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Feb. 2, 2007

South Carolina plays its last of four straight SEC Western Division teams when the Gamecocks travel to Alabama for a 3 pm (EST) match-up with the Crimson Tide on Sat., Feb. 3. USC steps back over to the SEC Eastern Division next week when it travels to Kentucky Feb. 7 (8 pm, LFS) and hosts Georgia on Feb. 10 at the Colonial Center (7 pm, FSN).

USC is 2-1 vs. the West this season after finishing 3-3 in 2006. USC will battle the final two SEC Western Division teams on its schedule in the last 10 days of regular season (Feb. 24 vs. Ole Miss and March 3 at LSU).

USC, 12-8 and 2-5 in the SEC, plays a 16-5 Alabama team that has posted a 3-4 record in the SEC this year. USC fell to Auburn at home on Wed., Jan. 31 (80-75) with all five Gamecock and Tiger starters scoring in double figures. Alabama took its show on the road and came away with a 73-70 victory at LSU after trailing 38-34 at the half. The Tide were led by Jermareo Davidson’s 31 points while the Gamecocks were led by freshman Evka Baniluis who put up a career-best 21 points.

Alabama, like Auburn, features a balanced offensive effort with four players in double figures (Davidson, 15.3; Hendrix, 14.5; Gee, 14.0; and Riley, 12.0). USC has two (Kelley, 16.9 and Wallace, 10.6). Wallace paces USC with 9.5 boards per game and 2.9 bpg, while Davidson leads the assault on the boards with 8.8 rpg closely followed by Hendrix’s 8.6 rpg. Davidson has knocked down 2.5 bpg.

The home team has won the last four times. USC posted a 67-56 win in Columbia on Feb. 14, 2006 in the two team’s last meeting. The game will be shown on Lincoln Financial Services (LFS) TV with Joe Dean and Charlie McAlexander making the call. The game will be broadcast on Siruis Channel No. 118. 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 time we …

USC defeated Alabama on Valentine’s Day night 67-56 in 2006. Renaldo Balkman showed the national television audience on ESPN much love of his own, scoring a career-high 28 points and tying his career-high with 16 rebounds. It was the third double-double of his career.

Tre’ Kelley added 12 and Brandon Wallace’s two blocks moved him to a tie for No. 5 on the career list with Ryan Stack.

Since 1996, Carolina is 4-1 on Valentine’s Day, with the lone loss coming at Alabama on Feb. 14, 2001. USC will travel to Vanderbilt this year for a Valentine’s Night game with the Commodores.

On the verge

Joining the SEC in 1991-92, USC is on the verge of its 100th SEC win in the league – sitting at 99 ‘career’ wins in the SEC.

Where we rank On Thurs., Feb. 1, USC’s RPI was No. 78 on the USC’s strength of schedule was ranked No. 39. Alabama’s RPI was No. 26 and its SOS was No. 42.

In the latest Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings USC was ranked No. 111 with a SOS of 51. The Tide were at No. 42 with a SOS of No. 87.

Wallace – ready to make history

Make your plan, work your plan. Brandon Wallace set out this year to break the career blocked shots record this season and he’s on track to do it. The record is 235 by Danny Traylor (1971-73). Wallace will need about 1.4 bpg if you figure 10 games at the minimum left on the schedule.

With five blocked shots against Auburn on Jan. 31, Wallace has 58 on the season. The 58 are the 10th most in a season for a Carolina player. Wallace passed his 2005 total and Ryan Stacks 55 blocks for 10th place. Wallace’s 73 blocks in 2006 were the fourth most in Carolina history. With at least 10 games remaining, if he could average two blocks a game he would have two of the top five spots in most blocked shots in a season. The most blocked shots in a season are Danny Traylor with 122 in 1972 and his 1973 total of 113 is the second most. If Wallace does average two blocks a game over the next 10 games Wallace and Traylor would hold four of the five top spots for most blocked shots in a season and it would also make Wallace the all-time career record holder in blocked shots with Traylor falling to second.

Good job Evka

True freshman Evka Baniulis has started six games this season and the last five in a row. He has scored 10+ points in three of the last four games including a career-high 21 points Jan. 31 vs. Auburn. Entering Wednesday nights game against the Tigers, he was 8 of 21 from beyond the arc in SEC play. Against the Tigers he went 5 of 8 and is now shooting 44.8% (13 of 29) from downtown. His playing time has also increased in the last six games where he has played 32+ minutes in each of the last five of the six games. (29 vs. Mississippi State) He is 16 of 34 (47%) from the field in the last four games.


Dominique Archie is 21 of 32 (65.6%) from the field in the last four games which include a 7 of 7 performance against Auburn. He has 18 rebounds in that span as well as 8 steals with a career-high 5 of the steals coming against Auburn.

Archie has scored double figures in each of the last four games. In recent years, five Gamecock freshmen have had three or more consecutive games with points in double figures. Most recently, Brandis Raley-Ross did it three straight this season (14, UC-I; 17, USC; 17, Lipscomb). Tre’ Kelley had a three-game span from Feb. 10, 2004 to Feb. 21, 2004 with 10, 16, and 18.

The 1999 team featured two in this category with Chuck Eidson accomplishing it twice (Jan. 19-Jan. 26 and Mar. 4-Mar. 10), as well as fellow freshman Marius Petravicius with two streaks of 10+ games (Dec. 28-Jan.5 and Jan. 29-Feb.5).

But all have a ways to go, including Archie.

B.J. McKie gave Carolina fans a preview of things to come as he began a four-game streak in double figures from Dec. 30, 1995 to Jan. 10, 1996. He then went on an 18 game run of 10+ points per game beginning on Jan. 20 until the last game of the season on Mar. 20 against Alabama in the NIT Semifinal.

In addition, Archie has started every game this season. The last Gamecock freshman to start every game in a season was Marius Petravicius in 1999 when he started each of the 32 games that season.

In addition to Archie, Brandon Wallace has also started every game this season. Last year Tre’ Kelley was the only Gamecock to start all 38 games.


Carolina has had five different players post 20 or more points in a game this season with Evka Baniulis being the most recent vs. Auburn. Tre’ Kelley has netted 20 seven times, Brandon Wallace and Bryce Sheldon twice and Dominique Archie and Evka Baniulis both once. Baniulis scored 21 including hitting 5 of 8 from beyond the arc in the 80-75 loss to Auburn.

In 2006 USC only had three different players to score 20+ in a game (Kelley, Tarence Kinsey and Renaldo Balkman).


After shooting below 40% four games straight, including a season-low 27% vs. Kentucky, USC has been shooting the ball better in the last four games. USC shot over 40% in its last four games, including a four-game high of 46.8% in the loss to Auburn on Jan. 31.

In addition to field goal shooting, USC’s free throw shooting was on the upswing in USC’s 66-63 win at Mississippi State. The Gamecocks were 6 of 6 in the first half and finished at 16-19 (84%) – its best mark since the Gamecocks hit 18-21 (86%) in its win over Lipscomb. USC was 4-5 in the loss to Auburn.


Carolina’s shot 20 or more 3 pointers in a game 13 times this year. The 31 three-point attempts vs. Auburn (tied fourth most in USC history in a game) were a season-high. The previous season high was 29 at Southern California. USC made 13 three-pointers out of 31 3-pt attempts against Auburn and that’s tied for sixth most in USC history in a game.

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 at Alabama, Wallace has played in 126 career games (No. 2 all-time) Kelley will move to No. 3 with 125 games played and be tied with former mentor Mike Boynton, Jr. 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.

75, 35

The 75 points USC scored in the loss to Auburn were the most its scored since it defeated Jacksonville and scored 80 on Dec. 29. It was the Gamecocks third highest scoring total of the season as they scored 80 in the OT win at. Southern California, 80 vs. Jacksonville and 75 vs. Lipscomb and Auburn.

USC scored 35 first half points against Auburn on Jan. 31. It marked the third straight game USC has scored 35 in the opening stanza. They have posted 35 points in the first half in five games this year. (The Citadel, Princeton, Arkansas, MSU, and Auburn). USC is 4-1 in those five games. When they hit 35 or more in the opening half, they are 7-1 but 5-7 when they score below 35.

SEC, National

Brandon Wallace is No. 2 in the SEC with 9.5 rpg and also No. 2 with 2.9 bpg. Nationally, Wallace is No. 16 with his rpg and No. 14 nationally with his bpg.

Wallace is No. 3 in both offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds.

Tre’ Kelley is No. 3 in the SEC with 16.9 ppg and is No. 83 nationally. Kelley is No. 77 nationally in assists.

Wallace and Kelley are 1-2 in minutes per game with Wallace tallying 37.2 mpg and Kelley posting 35.5 mpg.

High Notes • Tre’ Kelley has scored double digits in all but two games this season (4 vs. CofC and 9 at UGA). He leads the team with 17.2 ppg. Against Auburn, Kelley scored in double figures for the 17th time this year and the 60th time in his career. He has 4+ AST in 13 games this year, including eight assists twice.

• 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 92 assists on the season, averaging 4.8 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 9.5 rebounds per game, snaring 8+ REB in 16 games this year, including 11+ in 7 games. He pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds at Mississippi State 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 58 shots, (2.9 bpg). On track to break the school record set by Danny Traylor (235, 1971-73), he would have to average about 1.4 bpg in the next nine SEC games + one SEC Tournament game.

• Bryce Sheldon has 2+ 3’s in seven 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 11 of the last 14 games, including a career-high 21 points in the game against Auburn where he went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. He yanked down a career-high 6 REB vs. UK and in the Arkansas win.