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Jan. 3, 2007

Final Stats | Quotes | Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Bryce Sheldon scored 20 points and freshman Brandis Raley-Ross added a career-high 18 as South Carolina slipped past Western Carolina 67-53 Wednesday night.

After the Catamounts (5-9) cut their deficit to two with 7:58 left, the Gamecocks (10-2) finished on a 16-4 run behind Raley-Ross, who scored seven of his 13 second half points during the run.

The Gamecocks won without point guard Tre Kelley, who sat out with a sprained left knee. The senior had started 53 straight games and leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points.

South Carolina missed its point guard and leader, tying their season high with 17 turnovers.

Western Carolina trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half before taking its only lead at 35-34 with 16:45 left on Nick Aldridge’s two free throws — the Catamounts’ first and only trip to the foul line. South Carolina hit a season-high 22 of 28 free throws.

But the Gamecocks regained the lead, if not command, on Raley-Ross’ 3-pointer and inadvertent assist off his leg to Evaldus Baniulis, who swept up the ball for a layup.

Western Carolina was led by Jake Robinson with 13 points, while Aldridge added 12 points.

Center Brandon Wallace, who also helped out at point guard, added seven points and 12 rebounds for South Carolina.