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Sept. 25, 2014


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COLUMBIA, S.C. – As the start of the 2014-15 campaign draws closer, takes a look at some notable moments in South Carolina basketball history by the tens, detailing notables every 10 days until the week of the season opener versus North Florida (Nov. 14), when we will have a daily post. We’ll look at certain eras in Gamecock history and we’ll revisit great games, great moments and Gamecock greats throughout the feature.

With the start of the 2014 season just 50 days away, we take a look back at the number 50’s place in men’s basketball history by highlighting the two most impressive scoring performances in school history. To this day, Grady Wallace and John Roche, two of the most accomplished men’s basketball players in South Carolina history, stand as the only Gamecocks to eclipse the 50-point mark in a single game.

Wallace scored 54 points when the Gamecocks faced Georgia on Dec. 21, 1956. Wallace set a school record with 20 made field goals in the contest. The record-setting performance was a part of Wallace’s historic senior campaign in which he averaged a school record 31.3 points and grabbed 14.4 rebounds per game. Wallace led the nation in scoring that season, beating out Kansas center Wilt Chamberlain, who averaged 29.6 points per game in what was his junior season.

Wallace, South Carolina’s most prolific scorer by yearly average, holds four of the six highest single-game scoring totals in Gamecock history. He became the first Gamecock to have his jersey retired when his #42 was taken out of commission, solidifying himself as a permanent piece of Gamecock history.

His single-game scoring record, however, would not stand the test of time. On Feb. 4, 1971, Gamecock senior guard John Roche scored a school, and then-ACC record, 56 points as South Carolina topped the Furman Paladins 118-86. Roche shot 21-of-34 from the field, breaking Wallace’s record for field goals made in a single game and putting him second on the all-time list for field goals attempted in a single outing.

Roche, a native of the Bronx, New York, averaged at least 21.6 points per game and was named to one of the three prominent All-America teams in each of his three seasons with the Gamecocks. His #11 jersey was retired after his time at Carolina. Graduation from the University did not mark the end of Roche’s basketball career. He was drafted by the ABA’s New York Nets in 1971 where he spent three years before a brief stint with the Kentucky Colonels, the second of six professional teams he played for spanning the ABA, NBA, and international competition. Roche played his final season of professional basketball with the Denver Nuggets in 1981.

Feature by Media Relations student assistant Jackson Filyo