Gamecocks Down The Pack 58-55

If the Gamecocks were nervous or intimidated by the thought of facing a very good North Carolina State team in the Colonial Center today - it didn't show. Carlos Powell set the pace from the opening bell and then went cold until near the end, but Josh Gonner was ready to take up Powell's slack …

South Carolina forced four turnovers with their trademark tenacious defense during a 10-0 run in the first five minutes - not allowing the Wolfpack a score until the 14:47 mark of the first half.

Half court pressure applied by the Gamecocks at the 8-minute mark resulted in another turnover on the inbounds by NC State as USC turned up the heat showing a killer instinct and timely coaching on behalf of the Carolina coaching staff and players. At the 7:01 mark the Gamecocks still led by 10, 22-12.

South Carolina went up by 11 at the 1:49 mark on a Josh Gonner put-back but the Wolfpack was beginning to show life when Gonner's two was answered by Marcus Melvin's 3 from the corner.

With 1:13 remaining in the gamed and up by eight, Dave Odom called the first coaches' 30 second time out of the game. The Gamecocks set up the open shot to close the first period as Brandon Wallace missed a 3 with time running out to send Carolina into the locker room up 30-22.

South Carolina opened the second half cold with the first possession and by the 16:40 mark NC State had closed their deficit 34-29.

Josh Gonner took things in hand going on a five point tear with a two to break the Wolfpack momentum and then a three to get the crowd back in the game with 15:27 remaining in the game.

By the time of the next TV timeout, the Gamecocks were back up by ten with 15:27 to go in the half.

NC State would pull back within six at the 13:00 minute mark … 41-35 … SC turned the ball over twice during the next three possessions including a Tarence Kinsey charge under the basket … and this time NC State would convert on two with an Engin Atsur put back that brought the Pack to within 4 at 41-37 with 10:33 in the half remaining … then with 10:10 remaining Atsur would hit a three that would bring the Pack to within 1 and it seemed that the momentum had turned completely in the favor of the Gamecocks.

Brandon Wallace stopped the bleeding and ended the Gamecocks' five minute dry spell by hitting one of two from the line and the Gamecocks went back up by 2 with a little more than nine minutes remaining. But that would be short lived as a feed down under to number Levi Watkins resulted in two and a Carlos Powell foul, his third, that Watkins converted into a three point play. The game was anybody's to win at that point.

Carlos Powell was clearly struggling and had been since his opening reverse layup as NC State went back up by two with 8:00 minutes remaining 45-43.

Another TV timeout with 7:52 remaining and SC's possession gave Carolina a chance to turn things around but the Gamecocks failed to convert out of the timeout and NC State scored two to go up by five 48-43 with seven minutes remaining.

SC had been on a potentially back-breaking dry spell by then … but the Wolfpack was in foul trouble and the Gamecocks were going to the line. Carlos Powell was fouled under the Pack basket and he converted both ends of the 1 and 1 and in doing so brought the crowd was back into the game.

Renaldo Balkman may have completely changed the momentum at that point of the contest by drawing a charge with the 5:49 mark and regaining possession for the Cocks. Carlos Powell finally hit on a short left handed hook from the baseline and the crowd erupted … the Gamecocks were back within one 47-48.

Everyone in the stands were on their feet with five minutes remaining … but a questionable foul was called on Josh Gonner and NC State shot their first 1 and 1, missing the front end and Carolina rebouned.

Carlos Powell drew a foul from Ilian Evitimov and hit both of this frees.

Goaltending on Kerbrell Brown gave the Pack a 1 point lead with 4:20 remaining. A Gamecock turnover sent the ball back NC State's way and with 3:50 Gonner picked up foul number 3 sending Marcus Melvin to the line for the first time … he missed both chances but NC State rebounded with 3:41 but they were unable to convert points. A foul on State's Julius Hodge at 3:30 allowed the Gamecocks to take possession just in time for another TV timeout with 3:30 remaining and down 50-49.

Michael Boyton's drive to the basket failed to produce and NC State came down clearly expecting to be patient and wait on the good shot. But Carlos Powell had other plans, stealing and driving for the basket and the foul and the free throw putting the Gamecocks up by two with 2:22 remaining at 52-50.

The Wolfpack came out of the timeout and went into their offense, but Herb Sendeck must not have liked what he saw out of the Carolina defense - deciding to call a Pack 30 second timeout to discuss it with his team. The crowd was going wild as the Gamecocks applied pressure to the NC State offense under the blanket of noise from the Carolina partisans.

A foul on Michael Boynton, his fourth, thwarted a fourth shot at tying the game by the Pack. The clock had now ticked down to 1:03 remaining and the Gamecocks were still up by 2, 52-50.

Julius Hodge missed the front end of his 1 and 1 but once again NC State regained possession.

Finally, after five attempts, a shot by Julius Hodge and a put back attempt by Atsur failed as Kerbrell Brown rebounded the ball for the Cocks with 45.3 remaining … Dave Odom called a long time out.

NC State fouled their way into the double bonus but Michael Boynton was only able to convert the back-half of his two frees. NC State called a 30 second timeout with 22.5 remaining trailing by three clearly having the intention of going for the three point shot and the tie.

Carlos Powell fouled number 13 Cameron Bennerman in the act of shooting the three (a very questionable call according to the instant replay) and Bennerman sank the first before Odom decided to ice him.

With 13.4 seconds remaining Bennerman came back to the line and promptly missed his second shot but nailed his third.

The Gamecocks took possession underneath their basket and Michael Boynton was promplty fouled by Scooter Sherrill. Boynton hit the front end of his 1 and 1 but missed the second. In the key play of the game Kerbrell Brown was there for the put back and the Gamecocks went up 56-52.

Tarence Kinsey then stole the inbounds pass and drove to the basket for the deciding jam to put the Cocks up 56-55

Julius Hodge nailed a three at the buzzer to cover the spread for the Wolfpack at 58-55, who came into the game as 3.5-point underdogs … but the win was the only thing that mattered as the Gamecocks moved to 10-1 on the season. NC State fell to 5-2.

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