Jan. 17, 2006
USC will travel to the Music City to play Vanderbilt on Wed., Jan. 18 at 8 pm (EST) looking for its fourth win away from the Colonial Center this season. Stuck on nine wins since Jan. 3’s 81-46 win over South Carolina State, USC brings a 9-7 overall record and an 0-3 SEC tally to Nashville. The Commodores are 11-3 and 2-1 in the SEC.
Non-televised, the Vanderbilt game will be carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). In addition, the game can be heard via the internet at www.uscsports.com and on Sirius radio channel 121.
“Playing Vanderbilt at any time of the year, in any year is a difficult assignment because they’ve had such success at home,” said USC Head Coach Dave Odom. “We pretty much know what we are facing in Vanderbilt. More than any other team in our conference they have taken on all comers and exhibited the ability to win those games. This might be their best team in years. They have always had great skill and this is a deep, well-coached team. Their defense is a bit better than I have seen and they play well together on that side of the ball. And they continue to play well on offense.
“Our team’s attitude is we are getting better, getting closer, we keep our helmets on so to speak and plow ahead,” continued Odom. “We open games well which shows we are prepared, but we aren’t able to sustain that for 40 minutes. No matter who it is or where you are playing in this league you better bring your best game.”
In the two teams last outings Vanderbilt fell 66-78 at Arkansas on Jan. 14, the same day USC was defeated by Georgia in heartbreaker in overtime 61-64 in Columbia.
USC’s 0-3 start in the SEC matches its 0-3 start in 1999 when USC lost its first seven games, defeating Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, and finishing the SEC slate at 3-13 under then-coach Eddie Fogler.
Us vs. Them
USC has won nine of the last 11 against Vanderbilt including six of the last seven. Vanderbilt owns a 10-8 mark against Carolina in Nashville, but the Gamecocks had won the last five meetings in the Music City until Vandy’s 75-65 comeback win in Nashville on March 2, 2005. Their last game in Columbia Carolina pulled down a 68-63 win on Jan. 26, 2005.
USC leads the series 20-16. Vandy joins Georgia (43-42) and LSU (11-7) as SEC schools USC owns the series record against.
The two school’s only common opponent this season is UNC Greensboro. USC defeated the Spartans 77-55 on Nov. 30, while Vandy finished them off 85-53 eight days earlier on Nov. 22.
They’re bringin’ it
The Gamecocks have three players averaging double figure points each game. The last time USC had three players finish with double figures at season’s end: Odom’s second season in 2002-03 when Carlos Powell (12.6 ppg), Chuck Edison (11.3 ppg) and Rolando Howell (10.0 ppg) all averaged double digits. In fact, in SEC play that year, USC had five players averaging double figures when the final buzzer rang: Chris Warren (11.0 ppg), Powell (10.9 ppg), Edison (10.5 ppg), Tony Kitchings (10.3 ppg) and Kerbrell Brown (10.1 ppg).
Individually this year Carolina is led by senior Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 15.4 ppg and is third with 4.9 rpg. Junior Renaldo Balkman’s second on the team with 11.1 ppg, 2.6 apg and 6.4 rpg. He leads the team with 1.7 spg and is tied with junior Brandon Wallace with 11 dunks each this season. Junior Tre’ Kelley is third with 10.7 ppg and leads the team with 3.4 apg.
Wallace leads the team with 6.6 rpg and 1.7 bpg, while he third with 2.5 apg and fourth on the team with 7.6 ppg.
We won it
The Gamecocks and Commodores were both NIT participants last year. Vandy lost in the round of eight at Memphis, 81-68. Vandy finished the season at 20-14. Memphis then lost to St. Joe’s in the semi-finals in Madison Square Garden while the Gamecocks finished off Maryland on the same court a bit later. A couple nights later USC won it with a 60-57 victory over St. Joseph’s on a three-pointer by Tarence Kinsey with less than three seconds on the clock.
Something on them
Under eighth-year head coach Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt is 11-3 this season and 2-1 in the SEC (defeating Auburn at home and Kentucky on the road before falling at Arkansas). VU is 8-1 at home and 3-2 away from Memorial Gym
The Commodores have three players in double figure scoring: Shan Foster (16.4 ppg), Derrick Byars (11.9 ppg) and Julian Terrell (11.0 ppg). Terrell is the best rebounder, pulling down 7.8 rpg – 2.5 more rpg than DeMarre Carroll who is second with 6.2 rpg
USC is 3-3 this year following a loss. USC was 8-3 last season following a loss. USC was 6-4 in 2003-04 following a loss.
While USC’s 12 scholarship athletes and one walk-on hail from seven states and three countries (USA, Venezuela and Africa’s Senegal), only three SEC states are represented on the roster.
Brandon Wallace (Jackson) and J.P. Nerbun (Columbia) come from South Carolina, Tarence Kinsey and Renaldo Balkman both came up from Tampa, Fla., while Dominque Archie (Augusta), Rocky Trice (Swainsboro) and Dwayne Day (Mt. Vernon) came east from Georgia to play for the Gamecocks
Remember that time in Nashville?; We are
Brandon Wallace’s 15 rebound performance vs. Georgia was the best for a Gamecock since Renaldo Balkman pulled down 16 rebounds in Nashville on March 2, 2005. It was a career-best for Wallace, whose best prior to the UGA game was 15 rebounds in the 62-56 win over Monmouth in the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 25, 2005 when Wallace finished with his second career double-double (10 PT, 15 REB). He was named the Player of the Game for his efforts.
As a team, USC has outrebounded its SEC opponents in each of its first three games, averaging 35.3 rpg to the opponents 31.7 rpg.
Their last one
Fresh off a 57-52 win at Kentucky in an ESPN-televised contest Jan. 10 – the school’s win on the Wildcats home court since 1972 – Vanderbilt fell 78-66 at Arkansas on Jan. 14.
VU trailed by 11 at halftime, but rallied to tie it at 55 with just over seven minutes remaining, on Derrick Byars’ 3-pointer. UA answered with an 11-2 run. Vanderbilt was seeking its first 3-0 SEC start since 1990. Vanderbilt hasn’t won at Arkansas since 1996. Shan Foster scored 22 points for Vanderbilt, 17 in the second half. Byars had 17 points and six assists.
After holding LSU without a 3-pointer, Arkansas allowed Vanderbilt to shoot 11-of-22 from long distance. The Commodores are one of three teams (UNLV and Princeton) to make a 3-pointer in every game since the rule was enacted for the 1986-87 season.
Arkansas shot 24-of-32 from the free throw line to Vandy’s own mark of 11-of-13.
Tre’ Kelley has at least four assists in four straight games. Kelley leads the team with 54 assists while the second and third place is occupied by Renaldo Balkman (41) Brandon Wallace (40) and. Kelley has at least four assists in eight games this season.
All in a day’s work
Dwayne Day started in his first career game on Jan. 14th against Georgia. Day played 36 minutes totaling 12 points and six rebounds. Four of the six rebounds came on the offensive side of the ball. Day also appeared in the Mississippi game where he posted 12 points and five rebounds. In the past two games, Day has combined for 24 points and 11 rebounds. Before the Mississippi game, the sophomore had 45 points and 22 rebounds in 13 games played. Four of his seven shots made in the past two games are three-pointers.
Balkman combined for 19 points and 25 rebounds against the Commodores last season (see stats below). While Tarence Kinsey played in the win at Columbia, he missed the game in Nashville due to a family funeral.
A little better
While USC has lost the last three games, it has been much better at the free throw line – hitting 75% in SEC games to its opponents 65%. USC was 12-18 (67%) vs. Georgia, 23-29 (79%) at Ole Miss and 13-17 vs UT (76%). USC’s efforts at UM were aided by Tarence Kinsey’s 11 of 12 performance from the charity stripe. Kinsey’s effort was the best by a Gamecock since Mike Boynton, Jr. hit 17 of 19 in an SEC Tournament second round game against Arkansas (3-11-04), a 91-81 USC win.
Kinsey is No. 3 in the SEC in free throw percentage, hitting 87% of his chances from the charity stripe (overall). In SEC games he is also No. 3 at almost 94%. His 11 of 12 performance at Ole Miss tops his 9-9 performance vs. Toledo on Nov. 20, 2005.
The Tampa native has improved quite a bit at the free throw line, after hitting 67% last season and 66% in his career. His 66% was third best on the team last season.
On the road again … and again … and again
USC will play five of its next six on the road when it plays at Vanderbilt on Jan. 18 and at Kentucky on Jan. 21. After a home game with Florida on Jan. 25, USC plays at UT on Jan. 28, at Arkansas on Feb. 4 and at Florida on Feb. 8.
But on the flipside, USC’s next six of seven games after that stretch will be played in the friendly confines of the Colonial Center, beginning with Mississippi State on Feb. 11.
Kinsey’s career, Kelley’s coming up
All told Tarence Kinsey has 849 career points and needs 151 points to hit the 1,000 mark and become the 38th Gamecock to go over the one thousand mark. Averaging 15.7 ppg this season, he would need to average 11.6 ppg in the last 14 regular season games to hit 1,000 career points.
Kinsey has hit 20+ points five times this season. In his first three 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).
Who else might hit 1,000 in his career? Tre’ Kelley has 638 career points and is averaging a career-high 10.7 ppg this season after hitting 5.1 ppg his freshman year and 8.9 ppg his sophomore year. Kelley has a real shot, with 13 regular season games left this season and figuring about 30 games next season – Kelley would need to average 8.4 ppg from here on out to hit the magical 1,000 mark.
Something to change
The Gamecocks have been outscored in the second half nine times this season. The Gamecocks are 2-7 in those nine games (wins vs. Toledo and Anchorage; losses vs. Marquette, Clemson, Temple, Pitt, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Georgia) In eight of those nine games, where they were outscored in the second half, Carolina was either leading or tied at the half (Toledo, Anchorage, Marquette, Temple, Pitt, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Georgia).
Brandon Wallace has blocked three or more shots in four games this season, tallying 27 on the year. Renaldo Balkman has one block less at 26. Balkman has already topped last year’s total of 21 after blocking 43 his freshman campaign.
Wallace has three or more blocks in 19 games in his career. Wallace has 117 career blocked shots, ranking seventh all-time. He is six behind sixth place Tony Kitchings (123, 1999-2003) and seven 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.
Five Gamecocks have played 40+ minutes in a game this year – including the overtime loss to Marquette and Georgia. Posting 40+ this year: Tre’ Kelley vs. Marquette and Temple; Tarence Kinsey vs. Marquette and Brandon Wallace vs. Tennessee and Tarence Kinsey vs. Georgia.
Even though USC played three games in extra minutes last season only one Gamecock, Tre’ Kelley, played 40+ minutes (in the 62-63 OT loss to Clemson).
Kelley is seventh in the SEC, averaging 32.8 mpg and Kinsey is No. 9 at 32.3 mpg