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March 3, 2006

Game 29 – South Carolina at Auburn – March 4, 2006 – Beard-Eaves Memorial (10,500) – Auburn, Ala.

Tipoff: 2 pm (EST)
TV: None
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Sirius radio: Channel No. 147
Series Record: AU leads 16-10
In Columbia: AU leads 7-5
In Auburn: AU leads 7-4
Neutral site: AU leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Auburn won 74-71 on Feb., 12 2005 in Columbia

Probable Starters for the Auburn game (starters from previous game)
South Carolina Gamecocks (14-14, 5-10 SEC)

Pos. No. Player PPG RPG APG
F #14 Antoine Tisby (6-8, 237, Sr., Kansas City, Kan.) 5.6 3.0 0.8
F #21 Tarence Kinsey (6-6, 189, Sr., Tampa, Fla.) 15.2 4.8 2.1
C #33 Brandon Wallace (6-10, 198, Jr., Jackson, S.C.) 7.5 6.1 2.2
G #01 Tre’ Kelley (6-1, 183, Jr., Washington, D.C.) 11.6 2.7 4.3
G #10 Rocky Trice (6-3, 163, Sr., Swainsboro, Ga.) 7.0 3.0 1.6

Auburn Tigers (12-14, 4-11 SEC)

Pos. No. Player PPG RPG
F #32 Korvotney Barber (6-7, 220, Fr., Manchester, Ga.) 6.8 4.9
G #1 Frank Tolbert (6-4, 210, So., River Falls, Ala.) 8.8 3.5
G #21 Rasheem Barrett (6-5, 220, Fr., Atlanta,Ga.) 11.0 3.0
G #23 Quantez Robertson (6-3, 190, Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio) 7.5 4.2
G #33 Ronny LeMelle 6-5, 200, Sr., Harrisburg,Penn.) 12.8 3.7

Carolina travels to Auburn for last regular season game on March 4
USC, 14-14 and 5-10 in the SEC, will travel to the Plains to wrap up the regular season with a 2 pm (EST) Sat., March 4th date with the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers enter the game at 12-14 and 4-11 in the SEC. USC is 2-1 vs. the SEC Western Division at home this season and 0-2 vs. the same side on the road. USC is 0-2 this year vs. Tiger-named teams (Clemson, LSU).
The Auburn game will 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 and on Sirius radio channel 147.
USC has lost four straight, including the last three by a total of five points (one point at UGA, one point vs. Vandy and three points vs. No. 21 LSU). USC has lost six SEC games this season by a combined 15 points.
Auburn lost at Alabama 61-71 Wednesday night and prior to that had won two straight vs. MSU and at Ole Miss. Prior to that two-game winning streak the Tigers lost five out of six SEC games.

If, Should, Would, Could
The Auburn game is very important for both teams as it will decide both teams finishes in the SEC and its seedings next week at the SEC Tournament. See the following for different scenarios:

  • South Carolina (5-10) can secure the East No. 5 seed with a win at Auburn coupled with a Georgia loss versus Arkansas.
  • If Georgia and Carolina are tied at 6-10 or 5-11… Georgia will earn the East No. 5 seed due to their season sweep over USC. Carolina would be the East No. 6 seed.
  • Auburn (4-11) can also secure the West No. 4 seed with a win vs South Carolina coupled with a Mississippi State loss.
  • If Auburn and Ole Miss are tied at 5-11 … Auburn would earn the West No. 4 seed if Mississippi State loses versus Alabama due to their season sweep over Ole Miss. Ole Miss would be the West No. 5 seed.

Besides all that
Auburn leads the series record with USC 16-10. Prior to winning 53-51 (OT) in 2004 at Auburn, the Gamecocks had lost six straight and now have lost 13 of its last 16 games to the Tigers since joining the SEC. The Tigers bested USC 74-71 in Columbia last season on Feb. 12. The away team has won the last three games in the series. The last seven Auburn-South Carolina games have been decided by a combined 28 points (4.0 ppg) with the Tigers winning all but one.
“We came off our game on Tuesday night vs. LSU, another close loss for us. While some teams are dealing with how to deal with success or how to deal with the big win that Kentucky had last night at Tennessee. Well, what we are dealing right now is another set of circumstances. Practice has been upbeat and productivity has been good. I think Jeff (Lebo, AU coach) has his team playing well right now. This is a very important game for us as it is for Auburn. I expect both teams to give it their very best effort.”
A USC win on Saturday would give Dave Odom 370 career wins. An Auburn win would give Jeff Lebo a perfect 2-0 record vs. Carolina in his tenure with the Tigers. Lebo is 2-0 vs. USC as his Tennessee Tech team defeated Carolina 73-67 in Columbia in the 2000-01 season opener. Overall, Lebo is 5-0 against USC, including a 3-0 mark as a Vanderbilt assistant coach in 1992-93.
The series dates back to 1930. A few things about the rivalry:

First Meeting: Jan. 11, 1930 (22-30 at Auburn)
Last Meeting: Feb. 12, 2005 (71-74 in Columbia)
Last 5 Meetings: 1-4
Last 10 Meetings: 3-7
Since joining the SEC: 3-13
Most USC Points in Auburn: 86 (86-62 Dec. 1, 1969)
Most AU Points in Auburn: 88 (70-88 Feb. 16, 1994)
Largest USC Winning Margin in Auburn: 24 (86-62 Dec. 1, 1969)
Largest AU Winning Margin in Auburn: 18 (two games, last: Feb. 16, 1994)

Small World
Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo trolled the Gamecock sidelines under then-head coach Eddie Fogler from 1994-98. Lebo’s assistant, John Cooper, was also an assistant beside Lebo, working the Gamecock sidelines from 1996-2001. Both coaches also starred in college as Lebo graduated from North Carolina in 1989 and Cooper finished at Wichita State in 1991.
Cooper was mentored with the Shockers by current Gamecock assistant coach Rick Duckett, who was in Wichita from 1987-92. Drawing the six degrees of separation out a bit further, USC head coach Dave Odom was an assistant coach at Virginia when Lebo played at UNC. The next year, 1989-90, Odom took over as the head coach of Wake Forest.

Already past Gilloon
Tarence Kinsey has racked up 1,028 career points – hitting his 1000th career point with a free throw in the second half vs. Vandy (18:45). He become the 38th Gamecock to go over the 1,000 mark and passed Jack Gilloon on Tuesday (1027, 1974-78) to move to No. 37. He needs 13 points to pass Darryl Martin (1040, 1985-88) and move to No. 36. If he can score 52+ he will move to No. 30, passing Brian Winters (1079, 1971-74) and leapfrogging seven players.
Kinsey’s 426 points this season already surpassed the points he scored in his sophomore (273) and junior years (286). He scored just 43 points in an injury riddled freshman season.
Kinsey has hit 20+ points eight times this season, including three 21 point performances at Kentucky, at home against Kentucky and vs. No. 21 LSU. 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. S.C. State, 12-22-04 and 21 vs. Idaho, 11-18-03).
He has 111 career three-pointers which put him at No. 9 all-time, one behind Herbert Lee Davis (1997-2000) at No. 8 with 112. Other career list possibilities: he needs four more 3-point attempts to enter the top 10 (No. 10, Chuck Eidson, 314, 2000-2003) and he needs seven more steals to match Carey Rich at No. 10 with 127 steals (1993-95).
If the season ended today, he would finish at No. 6 on the all-time career three-point % list (36%). In addition he would finish at No. 4 on the free throw % list for a single season with a 87.6%, topping Scotti Ward in 1963 (86.8%). Very much within his reach, Ronnie Collins heads up the single season list at 88.4% (84-95) at the charity stripe.

USC is No. 1 in scoring defense in all games (63.5) and No. 2 behind LSU in SEC games (66.7). USC is second in both opponent rebounding in all games (31.6 rpg) and SEC games (31.6 rpg). See pages 8 and 10 for full rundowns on SEC and overall stats as a team and individually.
Individually, Tarence Kinsey among the SEC leaders in scoring, field goal %, free throw %, steals and minutes played. Tre’ Kelley is second in the league with 5.2 apg.

Close Call … Again
USC lost the LSU game by three points and then the two previous games by one point each. USC has had 15 games decided by seven points or less, posting a 5-10 record – including 10 of those being SEC games (USC is 3-7 in those games). USC has had seven games this season decided by three points or less, posting a 1-6 record. Three of the seven games that were decided by three points or less went to OT.

Games Decided by No. of times Record
3 or less 7 (1-6)
5 or less 8 (2-6)
7 or less 14 (5-9)
10 or more 12 (8-4)

Each of USC’s first six SEC games were decided by seven points or less and now 10 SEC games have been decided by the same tally. USC has averaged six games decided by seven points or less since they joined the SEC.

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 10 (15 SEC games played)

A few notes from the LSU game

  • Tarence Kinsey scored in double figures for the 21st time this season and 50th time in his career. Kinsey has 20+ points in eight games this year. He tied a career-high with 5 3’s (Kentucky win last year 2/15/05). Coming into the game he was 3-26 in the last four games after going 4-6 in the win at Florida (2/8/06) beyond the arc.
  • Brandon Wallace recorded four blocks. He has three of more blocks in five games this year. Wallace scored in double figures for the eighth time this season and the 14th time in his career.
  • Tre’ Kelley has 5 or more assists in 9 of the last 11 games. He is tied for the top spot in the league in SEC games with UF’s Green.
  • Antoine Tisby tied his career-high with nine rebounds. He has done it four times previously with the last time being against Maryland in last year’s NIT semi-finals. His best rebounding total in a SEC game this season was five against Florida on 1/25/06 and against. Vanderbilt on 2/25/06.
  • In the first half 32 of Carolina’s 34 points were scored by its five starters while LSU had 26 of its 28 points from their starters.

5 Top 50
USC is in the top 51 of four NCAA categories as of Feb. 27: No. 15 in personal fouls per game, No. 25 in turnovers per game, No. 41 in blocked shots per game and No. 51 in scoring defense.. Tarence Kinsey is No. 26 in free throw %.

USC has turned the ball over 20+ plus times twice this year: a 20 TO performance in the loss at Clemson and a 21 TO performance in the loss at Georgia. USC has turned the ball over 10 or less times this season six times, posting a 6-0 record. USC posted a season-low five turnovers against S.C. State and at Vanderbilt. It was the fewest turnovers for a Gamecock basketball team since they turned it over five times against Yale in a 59-48 win on Dec. 30, 2003.

Got some, want some more
Carolina has hit at least six 3-pointers in 20 of its 28 games this season as compared to hitting six+ in just 13 of 33 games last year. In addition, USC has hit 10+ in seven games this season, including the 11-23 performance in the win over MSU and the 10-21 performance in the win over No. 6 Florida. USC put up a 4-3 record in those games.

When Carolina shoots 40% or better from behind the arc this season they are 8-4. The three losses were against Marquette (92-89), vs. UT (76-69), at UK (80-78) and vs. LSU (61-64).

USC is hitting three’s unlike last year’s team. Last year’s leading scorer Carlos Powell who knocked down just six threes in 33 games, attempted 32 (19%), while this year’s leading scorer, Tarence Kinsey is hitting 38.7% from beyond the arc (53-137). In fact Kinsey, Tre’ Kelley, Brandon Wallace, Stephen McDowell, Rocky Trice and Dwayne Day have already either topped or tied last year’s totals.

THIS YEAR (27 GAMES)–2004-05 (33 total)

Category USC Opponents USC
3’s per game 7.2 7.0 5.0 6.9
3 point % 37% 36% 33% 34%
Single game in
3’s made 14 (vs. WC) 9 (at UA)
3’s ATT. 30 (at UT) 24 (vs. UM OT)

Keepin’ it going
Hitting 10 3’s vs. LSU – USC extended its steak to 163 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. MSU in 2001. Marquette (92-89), vs. UT (76-69), at UK (80-78) and vs. LSU (61-64).

Next to 1000?
Looking down the road, Kelley has 781 career points and has a real shot at being the 39th player ot hit 1,000 career points his senior year. He is averaging a career-high 11.6 ppg this season after scoring 5.1 ppg his freshman year and 8.9 ppg last year.