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Dec. 16, 2005

South Carolina hosts Wofford at 7:30 pm on Saturday

Playing the last of three straight games against in-state foes, South Carolina hosts Wofford Sat., Dec. 17 at 7:30 pm as part of a double-header with the USC women (the women will play South Carolina State at 5 pm). Only one of two games left on USC’s home schedule not televised (Detroit-Mercy is the other), the men’s game will be carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). The next five of six games will be played at home, including the SEC opener against Tennessee on Jan. 8. Carolina is riding a four-game winning streak at home (last loss: Florida, 65-66 Feb. 27, 2005). USC is shooting 50.6% – 22nd nationally (as of Dec. 12) – and its opponents are shooting 40.2%. USC has 5.9 bpg to its opponents 1.5 bpg.

Three of the five Gamecock starters are averaging double figure points. Individually Carolina is led by Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 17.3 ppg and 3.9 rpg. The junior trio continues to play well: Renaldo Balkman leads the team with 8.0 rpg and is second with 13.6 ppg, Tre’ Kelley is third with 12.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 3.8 apg; and Brandon Wallace is second on the team with 1.9 bpg and is averaging 6.6 ppg and 5.6 rpg.

USC has started the same line-up all eight games this season: guards Kelley and Trice, and forwards Balkman, Kinsey and Wallace.

With the top bananas
USC is No. 22 nationally in shooting percentage (per NCAA stats released Dec. 12). USC is 24th nationally in blocked shots and 34th nationally in 3-PT FG %. Individually, Renaldo Balkman is No. 8 in FG % nationally.
USC leads the SEC in free throw percentage, with Tarence Kinsey leading all from the charity stripe. Renaldo Balkman is among the SEC leaders in a number of categories including ppg, rpg, defensive rpg, field goal %, spg, bpg and asst.-TO ratio. See page six for SEC statistics through Dec. 15.

A few days ago … USC is coming off a 68-54 win over Winthrop on Wed., Dec. 14. The win saw four Gamecocks in double figures, including Rocky Trice who scored a career-high 18 points. Playing well, Tre’ Kelley has a season-high eight assists, Renaldo Balkman had a career-high five blocks and Trice grabbed a career-high four steals.

Wofford, 3-6, dropped its last outing at Miami (Fla.) 71-40. This season Wofford has wins over Fairleigh Dickinson, Toccoa Falls and Virginia-Wise, with its losses coming at the hands of West Virginia, Purdue, East Carolina twice, Clemson and Miami.
Carolina leads the Wofford series 37-18. Last year (Dec. 31, 2004) USC defeated Wofford 77-44 behind three Gamecocks in double figures (Josh Gonner, 20; Carlos Powell, 14 and Antoine Tisby, 10).
USC Head Coach Dave Odom is 4-0 vs. WC lifetime including 2-0 at USC.
The Terriers head coach Mike Young is 0-1 vs. the Gamecocks and is in his fourth season.
WC feature three players averaging in double figures: Eric Marshall (12.8 ppg), Shane Nichols (12.2 ppg) and Howard Wilkerson (11.8 ppg). Wilkerson leads the team with 5.9 ppg.

We got some history with them folks
This will be the 56th meeting between the two schools with the series dating back to a 23-18 Terriers’ win on Feb 25, 1909. It was the first year USC kept record of basketball – a season where USC finished 0-3 with the other two losses coming to Furman (19-21) and the Columbia YMCA (21-37). It was about all Terriers the first few years, with WC running off a 12-5 record through 1921. Since then, USC has won 32 of the 38 games between the two schools, including 20 straight dating back to 1939.

Dishin’ it
The Gamecocks have collected 125 assists and the five starters have collected 109 (87% ). The five Gamecock starters all have 15 or more assists this season (Kelley, Wallace, Kinsey, Trice, Balkman). Tre’ Kelley leads the team with 30. But No. 2 and No 3 are junior forwards Renaldo Balkman (25) and Brandon Wallace (22). Kinsey has 17 while Trice has 15.

50 cent
USC has shot 50.0% or better four times this season. In 2004-05 the Gamecocks did it 11 times. In 2003-05 USC shot 50% or better only six times.
USC hit at least 50% in both halves vs. Winthrop including 56 % (1st) and 54.5% (2nd). Carolina has hit 50% or better from the floor in at least one half in every game this season but one. USC hit 40.6% in the first half and 44.8% in the second against Alaska Anchorage.

Can’t stop talkin’ about him
Continuing to impress fans young and old this season, junior Renaldo Balkman, had what Coach Odom described ‘a disappointing season’ his last year. Second on the Gamecock squad with 13.9 ppg (Kinsey leads with 17.4 ppg), Balkman currently, leads the team in just about every category: rebounds (8.4 rpg), assists (tied with Kelley for team lead: 3.1 apg), blocks (2.0 bpg) and steals (1.9 spg). And he’s done it averaging 28.7 mpg to Kinsey’s 31.7 mpg and Kelley’s 31.9 mpg.
He already has two double-doubles this season – the first of his career (vs. Monmouth: 14 PT, 12 REB and at Clemson: a season-high 15 PT, 12 REB). He is yet to match his career-high in either stat: 17 points vs. South Florida (12/14/04) and 16 rebounds at Vanderbilt (3/2/05).

A few stats on the side
USC is leading the battle of three speciality stats, but failing to score more second chance points.
USC is averaging 35.0 points in the paint to the opponents 26.2.
USC is averaging 21.7 points off turnovers as compared to the opponents’ 16.9.
USC is averaging 13.7 second chance points to the opponents 15.4. The three games USC got out-rebounded: the 14-point win over Winthrop and two losses for USC (vs. Marquette, at Clemson).
USC is averaging 9.4 fast break points to the opponents own 2.8.

Stepping up
A few more notes on Balkman. After eight games his freshman year he was averaging 7.5 ppg and 4.4 rpg. After eight games his sophomore year he had dipped to 7.3 ppg and 5.1 rpg. After eight games this season he is averaging 13.6 ppg and 8.0 rpg.
He had 21 blocks in all of last year. This season he has already knocked down 19 blocks.

In case you are wondering
USC is 2-0 this year following a loss. USC was 8-3 last season following a loss. USC was 6-4 in 2003-04 following a loss.

Our sorted past
USC had an 11 day break for finals (Dec. 3- Dec. 14). Prior to defeating UNC Greensboro on Nov. 30 (77-55) and then falling to Clemson 83-63 on Dec. 3, Carolina finished as the runner-up to Marquette at the Great Alaska Shootout, posting a 2-1 record with wins over Alaska Anchorage (65-60) and Monmouth (62-56) and the overtime loss to Marquette (89-92). The Marquette game marked the first time a Dave Odom-Gamecock coached team scored more than 80 points in a game and didn’t come away with the victory (20-1).

Supporting Cast The USC bench didn’t score a single bench until the 10:39 mark of the second half in the 68-54 win over Winthrop. It was the lowest output – six points (4 for Tisby, 2 for Dwayne Day) – for the bench all season. On the other side of the court, 27 of WU’s points came from the starters with the other half (27 points) coming from the reserves.

Carolina Opponents
Opponent Starters Bench Starters Bench W/L
Western Carolina 49 38* 43 19 W
Toledo 65 20 57 16 W
Alaska Anchorage 47^ 18 37 23 W
Monmouth 55 7 42 14^ W
Marquette 72* 17 60* 32* L
UNCG 56 21 39 16 W
Clemson 51 12 56 26 L
Winthrop 62 6^ 27^ 27 W
* – season-high ^ – season-low

Face (book) time
Carolina will appear on television at least 22 times this season during the regular season, including at least seven games on national television (6 ESPN/ESPN2, 1 CBS) and one tape delay (SUN Sports). The 22 appearances will be the most regular-season television appearances ever for the Gamecocks.
USC is already 4-2 on TV this season.

Blocking Machine
The Gamecocks have blocked 47 shots this season to their opponents 12 total. Brandon Wallace and Renaldo Balkman have combined for 34 of those 47 shots. Antoine Tisby, Tarence Kinsey, and Rocky Trice combine for the other 13. The Gamecocks are averaging 5.9 bpg to the opponents 1.5 bpg.
Wallace blocked a career-best seven shots against Alaska Anchorage. Including Wallace’s seven, the Gamecock team combined for a school record 15 vs. UAA on Nov. 24.
Wallace is No. 7 in career blocks with 105 total. He needs 18 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).
Wallace blocked 55 shots last season. The 55 tied Ryan Stack who also blocked 55 in the 1997-98 season. In 2004-05 he blocked at least one shot in 25 of 33 games – including blocking three or more shots in eight games.

Here’s a Streak South Carolina has a current streak of 142 consecutive games with a three-point basket. Not bad, but the streak had reached 216 straight games with USC?having a trey in every game since Jan. 7, 1995 vs. Kentucky. ?The streak ended as Carolina went 0-19 from long range in the regular season finale vs. Mississippi State in 2001.