its last four games, while their opponents have hit 65. The Gamecocks have only attempted 46 in those four games to their opponents 85.

Game SC Opponent FT difference Final Score Deficit

at Alabama 7-11 18-21 11 19

at Tennessee 5-12 12-17 7 8

Florida 6-17 12-14 6 1

at Vanderbilt 3-6 23-33 20 10

Total 21-46 65-85 44

Bring it back

Last season, USC held 24 opponents in 36 games to 69 points or less. This season it has been a different story for USC as the Gamecocks have held 16 of the 26 opponents to that total. In the 10 games where the opponent has scored 70 or more against the Gamecocks, USC is 1-9 where they were 4-6 last season. Opponents are shooting .418 against USC this season where they shot .394 against Carolina last year.

On the flip side, USC is shooting 46.9% this year to last year’s 43.4%. Carolina is also shooting better from the three-point line at 33.3% to last year’s 32.7%.

Streak — Please Come Back! Go Away.

USC is 8-3 this season following a loss after its back to back to back to back losses at No. 16 Alabama, at Tennessee, vs. Florida and at Vanderbilt. 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.

The four game losing streak is Carolina’s longest since losing seven in a row during the 2002-03 season. The streak started in the first game after USC upset #3 Kentucky on Tuesday, February 15th in Columbia 73-61. USC went 12-16 overall and 5-11 in the conference during the 2002-03 season but this season Carolina is 14-12 overall and 6-9 in SEC play.

On the Road

The Gamecocks are 1-7 on the road in conference play with the only win coming at Georgia on February 5th (60-53). The game against Georgia was one of only two SEC road games where USC took the lead into the half with the other being at Kentucky. Carolina was tied against Mississippi State but dropped the game by eight points. At LSU, at UF and at UT, USC trailed by 10 points or more at the break and dropped all three games. USC shot better than its opponent in six of the eight games (not at LSU or at Alabama). Opponents have shot more free throws than Carolina in all eight contests and have out-rebounded the Gamecocks in seven of the eight as well.

Eight SEC Road Games

Category USC SEC Opponents

Points 541 606

FG-FGA 222-459 (.484) 206-441 (.467)

FTM-FTA 50-79 (.633) 136-188 (.723)

Rebounds 232 283

Turnovers 102 94


South Carolina has held 21 opponents this season to under their season average. Thirteen of the 21 were held to 10 points or more under their average. The Gamecocks have also held five opponents this season to under 36.5% shooting in a game this season. USC has held six teams to shoot under 30% in a half this season.