Dec. 27, 2005
Returning home for a four-game home stand that includes its SEC opener against Tennessee, South Carolina hosts No. 23 Pittsburgh (ESPN) at 7 pm on Wed., Dec. 28 at the Colonial Center. Pitt is the first ranked non-conference opponent to play in the Colonial Center in its four-year history. The last ranked team to play on the Gamecocks’ home court? No. 3 Kentucky, who went down 73-61 in front of 16,107 Gamecock faithful on Feb. 15, 2005.
Carolina is coming off a 50-63 loss at Temple on Dec. 22, its sixth game outside of Columbia this season. The 50 points were the lowest point total for the Gamecocks since they scored 43 vs. Memphis in the 2004 NCAA Tournament first round and the lowest for an Odom-coached team in the regular season since USC scored just 48 in a 48-64 loss at Mississippi State on Jan. 22, 2003. In fact, under Odom the Gamecocks have only scored 50 or less points five times in his five years.
No. 23 Pitt, 9-0, will be making its first trip this season out of the Pittsburgh city limits, having played eight home games and a cross-town tilt at Duquesne (71-60 winner). Pitt finished off Coppin State 77-51 on Dec. 21 before heading home for the holidays.
Carolina is riding an eight-game winning streak at home (last loss: Florida, 65-66 Feb. 27, 2005). In the Colonial Center, USC is shooting 50.2% and its opponents are shooting 37.4%.
USC leads the overall series 5-1. The Panthers won their only meeting between the two schools last season 72-68 (Dec. 29, 2004) in Pittsburgh. Three of the six games have been decided by four points or less with five of the six being decided by 10 or less.
TV, Radio, Internet
The game will be broadcast live on CSS-TV with Matt Stewart and Wimp Sanderson working as the talent. USC is 4-3 on TV this year, including 1-1 on CSS and 2-1 on ESPN2. The game will also be carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). The game can also be heard via the internet at www.uscsports.com.
The University of South Carolina will retire the jersey of former three-time All-SEC standout BJ McKie prior to the South Carolina-Pittsburgh game. The ceremony, which will feature a special video tribute and a few words from BJ McKie, an Irmo, S.C. native, will begin at 6:50 pm that evening. The game is set to start at 7:06 pm and will be broadcast on CSS. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats that night by 6:45 pm.
What they got goin’ on
Pitt begins its season at 9-0 for the fourth consecutive season since 2002-03. The 9-0 start ranks as the sixth best start in school history and adding to that, head coach Jamie Dixon is 25-0 in the month of December.
Pitt has held eight consecutive opponents to 60 points or less for the first time since the 1948-49 season (11 consecutive that season). USC comes in averaging 71.9 points per game, while Pitt averages 76.6 ppg. USC holds its opponents to 64.9 ppg, while Pitt’s struggle to score 55.0 ppg.
The Gamecocks are 45-10 overall in the Colonial Center since the building opened in the 2002-03 season. Carolina is 30-1 against non-conference opponents and 15-9 against opponents in the SEC. USC’s only loss to a non-conference opponent was an overtime thriller against Clemson on December 4, 2004.
Carolina has won 10 in a row against non-conference opponents (including teams played in the 2005 NIT).
The Gamecocks are 57-16 at home under USC Head Coach Dave Odom (including his first year at the Carolina Coliseum). They are 40-2 on their home court under Coach Odom against non-conference opponents and have a better than .500 record against the SEC (18-14).
In its fourth season, USC has seen more than 603,000 basketball fans come through the turn styles at the Colonial Center. USC has played in front of 21 SEC opponents out of 24 contests to crowds larger than 10,000. Of the SECgames played in the CC its first three years, only Arkansas (2-15-03 – 9,065), Vandy (3-1-03, 9,925) and Ole Miss (3-6-05, 9,227) had a crowd less than 10,000.
Not a lucky 13
Going into the Temple game, USC was 13-0 in Tarence Kinsey’s four-year career when he led the Gamecocks in scoring. Kinsey scored a team-high 16 points vs. Temple, but it wasn’t enough to help Carolina overcome the Owls. Kinsey’s first double-double of the season (16 PT, 10 REB) couldn’t help USC over Temple as the Owls came away with a 63-50 win over Carolina. It was Kinsey’s third double-double of his career, with the last coming on against Arkansas on Feb. 2, 2005.
Temple, which held only a 48-46 edge after a Kinsey dunk with just over six minutes to play, put the game away with a 12-2 run that culminated with a tip-in by Dion Dacons with 2:10 left.
The teams went into halftime tied 22-22, but Robinson scored 16 of his 18 points after the break as the Owls hit on 17 of 27 shots after intermission. Robinson also led TU with 7 REB.
Dustin Salisbery scored 11 of his 13 points in the 1st half and Mardy Collins scored 13 of his 15 points in the second.
In case you case 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.
Three of the five Gamecock starters are averaging double figure points. Individually Carolina is led by Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 16.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg. The junior trio continues to play well: Renaldo Balkman leads the team with 7.2 rpg and is second with 11.7 ppg, Tre’ Kelley is third with 11.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 3.4 apg; and Brandon Wallace is second on the team with 1.8 bpg and is averaging 7.6 ppg (fourth) and 6.1 rpg (second).
Until the Wofford game, when USC started Keving Palacios in place of Renaldo Balkman (late for practice Friday), USC had started the same line-up all eight games this season: guards Kelley and Trice, and forwards Balkman, Kinsey and Wallace. USC started the line-up with Balkman included vs. Temple.
Toss it here
The Gamecocks have collected 153 assists and the five starters have collected 132 (86.2% ). The five Gamecock starters all have 15 or more assists this season (Kelley, Wallace, Kinsey, Trice, Balkman). Tre’ Kelley leads the team with 34. But No. 2 and No 3 are junior forwards Renaldo Balkman (30) and Brandon Wallace (29). Trice has 20 to Kinsey’s 19.
Last on the state schedule: SC State Jan. 3
South Carolina played three straight games against in-state rivals and collected a 2-1 record in the stretch. Coach Odom is 57-10 overall against all teams in the state of South Carolina — with its only losses coming to in-state rival Clemson. That total includes one game against the Gamecocks as well. The most wins come against Clemson as Odom is 22-10 against the Tigers and is 33-0 against the rest of South Carolina. His first in-state test of the season was not a prosperous one as the Gamecocks fell at Clemson 82-63 on Dec. 3. After Wofford (73-43 win), the South Carolina State (Jan. 3) is the lone in-state school on the schedule this season.
All told Tarence Kinsey has 767 career points and needs 233 points to hit the 1,000 mark and become the 38th Gamecock to go over the one thousand mark.
Stop at 15 !
After USC’s loss to Marquette Tre’ Kelley commented good things don’t happen for the Gamecocks during his career when he scores 16 or more (he scored 23 in the OT loss to MU). He was just about right. When scoring 16 or more points, Kelley is 1-6. When scoring 17 or more during his Gamecock career, USC is 0-6.