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Feb. 10, 2006

Game 23 | Mississippi State at South Carolina | Feb. 11, 2006 | Colonial Center (18,000) | Columbia, S.C.

Tipoff: 6:06 pm (EST)


Radio: Gamecock Radio Network

Sirius radio: Channel No. 123

Series Record: MSU leads 10-5

In Columbia: MSU leads 4-3

In Starkville: MSU leads 6-1

Neutral site: USC leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Mississippi State won 73-65 in Starkville on Jan. 22, 2005

Probable Starters for the Mississippi State game (starters from previous game)
POS NO South Carolina Gamecocks (11-10, 2-6) PPG RPG APG
F #23 Dwayne Day (6-6, 184, So., Mount Vernon, Ga.) 6.1 2.6 0.5
F #34 Renaldo Balkman (6-10, 198, Jr., Jackson, S.C.) 9.8 6.0 2.3
C #33 Brandon Wallace (6-8, 237, Sr., Kansas City, Kan.) 7.0 6.0 1.5*
G #01 Tre’ Kelley (6-1, 183, Jr., Washington, D.C.) 11.5 2.7 4.0
G #21 Tarence Kinsey (6-6, 189, Sr., Tampa, Fla.) 15.2 4.6 2.1
Mississippi State (12-10, 2-7 SEC)
F #23 Charles Rhodes (6-8, 240, So., Jackson, Miss.) 12.8 7.2
F #44 Jamont Gordon (6-4, 225, Fr., Nashville, Tenn.) 13.7 6.6
G #05 Jamall Edmondson (5-9, 190, Sr., Montgomery, Ala.) 13.3 2.3
G #22 Dietric Slater (6-3, 200, Jr, Waynesboro, Miss.) 9.2 4.2
G #24 Reginald Delk (6-4, 170, Fr., Jackson, Tenn.) 7.7 2.1
* – Blocks per game

Home Sweet Home! Almost a stranger to Columbia in SEC play thus far, the Gamecocks played six of their last eight games on the road. USC’s SEC home games in that stretch: Jan. 14 and Jan. 25.

But, USC will play five of its next six games at the Colonial Center. The Gamecocks, 12-10 and 3-6 in the SEC, host another 12-10 team on Sat., Feb. 11 when the Mississippi State Bulldogs come to town with a 2-7 record in SEC play as well. The game is set to tip at 6:06 pm.

All the coaches are expected to roam the sidelines in tennis shoes as part of the NABC’s Coaches vs. Cancer Day. USC will host a silent auction in the Colonial Center atrium from 4:30 pm to halftime to benefit the local American Cancer Society chapter. In addition, Odom face masks can be purchased for $2.

The MSU game will be televised on FSNS. The game will be carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). In The game can also be heard via the internet at and on Sirius radio channel 123.


Finally home, USC will host MSU, Alabama (Feb. 14, ESPN), Kentucky (Feb. 18, CBS), Vanderbilt (Feb. 25, JP) and LSU (Feb. 28, ESPN). The five teams who march into the Colonial Center in February, entering Saturday’s game, are 14-18 on the road this season, including 9-12 in SEC play. The five also combine for a 3-6 record in the Colonial Center. Alabama, Vanderbilt and LSU will come to Columbia looking for first wins in the Colonial Center.

USC will travel to Georgia on Feb. 23 for a rematch on ESPN. USC will close out the regular season at Auburn on March 4. On the same theme, those two away teams are 18-5 at home, including 4-5 in the SEC. The league will travel to Nashville for the SEC Tournament the next weekend (March 9-12).

Get the Bulldogs now

You can check Florida off the list, twice actually. Now, circle February 11 on Dave Odom’s list of things to do as a head coach in the SEC. Mississippi State is the last school Dave Odom has yet to defeat since coming to coach in the SEC five years ago. He defeated both schools while at Wake Forest (UF and MSU). After 12 years at Wake, he defeated every then-ACC team at least eight times a piece.

Finally finished

From Jan. 11 to Feb. 11, USC will have played half of its SEC schedule. Of those eight games, six were on the road, including the three straight after the home win over UF on Jan. 25. USC’s 17 days between home games (Jan. 25 – Feb. 11) is the longest home lapse since USC joined the SEC 15 years ago. In fact in conference play its the longest home lapse since 1990 when USC was still playing in the then-Metro Conference. USC went Jan. 27 (Memphis State) to Feb. 17 (Southern Miss) without a home conference game, playing four conference road games (at Tulane, Southern Miss, Louisville and Cincinnati) and two non-conference games (at Clemson and The Citadel). USC did play Augusta College on Jan. 29 at home that year.

USC played at UT on Jan. 28, will play at Arkansas on Feb. 4 and at Florida on Feb. 8. The trio combine for a 37-1 home record going into this past Wednesday’s games, including a 12-1 record in SEC play. The only loss in the trio was a 58-63 loss by Arkansas to first place LSU.

Broken hearts in Gainesville

South Carolina travelled to Gainesville this past Wednesday looking to break a few more Gator hearts after its wins in football (30-22) and basketball (68-62) already this year. But, the No. 6/7 Gators entered the game riding high after their 95-80 ESPN-televised win over Kentucky on Feb. 4. Looking for their 21st consecutive win at home with the nation’s second longest home winning streak, they were hoping to notch a school-record 11th straight SEC home win. USC was finishing its three-game sweep through Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida, so far tallying an 0-2 record and losing by an average of 15 ppg.

Luckily for USC the game wasn’t played on paper either. Believing in itself, USC rallied from five down at the 9:02 mark in the second half to win 71-67. Tre’ Kelley paced the Gamecock charge with 17 points and seven assists. Also in double figures: Tarence Kinsey (16) and Bryce Sheldon, hitting a career-high 14 points (4-6 from 3 PT). It’s the schools first series sweep of the Gators since 1998.

In Carolina’s 68-62 win over then-No. 4 Florida on Jan. 25, the Gators under performed in all but three statistical categories (free throw %, opponent free throw %, opponent 3-point %). Wednesday’s win in Gainesville wasn’t much different as the Gators under performed in all but five of the 21 statistical categories. In its two wins USC has held the Gators almost 18 points under their season average.

Top 10 win streak

Dating back to Feb. 15, 2005 USC has a three-game winning streak against the nation’s top 10 teams. The last time USC did that: Feb. 4 – March 2, 1997. See results below.

Current Winning Streak over Top 10 teams: 3 Straight Wins
Date USC Opp. Opponent Results, Score Site
Feb. 8, 2006 – 6 Florida W 71-67 Gainesville, Fla.
Jan. 25, 2006 – 5 Florida W 68-62 Columbia, S.C
Feb. 15, 2005 – 3 Kentucky W 73-61 Columbia, S.C..

Last time USC had 3 Straight Wins over Top 10 Teams
Date USC Opp. Opponent Results, Score Site
March 2, 1997 6 3 Kentucky W 72-66 Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 15, 1997 12 8 Cincinnati W 97-83 Cincinnati, Ohio
Feb. 4, 1997 19 3 Kentucky W 84-79 OT Columbia, S.C.

The last two top 5 teams to come into the Colonial Center have left unhappy. Florida came in ranked No. 4 and fell 68-62 on Jan. 25, 2006. UK came in ranked No. 3 on Feb. 15, 2005 and left with an ‘L’ on its resume after USC defeated the ‘Cats 73-61. It was the first Carolina win over Florida at home since 2001 and its first win over the ‘Cats in Columbia since 1997. On the road last year, USC dropped a nail-bitter to No. 2 Kansas 64-60 on Dec. 18, 2004. KU will return the favor when the Jayhawks visit in 2006-07. Kentucky was the highest ranked team USC has defeated since it defeated the Wildcats on March 2, 1997, 72-66. UK was ranked No. 3 to USC’s No. 6. The win clinched the SEC?title for USC.

The highest ranked team USC?has defeated: No. 2 North Carolina on Feb. 14, 1969, 68-66 (at Charlotte). USC?was ranked No. 19. Later that month, No. 2 UNC defeated No. 8 USC?68-62 in Columbia. They have defeated two No. 3’s (Kentucky in 1997 and Kentucky in 2005).

Mississippi State notches win in last outing

Charles Rhodes had 21 points and 19 rebounds, and MSU snapped its longest losing streak in nearly two decades with a 71-53 victory over Auburn on Feb. 4.

Jamont Gordon had 16 points and Jamall Edmondson added 13 to help the Bulldogs end a seven-game losing streak which was the longest of Rick Stansbury’s tenure.

MSU led by as many as 22 in winning a match up of the league’s worst teams. State held Auburn scoreless for nearly six minutes down the stretch to clinch its first SEC victory since MSU beat Arkansas on Jan. 7.

Looking forward to it all

USC will honor Zam Frederick at the LSU game, this year’s SEC legend, Larry Davis, at the Mississippi State and the 2006 Senior class of Tarence Kinsey, Rocky Trice and Antoine Tisby at the Vanderbilt game. Both Frederick and Davis will sign autograph photos provided at half time in the atrium of their respective games.

In addition, USC fans will be able to welcome back former Gamecock basketball players in town for the USC Basketball Reunion Weekend on Sat., Feb. 18 prior to the Kentucky game. The gathering will take place on the atrium (open area above the ticket office) at the Colonial Center from 12:30 – 1 pm. A number of players from several decades are expected back for the reunion with one of the highlights being a special halftime recognition ceremony.

It is the 25th anniversary of Frederick winning the NCAA Division I scoring title when he scored 28.9 ppg during the 1980-81 season. A co-captain of the 1981 team that finished 17-10, Frederick was named to the Citizens Savings All-America team. The native of St. Matthews, S.C., Frederick scored 1,383 points in his career and his is currently No. 14th on the all-time points scored list. His 781 points his senior year are second only to Grady Wallace’s 906 points he scored in 1957.

The 2006 South Carolina SEC Legend, who will be honored at the SEC Tournament in Nashville March 9-12, Davis helped lead the Gamecocks’ to their first SEC title in basketball in 1997. Davis was a two-time All-SEC guard and named to the 1997 third team Basketball Times All-America team.

The Denmark, S.C. native, who transferred from North Carolina and played for USC for two years, finished his career with 1,068 points – good for 31st best on the all-time list. He scored in double figures in 52 of 63 games while at Carolina. The 1997 team finished the year with a 24-8 record – the second-most wins ever by a Gamecock squad – and was No. 6 in the final AP poll.


USC is 6-4 this year following a loss. USC was 8-3 last season following a loss and 6-4 in 2003-04.

USC will appear on television at 22 times 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 are the most regular-season television appearances ever for the Gamecocks. USC is 7-9 on TV this season. See complete schedule on page one.

Getting it done BEYOND

“Every time we were getting ready to blow it open, they made a 3,” said UF Coach Billy Donovan on USC’s performance against the Gators on Feb. 8 in Gainesville.

He might just have something there. Playing to its strengths, USC is scoring on the perimeter this season unlike year’s past. Carolina has hit at least six 3-pointers in 16 of its 22 games this season as compared to hitting six+ in just 13 of 33 games last year. In addition, USC has hit 10+ in five of those games this season, including the 10-21 performance in the win over No. 6 Florida.

USC leading scoring Tarence Kinsey is averaging career-high 46% beyond the arc this season (45-101) as compared to last year’s leading scorer Carlos Powell who knocked down just six threes in 33 games, attempted 32 (19%). In fact Kinsey, Tre’ Kelley, Brandon Wallace, Stephen McDowell and Dwayne Day have already either topped or tied last year’s totals and Rocky Trice is one off his 14 of last year. Wallace has improved quite a bit, hitting 11 of 39 attempts (28%) this season after hitting 9-51 (18%) last season in 33 games.

Our Guard

Preparing to slam one in the last minute of the UF game UF’s 6-11 Joakim Noah was stripped by USC’s 6-1 Tre’ Kelley. “I didn’t see him,” Noah said. “I’ll be thinking about that for a long time,”

Kelley has been on a tear lately, averaging 13.8 ppg and 5.5 apg in the last six games.

Kelley averages a team-high 4.0 apg, including 5.0 apg in SEC play (good for second on the SEC list). Last year Kelley averaged 3.6 apg in overall play, but just 3.3 apg in SEC play. He averaged 2 APG his freshman campaign, including 2.2 apg in SEC contests. That season he played behind captain Mike Boynton, Jr. who averaged 3.4 apg, including 3.6 apg in SEC play.

He has 13 of 22 games with 4+ assists per game. In fact, in the last 10 games he has only gone under four assists once and that was when he scored 29 points in the OT win at Vandy. He has hit his season high of eight twice this year: in a 68-54 win over Winthrop and a 68-62 win over then-No. 4 Florida. His career high is nine assists in the win over UNLV in the second round of last year’s NIT run to the title.

Close Calls

South Carolina has had four games this season decided by three points or less including three in a row – Georgia (61-64), Vanderbilt (66-64) and Kentucky (78-80). All three games decided by three or less came down to the game’s final seconds: UGA’s Stukes made game winner with 1 second on the clock in OT; Tre’ Kelley laid up the game winner at Vandy with 5 seconds left in OT and UK’s Rajon Rondo made a three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left on the clock.

Three of the four games that were decided by three points or less went to OT. Each of USC’s first six SEC games were decided by seven points or less and seven of its nine games were decided by the same tally. The other two losses (at Tennessee and Arkansas) USC fell by 16 points and 14 points, respectively.


USC’s three-game road swing took the Gamecocks almost 3,700 miles and three states. The games were viewed by more than 50,700 pairs of eyes USC played in from near-capacity crowds at each venue (91% capacity). USC played was viewed by 20,068 (UT holds 24,535), 18,286 (UA holds 19,200) and 12,381 (UF holds 12,000). Playing on the road the last five of six games, USC’s opponents averaged 17,318 fans for the Carolina match-up. The largest crowd was the 23,420 Wildcats fans in Lexington.

Prior to that four-game away schedule, USC played in front of an average of 5,555 fans on the road (five games). The largest crowd was the 8,400 fans at Clemson.

You may have read this before

Individually Carolina continues to be led by Tampa’s own Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 15.2 ppg. For stats geeks, Kinsey leads the Gamecocks in scoring in just about every way you can figure it: SEC games (14.7 ppg), wins (16.2 ppg), losses (14.1 ppg), home (15.4 ppg), away (13.9 ppg) and neutral (21.0 ppg). Kinsey is second with 33.4 mpg.

Tre’ Kelley is second with 11.5 ppg and leads the team with 34.5 mpg and 4.0 apg. Renaldo Balkman’s third on the team with 9.8 ppg and 2.3 apg. He leads the team with 1.5 spg and is tied for the team lead with 6.0 rpg. He leads the team with 15 dunks Brandon Wallace is tied for the team lead with Balkman with 6.0 rpg. Wallace leads the team with 1.5 bpg, and is second with 2.4 apg. He is fourth on the team with 7.0 ppg. His three double-doubles this season top Balkman and Kinsey’s each.

Edge of their seats

Carolina’s seven of nine conference games this season, with the exception of the 16 points loss at UT and the 14 point loss at Arkansas, have been decided by seven points or less, including two over-times (1-1). Interestingly, USC has averaged six games decided by seven points or less since they joined the SEC.

Season 7 pts. or less
1991-92 6
1992-93 8
1993-94 8
1994-95 6
1995-96 3
1996-97 6
1997-98 7
1998-99 6
1999-2000 7
2000-01 10
2001-02 7
2002-03 6
2003-04 8
2004-05 7
2005-06 7 (9 SEC games played)

One off the record

Brandon Wallace has blocked three or more shots in four games this season, tallying 32 on the year. Wallace has blocked a shot in 56 of the 89 games he’s played. Renaldo Balkman is second with 30. The two combine for 60% of the team’s blocks this season. Balkman has already topped last year’s total of 21 after blocking 43 his freshman campaign. After blocking 35 shots his freshman year, Wallace blocked 55 shots last season. The 55 were the most since Ryan Stack blocked 55 in the 1997-98 season.

Wallace has three+ blocks in 19 games in his career. His 122 blocks rank No. 7 all-time. He is one behind sixth place Tony Kitchings (123, 1999-2003) and two behind fifth place Ryan Stack (124, 1995-98). After Stack, he’ll need 36 more blocks to hit No. 4 Mike Brittain (160, 1983-86). Career blocks leader Danny Traylor blocked 235 from 1971-73.