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Jan. 16, 2007

South Carolina, 10-5 and 0-2 in the SEC, hosts SEC Eastern Division rival Kentucky on Tues., Jan. 16 in an ESPN-televised 9:05 tipoff pm. The Wildcats, 14-3 and 3-0 in the SEC, have won 10 straight games while Carolina has dropped three straight , including two to top 10 teams, after piecing together a six-game winning streak.

The Carolina-Kentucky game will be shown on ESPN nationwide with the talented trio of Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and Heather Cox making the call. The game, carried on Sirius channel No. 123, can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). It can be picked up via the internet at Good seats remain for the Kentucky game. No rest for the weary as USC will then travel to Tennessee on Sat., Jan. 20 for a 6 pm game televised on FSN.

UK leads the series 36-7 including a 14-4 in Columbia. UK has three starters in double figures Morris, 16.5, Crawford, 13.6 and Bradley, 13.4), while USC has two scoring double digits (Kelley, 16.3 and Wallace, 11.3). Wallace paces USC with 9.2 boards per game, while Morris leads the ‘Cats with 7.9 rpg.

UK won the season series in 2006 (78-80 in Lexington 1/21/06 and 66-79 in Columbia on 2/18/06), but USC got the best of the Wildcats in the SEC Tournament semi-finals, coming away with a 65-61 victory behind Tarence Kinsey’s 18 points.

USC had won six straight, but has dropped the last three (vs. No. 9 Kansas, at Georgia and vs. No. 2 Florida). The KU loss was USC’s first loss to a top 10 team in four tries. The loss to UF was the worst loss at home for USC since 1915. This year USC opened the season with three of the first five on the road and has tallied a 3-2 record on the road. Carolina is 7-3 at home.

What happened before

Carolina has a three-game losing streak on the books. The Gamecocks went on a similar streak in 2005-06 where they lost to Kentucky, at Georgia, Vanderbilt and LSU. After that stretch, the Gamecocks went on to win nine of their final 10 games to win the NIT Championship. The only loss in that 10 game stretch was to Florida in the SEC Tournament Championship Game. That Gators went on to win the NCAA title in 2006.

Last time out

USC was topped on Sat., Jan. 13 by No. 2 Florida 84-50 in its worst home loss since 1915. USC was forced to practice without starters Dominique Archie and Brandon Wallace on both Thursday and Friday as both sat sidelined with foot injuries, but both started and played on Saturday.

The following are some of the bright spots from the loss to UF, who move to No. 1 with No. 1 North Carolina loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

• Brandon Wallace and Dominique Archie are the only two Gamecocks this season to start in all 15 games played.

• Archie hit 2 three-pointers against Florida. Entering the game he hit only one three-pointer all season. The first three-pointer of his career came against UNC on Dec. 28, 2006.

• Tre’ Kelley scored in double figures for the 12th time this season and the 55th time in his career. He scored 18 of his 20 first half points in the last 12 and half minutes in the first half. It is also the fifth time this season that he netted 20+ points.

• 30 of Carolina’s 33 points in the first half came from the five starters. Kelley scored 20 of the starters’ 30 points for the Gamecocks.

• Evaldus Baniulis tied his career high with 5 rebounds. He has two straight games with 5 rebounds. He dished out a career-high 3 assists. His previous high was 2 at Georgia on Jan. 10.

USC vs. UK

UK leads the series 37-7 – the most lopsided of all SEC series’ Carolina (see series breakdown to the right). USC has four of the six wins in the series in Columbia (1933, 1994, 1997, 2005). Five of the last nine games have been decided by seven points or less, but UK has come away with 20 wins in the 23 games the two have played since USC won the SEC title in 1997 by sweeping the series.

USC has 3 of the 7 wins against UK under Odom.


* Tre’ Kelley can score and dish it. He has scored double digits in all but two games this season (4 vs. CofC and 9 at Georgia). He leads the team with 16.3 ppg. He has 4.8 apg and has 4+ AST in 10 of 14 games this year.

* Kelley has attempted 20 or more shots in four games this season. (Southern Cal, Baylor, Princeton, Florida) Entering this season, Kelley took 20 or more shots in only one game. (March 21, 2006 NIT Game vs. Florida State)

* Kelley also leads the team with 67 assists on the season. He is looking to become the fourth Gamecock to ever lead the team in assists in three consecutive seasons. (Jack Gilloon, Michael Foster, Melvin Watson)

* Brandon Wallace is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game, snaring 8+ REB in 13 of 15 games this year, including 11+ in 4 games. . If he stays on that pace (9.2 rpg+) it would be the most for a Gamecock since Darryl Martin averaged 9.3 boards per game during the 1986-87 campaign.

* Wallace is looking to lead the team in blocks for the third consecutive season. He would become the fifth Gamecock to accomplish that. (Alex English, Mike Brittain, Jeff Roulston, Tony Kitchings).

* He has blocked 41 shots, knocking down 2.9 bpg. He is on track to break the school record set by Danny Traylor (235, 1971-73). To do it, he would have to average about 2.0 bpg in the next 14 SEC games + one SEC Tournament game.

* Bryce Sheldon has 2+ 3’s in five games this year, including a career-high six 3’s in the Gamecocks win at Southern California on Nov. 16.

* Want more? How about Evka Baniulis. He has scored 3+ PT in 7 of the last 9 games, including a career-high 8 at Georgia. He played a career-high 33 MIN in the loss to No. 2 Florida..


USC and UK have one common opponent thus far with both College of Charleston on its home floor. UK defeated the Cougars 77-61 on Nov. 28 and a few nights later USC defeated Bobby Cremins’ team 67-55 in Columbia on Dec. 5.

While USC has played only SEC Eastern Division teams (at Georgia, vs. No. 2 Florida), UK has only played teams from the SEC West at Ole Miss and at home vs. Auburn and Mississippi State.