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Feb. 27, 2007

Hosting No. 19/23 Vanderbilt, USC plays its second straight SEC home game for only the second time this season dating back to the home opener Jan. 13 and Jan. 16 (UF and UK). It is USC’s last regular season home game of the year and while USC already saluted the seniors in its Saturday win over Ole Miss – expect an encore.

The game could be billed as the shoot-out between two of the front runners for the SEC Player of the Year — Vandy’s Derrick Byars and USC’s Tre’ Kelley. Kelley leads the SEC in league game ppg and is second overall. Byars is right on Kelley’s heels, as he is No. 4 in overall games ppg and No. 2 in league play behind Kelley.

The USC-VU game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst) and broadcast over the airwaves on Sirius channel No. 107. It can also be picked up via the internet at

In its last games, Carolina defeated Ole Miss Sat., Feb. 24 76-63 on Tre’ Kelley’s 28 points and Vanderbilt tripped up Kentucky on Sun., Feb. 25, 67-65 behind the Wildcats 22 turnovers. USC, 14-13 and 4-10 in the SEC, plays a Commodore team that has posted a 19-9 record and is 9-5 in the SEC this year. Vandy is 7-0 in the SEC at home, but its only wins in seven tries on the road were at Kentucky and LSU back in January.

Vandy has four starters in double figures (Bryars, 16.8; Foster, 15.1, Cage, 11.0; Neltner, 10.0), while USC has two scoring double digits (Kelley, 18.7 and Wallace, 10.1). Wallace paces USC with 9.4 boards per game, while Neltner (6.0), Byars (4.8) and Foster (4.8) crash for the ‘Dores.

Looking forward

A few things cooking vs. Vandy:

* Brandon Wallace will take over as the school record for most games played with 133 with his play vs. Vandy. That puts him at a four-way tie for No. 13 all-time in the SEC. Wallace is the first non-Kentucky player to enter the top 16 for games played in the SEC.

* Tre’ Kelley will move to a tie with Carlos Powell at No. 2 with 132 games played and will be tied at No. 16 in the SEC.

* Wallace needs two blocks to move into the top 10 in the SEC for career blocks. He has 239 – he needs 241 to hit the top 10.

Cocks vs. Commodores

USC leads the overall series 21-18 and USC holds an 11-6 advantage in Columbia. Vandy won Feb. 14 78-68 in Nashville. The away team has won the last three meetings.

USC is 7-4 under Odom against Vandy (3-2 in Columbia and 4-2 in Nashville). USC has swept the regular season series twice while it has been split three times. VU has yet to sweep the Gamecocks since Odom took over. The last time Vandy swept the season series against USC was in back-to-back years (1992-93 and 1993-94).

Palmetto State Play

The Commodores are 1-1 against the state of South Carolina this season, dropping a non-conference game to Furman (70-62), but defeating USC 78-68 on Valentine’s Day. Vanderbilt went 2-1 against the Palmetto State in the 2005-06 season after defeating the Paladins and splitting the series with South Carolina.

The last win

A couple notes from the Ole Miss win on Feb. 24.

* USC is now 3-2 vs. the SEC Western Division, with just the game at LSU remaining on its schedule vs. the West.

* Brandon Wallace scored in his 72nd straight game – the longest on the team. Tre’ Kelley is right behind him with points in 71 straight games.

* Kelley scored in double figures for the 24th time this season and 67th time in his career. He had 20+ points for the 12th time this year and 20th time in his career. He has scored 21+ in 5 of the last 6 games. He has scored 21+ in 8 of 14 SEC games this year.

* The three Carolina seniors (Tre’ Kelley, Bryce Sheldon, and Brandon Wallace) combined for 54 points, 10 assists, 8 blocks, and 13 rebounds.

Needs 74 points and 8 assists for another first

There’s a lot of talk about there about Tre’ Kelley when the SEC Player of the Year candidates come up and for good reason. Kelley has scored 19+ points in each of the last six games to average more than 24.6 ppg during that span. His 20.3 ppg in league play are tops in the SEC and his 18.7 ppg are second in the league overall.

Kelley has scored 1426 points and dished out 492 assists during his career. He is No. 12 on the career points list and No. 3 on the career assists list. He needs 14 points to pass Jo Jo English at No. 11 (1439, 1988-1992) and to pass Terry Dozier at No. 10 he needs 20 points (1445, 1985-89).

Kelley needs eight assists to become just the third Gamecock to post 1000 points and 500 assists in his career. Jack Gilloon (1975-78) posted 533 assists and scored 1027 points while Melvin Watson (1995-98) was the second player to do so with 1424 points and 543 assists.

If Kelley would hit 1500 points (he’d need to average less than 25 ppg in the next three games) and finish with 500 assists, he would be the first player in USC history to accomplish that feat in 99 years of Gamecock basketball.

How’s this for getting the job done

Tre’ Kelley has gotten an assist on 35.2% of his teammates made field goals when he’s on the floor, according to ken That puts him 24th in the country, with no other SEC player in the top 50.

Busted it big-time

Brandon Wallace had a goal this season – break the career blocked shots record. Last Saturday vs. Ole Miss, he needed four. Well, he must have wanted to shatter it that night as he blocked seven shots – tying a USC school record for most blocks in an SEC game (Jeff Roulston had 7 vs. Georgia on Jan. 18, 1992).

Wallace passed Alex English (No. 2, 230, 1973-76) during the win over UT when he picked up four blocks to move to No. 2 all-time and passed Danny Traylor (235, 1971-73) with seven blocks vs. Ole Miss to sit a top the all-time leader board for blocked shots in a career. On the SEC career records list, he is currently No. 11 all-time in blocked shots.

Wallace has 76 blocks this year and that puts him at fourth-most in a season for a Carolina player and he needs just two more to move to No. 3 (77, Roulston, 1991). Wallace’s 73 blocks in 2006 are the fifth most in Carolina history. The most blocked shots in a season are Danny Traylor with 122 in 1972 and his 1973 total of 113 is the second most.

Third best

Bryce Sheldon is 57-131 from three point range this season (43.5%). Entering the game against the Commodores, the 43% is the third-best 3 point % in a season in school history. The only Gamecock to hit better than 43% in a season is Brent Price with 49% (68-of-139) in 1989 and 44% (49-of-112) in 1988.

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 vs. Vanderbilt Wallace will have played in 133 career games, breaking Carlos Powell’s school record of 132 (2001-05). Kelley will move to a tie at No. 2 with Powell, totaling 132 games played. Kelley is one behind Wallace because he missed the Western Carolina game on Jan. 3 with his injured knee.


As of Feb. 25 on the national rankings list, Brandon Wallace is No. 13 in blocked shots and No. 26 in rebounds. He is No. 2 blocked shots and rebounds in the SEC. Nationally Tre’ Kelley is No. 51 in assists and moved up to No. 43 with 18.7 ppg.

As a team on the national scene USC is No. 6 in fouls with 14.6 per game and No.11 in turnovers with 11.3 per game. USC is also No. 43 in blocked shots per game (4.7 bpg) and No. 75 in 3s (7.6 3pg).

Carolina has turned the ball over nine times or fewer in a game nine times this season, including nine times or less in the last four of five games. The last three of four games USC has turned the ball over just eight times each.


• 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 18.7 ppg. In the win over Ole Miss Kelley scored in double figures for the 24th time this year and the 67th time in his career. His 36 points at UK were the most for a Gamecock in SEC regular season play, only topped by BJ McKie’s 37 in the SEC Tournament semi-finals in 1998. He has 4+ AST in 19 games this year, including a season-high eight assists four times.

• Kelley’s attempted 20 or more shots in seven games this season. (Southern Cal, Baylor, Princeton, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, 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 131 assists on the season, averaging 5.0 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 21 games this year, including 11+ in 10 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 69 shots, (2.7 bpg).

• Bryce Sheldon has 2+ 3’s in 13 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. He has started 11 straight games, scoring double figures seven times during that span.