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Nov. 25, 2005

South Carolina, with its 65-60 victory over Alaska Anchorage on Thanksgiving night and a school record 15 blocked shots, advanced to the winner’s bracket and will play Monmouth University (N.J.) on Friday, Nov. 25 at 12 am (EST) in the semi-finals of the Great Alaska Shootout. The Hawks advanced after beating Southern Illinois 80-68 on Thursday evening. It will be the first time the two teams have met.

Carolina’s travels to Anchorage took it almost 4,500 miles from coast to coast and over parts of Canada.

The USC-MU game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Eric Collins and Jimmy Dyke making the call. It is the third of at least 20 games USC will play on television during the regular season this year and the second of at least six on national television.

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.

About the Northerners II

Monmouth is 1-1 with its win over SIU and a Nov. 21 loss at San Francisco (70-66). MU is headed up by 1991 MU graduate Dave Calloway, who is in his ninth season as the head coach at MU. Prior to working as the head coach, he was an assistant coach for six-plus seasons. Monmouth, who plays in the Northeast Conference, was 16-13 in 2004-05 and won the regular season NEC. The Hawks advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament in both 2001 and 2004 under Calloway.

Calloway played college ball at MU as well, logging 1,404 points. His team was 67-48 during his tenure as a player, posting a winning record all four years. He still holds every single career and single-season three-point shooting record with the Hawks.

Vs. the SEC/vs. the NEC

Monmouth is 1-1 all-time against the SEC. It’s only two meetings: an 81-67 win over Vanderbilt at the 2001 Hawai’I Pacific Thanksgiving Classic and an 85-52 NCAA Tournament first round loss to Mississippi State in 2004.

USC is 1-1 vs. the NEC. The Gamecocks defeated St. Francis (Pa.) 85-75 at home on Jan. 5, 1984. Carolina lost 58-55 to the other St. Francis (N.Y) on Dec. 30, 1953 at the All-American Tournament in Owensboro, Ky.


While Renaldo Balkman was named the Player of the Game in USC’s 65-60 win over Alaska Anchorage, Monmouth’s Tyler Azzarelli was named the Player of the Game in the Hawks 80-68 win over SIU. Azzarelli tallied 22 PT, 5 AST, 3 REB and 3 STL.

NOTE: If superstitious, don’t mention it . . .

USC ended last season with a five-game winning streak en-route to the 2005 NIT Championship. Opening the season at 3-0, USC has won eight straight. The last time USC tacked together eight straight wins (in season or to end, begin another season): USC started the 2003-04 season 8-0, winning the Guardians Classic Tournament in the process. The Gamecocks ended up 23-11 on the year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. At least nine straight?: USC won 12 straight games from Jan. 4, 1997 to Feb. 8, 1997 en-route to winning its only SEC title with a 15-1 record in the league.

Face (book) time, ESPN Does us RIGHT!

Carolina will appear on television at least 20 times this season during the regular season, including at least six games on national television (5 ESPN, 1 CBS) and one tape delay (SUN Sports). The 20 appearances will be the most regular-season television appearances ever for the Gamecocks. Most ever appearances on ESPN/ESPN2 for the Gamecocks? The year they advanced to the NIT finals they were on the network nine times, including four straight NIT games on ESPN/ESPN2.

USC is already 2-0 on TV this season.

Dating back to last season, USC is a perfect 5-0 on ESPN the last two years, including a 73-61 win over No. 3 Kentucky (2/15/05) and a 60-57 win over St. Joe’s to win the 2005 NIT title.

What’s next?

If South Carolina defeats Monmouth, the Gamecocks will play the winner of the Marquette/Oral Roberts game for the championship at 10:30 pm (EST) on Sat., Nov. 26 on ESPN2 nationally. If USC falls to MU, USC will play the loser of the Marquette/Oral Roberts game on Saturday. USC is 4-11 vs. Marquette and 1-1 vs. Oral Roberts.

A bit of knowledge … South Carolina’s 15 blocked shots broke the school record set six years ago (14 vs. SC State, 12/30/99). It was the most for a Gamecock team under Odom since USC blocked 12 vs. Campbell (11/29/03).

Behind Renaldo Balkman’s first career double-double (14 PT, 12 REB), USC held Alaska Anchorage off 65-60 in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout on Thursday night. It was USC’s first double-double since then-senior Carlos Powell scored 17 PT and pulled down 12 REB in a 75-67 NIT semi-final win over Maryland on March 29, 2005.

Thursday night was a night for career moments, including the following:


CAREER-HIGH IN BLOCKS: Brandon Wallace: 7 BLK; Tarence Kinsey: 3 BLK




TIED CAREER-HIGH IN BLOCKS: Renaldo Balkman: 4 BLK (5 times: last time, Toledo 11/20/05)

TIED CAREER-HIGH IN ASSISTS: Rocky Trice: 3 AST (vs. SCSU 12/22/04; at Georgia 2/5/05)

Our last time?

This is Carolina’s first appearance in the Great Alaska Shootout since 1990 (its only other appearance). USC went 2-1 that year. After defeating Nevada Reno 63-61 on Nov. 23, 1990, USC dropped a 65-59 game to eventual runner-up Virginia on Nov. 24. USC defeated host Alaska Anchorage 72-59 on Nov. 25 to capture the third place title. USC had three players make the All-Tournament team: JoJo English, Joe Rhett and Barry Manning.

USC is now 3-1 all-time in the Great Alaska Shootout. USC’s women won the Great Alaska Shootout in 1995.

Super 7 for Wallace

Brandon Wallace blocked a career-best seven shots against Alaska Anchorage. He is No. 7 in career blocks with 98 total. He needs 25 blocks to reach No. 6 — Tony Kitchings (123, 1999-2003) and then one more to hit the top five (Ryan Stack, 124, 1995-96). The career leader might be a bit tougher. It’s 235 blocked shots by Danny Traylor (1971-73).

Brandon Wallace blocked 55 shots last season. The 55 tied Ryan Stack who also blocked 55 in the 1997-98 season.

Last year, Wallace tied a then-career high with five blocks in the OT win over Ole Miss on 3-6-06. In 2004-05 he blocked at least one shot in 25 of 33 games – including blocking three or more shots in eight games.