Jan. 2, 2006
Playing its last non-conference game of the season, USC will host South Carolina State at 7 pm on Tues., Jan. 3 at the Colonial Center. USC, 8-4, will host its last in-state rival this year as well, with the Bulldogs coming to Columbia with a 3-7 record.
Carolina started a new home winning streak with its 65-35 win over Detroit Mercy on New Year’s Eve day. In the Colonial Center, USC is shooting almost 49% and its opponents are shooting 35%.
Closing out its non-conference schedule, USC will host Tennessee on a Jefferson-Pilot televised game on Sunday, Jan. 8. The game time is scheduled to be announced on Monday, Jan. 2 with it to be played at either 1:30 pm or 4 pm.
TV, Radio, Internet
The South Carolina State game will be broadcast live on CSS-TV with Matt Stewart and Wimp Sanderson working as the talent. USC is 5-4 on TV this year, including 2-1 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. Every single one of USC’s SEC home games will be televised.
USC is 13-0 lifetime against SC State. Five of the 13 games being decided by seven points or less. All the games since the 1998-99 season have been decided by 14 points or more, with the exception of last year’s overtime thriller. Coach Odom is 5-0 against the Bulldogs and SCSU’s Ben Betts is 0-2 vs. Carolina.
Last season’s game was a nail-biter that went into overtime but Carolina claimed a hard-fought 68-65 victory in front of 10,605 fans. The Gamecocks were led by Tarence Kinsey who posted 23 points. Carlos Powell posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Tre’ Kelley had 15 and Rocky Trice knocked in 10. Brandon Wallace was the only starter who did not score in double figures but he pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked three shots
Palmetto Braggin’ Rights
In early December, 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 wins over Winthrop (68-54) and Wofford (73-43), the South Carolina State game is the lone in-state school left on the schedule this season.
USC is 14-1 all-time vs. the MEAC, with its only loss coming to Coppin State in the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament (65-78). USC is 1-0 vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore.
What they did
In SCSU’s last outing, host Furman broke away from a 64-64 tie with 11 unanswered points to close the contest and earn a 75-64 victory over SCSU on Dec. 30 in the finals of the Jack-in-the-Box Holiday Classic at Timmons Arena.
The Paladins, in grabbing the win, duplicated Thursday’s feat by the Bulldogs, who closed with a 12-0 run to defeat Marshall 71-66 to advance to the championship contest against Furman.
Brain Mason, who joined teammate Thurman Zimmerman on the All-Tournament Team, had 17 points to lead the Bulldogs in the loss. Chris Miller-Williams, in his best outing of the season, came off the bench for 12 points, and Zimmerman contributed seven along with a team-high seven rebounds.
That long ago really?
Even Tom Price, USC’s athletics department historian, may have been shaking his head towards the end of the Detroit Mercy game on Dec. 31 when the Titans scored only 15 points in the first half and then 20 in the second half to tally 35 points. It was the lowest point total for a Gamecock opponent since Maryland defeated USC in College Park 31-30 in overtime on Jan. 9, 1971. It was the lowest output since the shot clock and topped the 36 points USC allowed Charleston Southern to score on Dec. 17, 2003 (71-36). That same month USC defeated The Citadel 70-38.
The 35 points were also the lowest tally scored by an Odom opponent since he started working the sidelines 20 years ago as a head coach.
Not this New Year’s Either
The Gamecock defense played nail downs and held Detroit Mercy to just 27.1% from the field on Dec. 31, making just 13 of 48 shots. The last team Carolina held a team under 30% from the field? It was Wofford on Dec. 31, 2004. The Terriers shot 26.7% on 16-of-60 from the field. Oddly enough, both games were played on New Years Eve.
Kinsey and Kelley COULD
All told Tarence Kinsey has 781 career points and needs 219 points to hit the 1,000 mark and become the 38th Gamecock to go over the one thousand mark. Averaging 14.9 ppg this season, he would need to average 12.9 ppg in the last 17 regular season games to hit 1,000 career points.
Kinsey has hit 20+ points four times this season. In his first 3 seasons at USC, Kinsey played in 85 games and in those 85 games he hit the 20+ mark only twice. (23 vs. South Carolina State, 12-22-04 and 21 vs. Idaho, 11-18-03).
Tre’ Kelley is also climbing up the career points list as he has 610 career points and is averaging a career-high 11.9 ppg this season after hitting 5.1 ppg his freshman year and 8.9 ppg his sophomore year.
Brandon Wallace has blocked three or more shots in three games this season, tallying 22 this season. He has three or more blocks in 18 games in his career. Wallace has 112 blocked shots and currently ranks seventh in career blocked shots. He is 11 behind sixth place Tony Kitchings (123, 1999-2003) and 12 behind fifth place Ryan Stack (124, 1995-98). The career blocks leader — Danny Traylor blocked 235 from 1971-73. After Stack, he will need 36 more blocks to hit No. 4 Mike Brittain at 160 (1983-86).
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.
Free Throws Really Count
Carolina hit 60% or less from the free throw line in seven games this season. USC (8-4 overall) is 3-4 in those seven games. In the four losses, USC is 30-58 from the free throw line. (52%). In its eight wins, its 94-130 from the line (72%). Oddly enough, in its 73-43 win over Winthrop, USC shot just two free throws (1-2).
|Opponent||USC from the line||Opponent from the line||Margin of loss|
|Marquette||4-8||19-22||Lost by 3|
|Clemson||8-15||18-27||Lost by 19|
|Temple||6-12||8-15||Lost by 13|
|Pittsburgh||12-21||17-21||Lost by 7|
22, but not bragging
Carolina has had 22 points going into halftime in the last three games – finishing with 50 at Temple, 51 vs. Pitt and finally breaking lose to score 43 in the second half to finish with 65 vs. Detroit Mercy. The Gamecocks have scored 30 points in at least one half in every game this season except two – with USC ending up on the wrong side of the final score both times. Those two games are also the two lowest Carolina scoring totals for the season. (51 vs. Pitt and 50 at Temple).
Trice as Nice
Rocky Trice tied his season and career high with five assists on Saturday against Detroit-Mercy. He also pulled down a season-high five rebounds vs. Detroit. His season high for points? He scored 18 vs. Winthrop.
USC is 3-1 this year following a loss. USC was 8-3 last season following a loss. USC was 6-4 in 2003-04 following a loss.
3 of 5
Three of the five Gamecock starters are averaging double figure points and two starters are averaging 6.0+ rebounds per game as well. Individually Carolina is led by Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 14.9 ppg and is third with 4.6 rpg. Tre’ Kelley is second with 11.9 ppg and leads the team with 3.2 apg. Renaldo Balkman leads the team with 6.3 rpg and 2.0 bpg; and is third with 11.2 ppg.
Another junior, Brandon Wallace, is second with 6.0 rpg, fourth with 7.8 ppg and second with 1.8 bpg.
Passin’ it along
The Gamecocks have collected 175 assists and the five starters have collected 150 (almost 86%). The five Gamecock starters all have 22 or more assists this season (Kelley, Wallace, Kinsey, Trice, Balkman). Tre’ Kelley leads the team with 38. But No. 2 and No 3 are junior forwards Brandon Wallace (33) and Renaldo Balkman (32). Rocky Trice has 25 after his five assist performance vs. Detroit Mercy and Tarence Kinsey has totaled 22 this season. No other player on the roster has double figure assists.