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Nov. 7, 2008

Final Stats | Quotes | Photo Gallery

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina opened the Darrin Horn era with a 75-55 win against Kentucky Wesleyan Friday night at Colonial Life Arena. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by preseason Wooden Award List selection Devan Downey’s 19 point, eight rebound, four assist and four steal effort.

Branden Conrad and Austin Steed both posted career highs with 10 and 12 points, respectively. Zam Fredrick contributed 12 points and four assists.

Down 7-6 early, Coach Horn’s team put together its first of many runs, outscoring the Panthers 9-0 over a 1:17 span courtesy of three consecutive three-pointers from Branden Conrad, Evaldas Baniulis and Brandis Raley-Ross.

Kentucky Wesleyan answered with a 7-0 run of its own to tie the match 15-15 approaching the midpoint of the first half. With the lead gone, Conrad provided an initial spark for the Gamecocks with four consecutive points. Mitchell Carter’s three-point play upped the lead to 23-17 before Dominique Archie, Austin Steed and Downey all contributed to the run to push the lead into double-digits, 29-17, with five minutes remaining in the half.

Approaching 90 seconds remaining in the stanza, a pair of Archie hustle plays served as the catalyst for a 9-0 Carolina run to end the half. He followed a put back with a sprint down the court to force a turnover on the other end. Raley-Ross sunk a three-pointer on the ensuing possession and followed it up with two free throws to give Carolina a 38-21 lead heading into the break.

Still holding a 17-point lead two minutes into the second half, Carolina fell on the unfortunate end of a 16-0 KWC run, a streak that spanned four minutes and cut the Gamecock lead to 44-43 before Downey sunk a pair of free throws at 12:57 to end the drought.

Leading 46-45, the Gamecocks went on a 9-0 run over a three-minute period to push the lead back into double-digits for good. With a little under 10 minutes remaining, Downey capped the streak with a steal and three-point play, followed by a steal on KWC’s next possession and dish to Steed for a layup to push the lead to 57-45.

Conrad hit his second three-pointer of the night with 3:36 remaining to push the lead to 66-53 as the Gamecocks coasted the remainder of the game for the victory.

Downey went 4-for-8 in the second half after getting off to a rough start. He finished the game going 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

South Carolina opens its regular season next Friday when it hosts the Jacksonville State Gamecocks Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by SportSouth at Colonial Life Arena.