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Jan. 26, 2007

South Carolina travels to Starkville to play its second straight SEC Western Division team in Mississippi State on Sat., Jan. 27 at 7 pm (EST). USC plays four straight SEC Western Division teams (66-60 winner vs. Arkansas, at MSU, vs. Auburn and at ‘Bama) before traveling to Kentucky Feb. 7. USC was 3-3 vs. the SEC Western Division in 2006.

Of the current roster, only three (Tre’ Kelley, Brandon Wallace and Dwayne Day) witnessed USC’s last visit to Starkville (a 73-65 loss to the Bulldogs Jan. 22, 2005). USC’s only win in Starkville in seven tries: USC won 73-65 on Jan. 11, 1997 – the same year the Gamecocks won the SEC title with a 15-1 run through the league.

USC, 11-7 and 1-4 in the SEC, plays an 11-7 MSU team that has posted a 2-3 record in the SEC this year. The two’s last match up was at the SEC Tournament first round. Carolina won its second straight game over MSU with a 59-44 victory to advance behind Tarence Kinsey and Tre’ Kelley’s 11 points each. In the match-up prior to the SEC Tournament, USC defeated the Bulldogs 83-61 on Feb. 21, 2006 in Columbia in its most lopsided SEC win since a 23-point win at Vanderbilt on Feb. 16, 2002. Kelley had a career-best six 3-pointers in the victory, tallying 22 points.

MSU has three starters in double figures (Gordon, 15.2; Stewart, 12.3; Rhodes, 11.5) and USC has two (Kelley, 16.9 and Wallace, 10.5). Wallace paces USC with 9.4 boards per game and 2.8 bpg, while Gordon leads the Bulldogs on the boards (7.6 rpg) and Varnado has knocked down 2.3 bpg.

The game will be shown on FSN with Rich Waltz and Barry Booker making the call on television. The game will be broadcast on Siruis Channel No. 110. The match-up can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). It can also be picked up via the internet at

Last out

USC got back on the winning track the last time out when it defeated Arkansas 66-60 behind Kelley’s 22 points on Wed., Jan. 24. The SEC Western Division is 0-16 on the road this season and Dave Odom is 3-0 vs. Arkansas in Columbia during his Gamecock reign. USC’s five-game skid was the longest losing streak since the Gamecocks dropped seven straight games in 2003 (Jan. 11 – Feb. 5). But, after that seven game losing streak, SC won four straight.

Mississippi State fell at home to No. 1 Florida 70-67 on Wed., Jan. 24 with Jamont Gordon (17), Barry Stewart (16) and Dietric Slater (10) all posting double figures.

The two have four common opponents this season thus far. They lost to all four of the opponents: Clemson, UF, UK and UT.

Looking ahead in PJs

Help USC make it 2 straight against the Tigers! South Carolina will be host Pajama Slam ’07 during the Auburn game on Wed., Jan. 31 at 7:30 pm. Students are encouraged purchase a pair of official Pajama Slam ’07 pajama pants at the Russell House Bookstore and wear them to the basketball game at the Colonial Center vs. the Tigers.

The first 250 USC students through the door wearing the Pajama Slam ’07 pants will receive a free pair of Gamecock Crocs. The pajama pants are available for purchase at the Russell House bookstore and on the web at the Online Store:

Us vs. Them

Mississippi State leads the series record 10-7. The two only began play with each other in 1992 – the year USC joined the league. A few things about the rivalry:

First Meeting: Jan. 26, 1992 (57-60 in Columbia)

Last Meeting: March 9, 2006 (59-44 in Nashville — SEC Tourney First Round)

Last 5 Meetings: 2-3

Last 10 Meetings: 5-5

Since joining the SEC: 7-10

Diaper Dandies

While Tre’ Kelley and Brandon Wallace get a lot of ink and rightly so, the freshmen duo of Dominique Archie and Evka Banilius are beginning to make a formable set of starting forwards for USC. As a redshirt-freshman Archie has started every game for the Gamecocks this season, while Baniulis has started the past two games and three in his career.

Archie has one double-double (career-highs with 20 points, 10 rebounds vs. Lipscomb) in his first year. Archie was the first USC freshman to score 20+ points since Rolando Howell scored 20 points in a 78-65 loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament on March 9, 2001. He was also the first freshman to have a double-double since Brandon Wallace collected a double-double at The Citadel on Dec. 3, 2003 (10 PT, 11 REB).

Baniulis has a career-high 10 points twice and career-high 6 rebounds twice as well this season.

The two are making noise among SEC freshmen as well. Of SEC freshmen in overall games, Archie is No. 4 with 4.8 RPG and No. 6 with .7 bpg.

In SEC play, Archie is No. 4 with 8.6 ppg and Baniulis is No. 6 at 8.4 ppg. Baniulis is No. 3 with 5.2 rpg to Archie’s 4.0 rpg at No. 6.

The duo are in the top 10 of the following SEC-only categories: Field Goal % (Archie, No. 9); 3 PT % (Archie, No. 2; Baniulis, No. 8); Free Throw % (both at No. 9); Blocked Shot (Baniulis, No. 7) and Assists (both at No. 8).

Kelley and Wallace Moving On Up

Tre’ Kelley and Brandon Wallace continue to climb the career record paths as both are working on a number of career milestones this year.

With their play in the MSU game, Wallace will move to sole possession of No. 3 in career games played (124) and Kelley will move to No. 4 with 123 games played and be tied with 3 others. Mike Boynton, Jr. is No. 2 with 125 career games played (2000-04) and Carlos Powell has the school record with 132 games played (2001-05). Both Wallace and Kelley could top Powell’s record before the end of the year.

The following are some of the categories the two are working on:

Tre’ Kelley

• He has 439 career assists and is No. 5 on the career list.

Assists More Will Pass (#) Yrs. Played

2 Michael Foster (4) 1984-87

23 Aaron Lucas (3) 1999-2002

The school record is 543 set by Melvin Watson from 1995-98.

• He is No. 4 with 140 career 3s. He needs 13 to move to No. 3 (Larry Davis, 152, 1996-97). The school record is 264 set by Jamel Bradley fro 1999-2002.

• He is No. 3 with 430 career three-point attempts with No. 2 quite a ways away (556, BJ McKie, 1996-99). Bradley is the record holder and attempted 686 during his career (1999-2002).

• He is No. 9 in career minutes played at 3,491. No. 8 is Carlos Powell with 3513 minutes played 2001-05.

• With a successful season, he could enter the top 10 career lists for most games started (90 games started; No. 10 is 101 by 2)

Brandon Wallace

• He is currently No. 4 in career blocks with 214. He needs 13 blocks to move past No. 3 (Jeff Roulston, 226, 1989-92) and 17 blocks to move past No. 2 (Alex English, 230, 1973-76). The record is 235 blocks by Danny Traylor (71-73).

• With 662 career rebounds, he needs 7 rebounds to jump into the career top 10 in rebounds (669, Grady Wallace, 1956-57).

• With a successful season, he could move up the ranks in highest block average as he is averaging 1.74 bpg during his career — which would put him at No. 5 if the season ended today.

On the verge

Joining the SEC in 1992, USC is on the verge of its 100th SEC win in the league – sitting at 98 ‘career’ wins in the SEC.


Tre’ Kelley is No. 3 in scoring in the SEC at 16.9 ppg and No. 4 in SEC games at 17.8 ppg. Kelley, who led the SEC in assists last year, is No. 7 on the list with 4.6 apg.

Brandon Wallace leads the SEC with 37.1 mpg and Kelley’s second with 35.2 mpg.

Wallace is third with 2.8 bpg in the SEC in overall games and third in SEC games with 3.0 bpg. Wallace is second with 9.4 rpg and fourth in defensive rebounds (6.4 rpg). Wallace is second in offensive rebounds (3.0 orpg) and Dominique Archie is ninth in offensive rebounds (2.6 rpg) in overall games, while Wallace is No. 2 with 4.0 orpg in SEC play.

Evka Baniulis is No. 25 with 5.3 rpg in SEC games and Archie is No. 27 in all games with 4.8 rpg.

Which is right?

On Jan. 26, USC’s RPI was No. 71 on the USC’s strength of schedule was ranked No. 38. Mississippi State’s RPI was No. 75 and its SOS was No. 52.

In the latest Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings USC was ranked No. 108 with a SOS of 59. The Bulldogs were at 57 with a SOS of 67.

Lookin’ back a couple days

Wednesday’s game against Arkansas was the first contest this season for USC against a team from the SEC West. It marked the first of four straight games for the Gamecocks against the SEC West. (Arkansas, Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama). The SEC Western Division is 0-16 on the SEC road this year. Other notes from the Arkansas game include:

• Dominique Archie was in double figures for the eighth time this season (and career). His two 3s matched his career-high vs. Florida on Jan. 13. He had a career-high 3 assists.

• Tre’ Kelley moved to No. 5 on the career list for assists with 439, passing Barry Manning (1988-92, 437). He moved past Jo Jo English (139, 1989-92) with 140 career 3 pointers and is No. 4 on the career list. Kelley scored in double figure for the 15th time this year and the 58th time in his career. Kelley has 20+ points in six games this year.

• Bryce Sheldon scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and the eighth time in his career.

• Brandon Wallace had 10+ rebounds for the seventh time this season. He has 8+ in 15 games this season. In the first 3 SEC games (UGA, UF, UK) he had 19 REB and he has 28 in the last 2 SEC games (UT, UA).

• Evka Baniulis had double figures for the second straight game in his career and matched his career-high of 10 PT (at UT). He tied his career-high of 6 REB (vs. UK).

• The 35-30 score at half was USC’s first half-time lead of the SEC season and the most first-half points USC has scored since they scored 39 vs. Jacksonville on Dec. 29.

High Notes

• 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 16.9 ppg. In the Arkansas win Kelley scored in double figures for the 15th time this year and the 58th time in his career. He has 4.6 apg and has 4+ AST in 11 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 78 assists on the season, averaging 4.6 apg. 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). He led the SEC in assists last season.

• Brandon Wallace is averaging 9.4 rebounds per game, snaring 8+ REB in 15 games this year, including 11+ in 6 games. He pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds at Tennessee on Jan. 20 and a career-high 10 offensive rebounds vs. Arkansas.

• 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 51 shots, (2.8 bpg). On track to break the school record set by Danny Traylor (235, 1971-73), he would have to average about 1.75 bpg in the next 11 SEC games + one SEC Tournament game.

• Bryce Sheldon has 2+ 3’s in six games this year, including a career-high six 3’s in the Gamecocks win at Southern California on Nov. 16. He has scored 20+ points twice this season.

• Evka Baniulis. He has scored 3+ PT in 10 of the last 12 games, including a career-high 10 points in two straight games now (at UT, vs. UA). He yanked down a career-high 6 REB vs. UK and in the Arkansas win.

Mr. Basketball

Wondering where all of South Carolina’s Mr. Basketball’s are playing college ball? Look no further than the University of South Carolina. Senior Brandon Wallace (2003 Mr. Basketball) is joined by a host of Mr. Basketball’s as transfers this season with all playing next year. Zam Fredrick was Mr. Basketball in 2004, Devan Downey was Mr. Basketball in 2005 and Syracuse transfer Mike Jones was Mr. Basketball in 2006. And with five of USC’s 2007 signees coming from South Carolina (see later in notes), it’s a pretty good guess the 2007 South Carolina Mr. Basketball might be a Gamecock in the making as well.

TV Time

USC is scheduled to make 17 regular-season appearances on television this year, including looks on CBS (Kansas, Jan. 7, 2007), ESPN (Kentucky, Jan. 16) and ABC (Tennessee, Feb. 17). USC’s first TV game of the year was an overtime win at Southern California (80-74) on the Fox Sports Network. USC is 5-5 on TV this year.

USC was 17-14 on TV last season.