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Nov. 20, 2005

After the ride up to Western Carolina and collecting an 87-62 victory on Friday night, South Carolina returns home to the Colonial Center to host University of Toledo at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. The game, part of a double-header with USC’s women (the women will play Winthrop at 3:30 pm), will be shown on Fox Sports South with Dave Neal (play by play) and former Auburn and Clemson coach Cliff Ellis (analyst) making the call. It is the first of at least 19 games USC will play on television during the regular season this year (see note on page six).

The game will also be a carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst) making the call.

It is the Rockets season opener, after they defeated Wayne State in 85-65 in exhibition play earlier this month. UT returns seven of its top eight scorers from a team that was 16-13 in 2004-05, finishing tied for first in the MAC West Division. The Rockets were 11-7 in league play. Toledo is the pre-season favorite to win the Mid-American Conference’s West Division for the second straight year. Their last visit, Dec. 3, 1975, resulted in a 84-64 win by the Gamecocks.

“South Carolina is a big, long athletic tam with a very good coach in Dave Odom,” said UT’s head coach Stan Joplin. “It’s an opportunity for us to get a gauge on where we’re at, but we’re also going down there with the idea that we’re going to win and to do everything possible to accomplish that.”


It will be the seventh meeting between Carolina and Toledo, but the first time either head coach has faced each other.

USC is 9-7 against the Mid-American Conference, including 8-1 at home.

Who has next?

South Carolina departs for Charlotte after the game against Toledo and will fly to Anchorage, Alaska very early on Monday morning. USC is set to start play in the 28th annual Great Alaska Shootout on Thanksgiving Day. USC will play host Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 24 at 10 pm (EST). The game will be televised on ESPN2.

It is the Gamecocks first appearance in the Great Alaska Shootout since 1990. USC went 2-1 that year. USC will also play on Friday and Saturday, with game times and opponents to be televised. If USC makes the semi-finals or finals, those games will also be shown on ESPN2.

Starting on the road

The last time Carolina opened up on the road it was against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational during the 2001-02 season. The Gamecocks defeated Chaminade 74-61 to advance to the next round to face top-ranked Duke, dropping an 81-56 decision.

USC has opened the season five times in the last 15 years on a neutral court (2001, 1998, 1997, 1996 and 1990).

The last time South Carolina opened the season on an away floor, the Gamecocks were defeated 55-45 at the hands of the Tennessee Volunteers on Dec. 2, 1972. USC’s last win to open the season on the road was a year before, a 84-63 win over Auburn on Dec. 1, 1971.

USC is now 6-14 when opening on the road.

Start me up

Tarence Kinsey ended last year’s season with a three-pointer in the NIT Championship win over St. Joe’s. Not to be outdone, he started this season with a three in both the USC-Aiken (exhibition) and Western Carolina (season opener) — the Gamecocks first points of the season.

Newcomer Bryce Sheldon’s first shot as a Gamecock – a three-point attempt – rattled in the net at 5:57 in the second half at Western Carolina. Another JUCO newcomer, Kevin Palacios also put some points on the board, scoring three points.

In South Carolina’s 87-62 win at Western Carolina on Friday night, every Gamecock who played scored at lest two points. Dwayne Day scored a career-high 18 points, including four three-pointers – all in the second half. Also hitting double-figures for Carolina vs. the Catamounts were Tre’ Kelley (15), Tarence Kinsey (14), Antoine Tisby (12) and Renaldo Balkman (11). Balkman led the Gamecocks with six rebounds and four assists.

It was USC’s second-straight season opening win over Western Carolina as Carolina came away with an 87-61 in Columbia on Nov. 21, 2004.