USC Opens Season With Exhibition Victory

South Carolina opened the 2004-2005 college basketball season with an 81-63 exhibition victory over USC-Upstate Monday at the Colonial Center. Carlos Powell led the way with 21 points and 8 rebounds for USC, which starts regular season play on Nov. 21 against Western Carolina...

South Carolina opened the much-anticipated 2004-2005 basketball season Monday with a 81-63 exhibition victory over Division II USC-Upstate before a sparse gathering of 3,452 at the Colonial Center.

Carlos Powell (7-for-13 FG, 6-for-6 FT) led USC with 21 points and eight rebounds. Tarence Kinsey (7-11 FG) had 18 points and six rebounds. Josh Gonner came off the bench to score 15 points.

USC head coach Dave Odom substituted liberally in the first half, as a total of 10 players saw action. Eight players were on the floor for at least 10 minutes.

USC shot 50.0% from the field (26-for-52), including a sizzling 58.3% (14-for-24) in the first half. The Gamecocks looked sharp as well from the free throw line, making 24 of 29 charity tosses. USC-Upstate struggled from the field (36.5%) and from the line (9-for-17).

Two USC players expected to make key contributions this season did not play. Brandon Wallace, who enjoyed a solid freshman season, has a sprained ankle and sat on the bench in street clothes. Dave Odom said he could be played as his ankle is near full recovery but was held out nonetheless.

Junior college transfer Antoine Tisby, tabbed by many as USC's top newcomer, dressed out but did not get off the bench. USC head coach Dave Odom announced after the game that Tisby had a "time management" problem. Admitting Tisby had failed to fulfill all of his academic and basketball responsibilities.

Without Wallace and Tisby, USC's interior defense was less than stellar. Nearly half of USC-Upstate's points came from the paint. The game was mostly ragged, as the two clubs combined for 49 turnovers and 43 fouls.

A USC surge late in the first half gave the Gamecocks a 48-31 halftime lead. USC was never seriously threatened in the second half, as the Spartans were unable to mount any type of serious rally.

John Chappell brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous block on a layup attempt early in the second half.

The first half had plenty of scoring but little. Renaldo Balkman fouled out after only seven minutes of action.

USC's first points of the season came from a steal at midcourt by Kinsey, who quickly fed Powell underneath for an uncontested slam dunk. Kelly followed with a pair of free throws to give USC a 4-0 lead.

Paulius Joneliunas, who started at center for USC, entered the scoring column by connecting on a jumper. The Gamecocks' lead grew to 8-0 with a pair of free throws by Trice with 17:31 left.

USC led, 13-5, when the first timeout was called with 15:22 left in the half.

Following the timeout, Dave Odom put an entirely new unit on the floor: PG Stephen McDowell, G Josh Gonner, F Dwayne Day, F Renaldo Balkman, and C John Chappell. This group struggled mightily to generate any offensive flow, as Upstate used a 6-0 run to climb to within two points (13-11) with 11:43 left.

A 3-pointer by freshman Stephen McDowell marked USC's first points in 5:11. Two free throws by Balkman gave USC seven-point lead (18-11) before Odom made wholesale changes, bringing back the original starting five.

USC led, 23-15, when the third official timeout of the contest was called with 7:51 left in the first half.

The crowd-pleasing moment of the first half came when Balkman fired a full-court pass to Powell off an inbounds play for an easy dunk. The basket gave USC a 26-17 lead.

Kelly's driving layup gave USC a 28-19 lead. The basket jumpstarted a 10-0 USC run that expanded the advantage to 36-19. Kinsey had a layup and 3-pointer during the stretch.

Carlos Powell continued the streak with a driving layup.

A pair of late 3-pointers by Powell and Gonner gave USC its largest lead of the first half (48-31) shortly before the halftime buzzer.

USU: 31-32=63 USC: 48-33=81

USC Leading Scorer: Carlos Powell, 21 points USU Leading Scorer: Two with 12. USC Leading Rebounder: Carlos Powell, 8. USU Leading Rebounder: Richie Stevens, 8. Halftime: USC 48, USC-Upstate 31.

NOTES: USC's starting lineup was G Tre Kelly, G Rocky Trice, C Paulius Joneliunas, F Carlos Powell, and F Tarence Kinsey. . .Kinsey left the game with leg cramps with 6:15 left. . .USC out rebounded USC-Upstate, 37-33. . .USC had 17 steals, four by Powell. . .USC-Upstate was formerly known as USC-Spartanburg until the Board of Trustees approved the name change earlier this year. . .USCU is a member of the Peach Belt Conference along with Limestone, USC-Aiken, Francis Marion, Lander, Augusta State, and UNC-Pembroke. . .USCU Head Coach Eddie Payne was formerly the head coach at East Carolina (1991-95) and Oregon State (1995-2000). . .USCU played Wake Forest at Winston-Salem, NC on Nov. 4th. . .USC guard C.J. Paul is the brother of Wake Forest's Chris Paul, considered by many to be the best point guard in the country and a pre-season favorite for National Player of the Year. . .Monday marked the second time USCU has faced a SEC team in men's basketball. USCU faced Ole Miss in 1985-86. . .USCU has an enrollment of 4,100. . .USCU's mascot is the Spartans. . .USCU won the 1982 NAIA national title


USC HEAD COACH DAVE ODOM: "Obviously we have a lot of work to do. The good news is we have plenty of time to get it done. Our biggest concern right now is our post defense. They threw it in anytime they wanted. Anytime we tried to stop them with a physicality we got into foul trouble. Our perimeter defense was also poor. They had shot after shot after shot. We had trouble finding our men. All in all we were able to get through it. It was not an impressive performance for sure but one I'm not unaccustomed to this time of the year."

"I thought Tarence (Kisney) played well. Tre (Kelly) had his moments. Still, it showed we have a long way to go. I thought Upstate benefited from playing last week. They played well. They will have a good year in their league. It certainly helped them."

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories