Powell Leads The Way As USC Holds Off Winthrop

Carlos Powell and Tarence Kinsey combined for 35 points as South Carolina built a big lead before hanging on for dear life in a 62-52 victory over instrastate rival Winthrop University Wednesday night at the Colonial Center. USC heads into Saturday's showdown against John Cheney and his Temple University Owls with a perfect 2-0 record.

Early indications from South Carolina's nonconference encounter Wednesday night against Winthrop University pointed to a runaway victory for the Gamecocks.

Instead, it turned into a battle for survival.

USC, which dominated the middle stages of the game, nearly blew all of a seemingly secure 17-point second half lead before holding off Winthrop for a hard-fought 62-52 victory before 7,717 happy fans at the Colonial Center.

The Gamecocks are 2-0 on the young season.

Carlos Powell led USC with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Tarence Kinsey scored 15 points. They were the only USC scorers in double figures.

Antoine Tisby, considered by many to be USC's top recruit, made his highly anticipated debut for USC after serving a one-game suspension, and scored three points in nine minutes of action.

USC forced 19 Winthrop turnovers, which turned into 27 points for the Gamecocks.

Winthrop climbed to within a point on four occasions (44-43, 46-45, 48-47, 50-49) but couldn't get over the hump. The Gamecocks gathered themselves and outscored Winthrop, 9-1, over the final 4:30 of the game to pull out the victory.

USC took control of the contest in the latter stages of the first half, outscoring Winthrop by a 24-6 margin over the final 10:12 of the half to turn a nine-point deficit (19-10) into a five-point halftime advantage for USC (34-25).

The USC onslaught continued into the second half as the Gamecocks scored the first eight points after intermission to take an apparently comfortable 42-25 lead. USC outscored Winthrop, 32-6, over a 14:09 span bridging the first and second halves.

Tre Kelley scored the first two points of the second half on a steal and layup, but moments later was forced to leave the game after being struck in the left eye while driving to the basket.

His replacement, freshman Stephen McDowell, capped the 8-0 run with a spinning shot in the lane that brought the crowd to its feet.

But, to its credit, Winthrop didn't quit. After barely showing a pulse on offense for a lengthy stretch, the Eagles suddenly got hot, scoring 12 straight points to cut the lead to five (42-37) with a 11:33 left and throw a scare into the Gamecocks and the crowd.

Coming out of a timeout called by USC, Powell hit two free throws to end Winthrop's 12-0 run. But the Eagles kept the pressure on by hitting a 3-pointer and layup to slice the deficit to one at 44-43 with 10:06 left.

Kelley returned to the lineup with a little over 10 minutes left wearing a different uniform number.

Powell gave USC a little breathing room by draining a runner in the lane but Winthrop hit two free throws to again slice the lead to one (46-45).

After Brandon Wallace missed badly on a 3-point attempt, Winthrop rebounded and took possession with an opportunity to take the lead. The Eagles missed a 3-pointer and USC rebounded.

Powell scored off an inbounds play from underneath the USC basket to push the lead to three (48-45). After a pair of Winthrop baskets sandwiched around a USC basket made it 50-49 with 6:01 left, USC's Brandon Wallace made one of the key plays of the game.

The sophomore from Jackson, SC missed a 3-pointer from the wing but hustled after the ball and managed to knock it away from a Winthrop defender. USC regained possession, and moments later Kinsey drained a critical 3-pointer from the top to give the Gamecocks a 53-49 lead with 5:07 left.

Wallace made another key play when he slammed home a miss by Kelley to give USC a 57-51 lead with 3:00 left.

After a Winthrop free throw, USC beat the Eagles press and Rocky Trice nailed a jumper from the corner to give the Gamecocks a 59-52 lead. Kinsey all but secured the victory by hitting two free throws with 45.4 seconds left.

The game began inauspiciously for USC, with two missed shots and a turnover on its first three possessions. Winthrop took advantage by taking a 5-0 lead on 3-poiunter and tap-in.

The Gamecocks righted the ship, scoring the next six points on two buckets by Powell (corner jumper and baby hook) and one by Tre Kelley (corner jumper).

Winthrop scored four straight points to take a 9-6 lead heading into the first media timeout. After a USC basket, the deficit climbed to six (14-8) when Winthrop nailed a 3-pointer from the left side with 14:03 left.

The Eagles led, 14-8, when the second official timeout was called with 11:51 left in the half.

Rocky Trice ended USC's scoring drought of 3:33 with a jumper from the corner with 11:45 left.

Winthrop regained control with a 5-0 run to take a 19-10 lead with 10:22 left. It was all USC from that point for the next 15 minutes of action.

Tisby hit the second of two free throws to end the streak, then drained a jumper from the wing to cut the lead to 19-13.

Those three points by Tisby jumpstarted a 11-0 run over a span of 2:07 that saw the Gamecocks turn a nine-point deficit into a two-point lead (21-19). Winthrop committed five turnovers during the brief stretch.

Kelley hit a driving layup before stealing a pass on the defensive end and making another layup while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but a steal on Winthrop's ensuing possession led to a breakaway dunk by Powell that tied the game at 19-19.

USC finally took the lead on a pair of free throws by Powell with 8:15 left.

Winthrop regained the lead at 24-23 on a 3-pointer with 4:53 left. It would turn out to be the Eagles' last lead of the game.

Kinsey responded with a 3-pointer from the wing. That trey, which started a 9-0 run for USC, was followed by a thunderous slam dunk by Powell, who sliced through the heart of the Winthrop defense.

Gonner and Kinsey completed the run with a pair of jumpers. USC ran the shot clock down to near zero before Gonner drained his two-pointer from the wing.

Balkman concluded the first half scoring by swishing two free throws with 1:05 left. The charity tosses gave USC its biggest lead of half at 34-25.

After a slow start from the field, the Gamecocks recovered to hit 50% (14-for-28) of its shots from the field over the opening twenty minutes. Powell led USC with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
WIN: 25-27=52

USC: 34-28=62

USC Leading Scorer: Carlos Powell, 20 points.

WIN Leading Scorer: Torrell Martin, 13 points.

USC Leading Rebounder: Powell, Wallace, 7.

WIN Leading Rebounder: James Shuler, 4.

Halftime: USC 34-25.

Next Game: Sat. 11/27 v. Temple, 5:00 p.m.

NOTES: USC's starting lineup was G Tre Kelley, G Josh Gonner, F Carlos Powell, F Tarence Kinsey, and F Brandon Wallace. . .USC shot 45.1% (23-for-51) from the field. USC was only 2-for-16 from 3-point range. . .USC now leads the all-time series against Winthrop, 4-0. All four games have been played in Columbia. . .The last meeting between the Eagles and Gamecocks took place on 12/5/91. . .USC head coach Dave Odom is now 5-0 v. Winthrop. . .Wednesday marked the second game of a six-game season-opening homestand for USC. They host Temple Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in a doubleheader with the USC women's team. . .USC is 19-3 all-time against the Big South Conference. Two of the three losses came in a 10-day span in 1996. . .Since becoming USC head coach, Dave Odom is 14-0 against schools from South Carolina. This season USC plays Clemson, SC State, and Wofford in addition to Winthrop. . .USC is 18-0 at the Colonial Center and 27-1 at home overall in nonconference play in Columbia. USC has won 24 consecutive nonconference games at home. . .The last nonconference loss at home came on 12/6/01 against Georgetown. . .Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall, a native of Greenwood, is in his 7th season with the Eagles. . .His career record is 117-66. . .Winthrop went 2-1 in the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands. . .Winthrop is now 1-13 against the SEC, 0-2 this season.


USC HEAD COACH DAVE ODOM: "We're certainly pleased to win. It was more difficult than it might have been. But we were playing an excellent basketball team that is extremely well coached. They have a lot of games in and they are playing with a lot of confidence. I knew they would not be intimidated in any way, shape, or form. We had a lot of respect for Winthrop and they did a good job."

"In retrospect, it may have been batter for the game to end the way it did (Winthrop rally) because I don't think had we built a 20-point plus lead that it would have helped us as much. Everyone had to take a deep breath. It made us dig deep and do some things we might not have been asked to do had the game gotten out of hand. I didn't like the way we lost the lead but given the fact we did gave our players an invaluable experience as we get going."

"Our guard play didn't measure up to what I thought it would. We made some glaring, unforced turnovers that we need to get rid of. I don't think we got into our offense. We ended up taking a few bad shots. We have to work on that. Their press was effective. It slowed us up. When we did attack it we got something out of it."

"Carlos (Powell) had another very solid game. Tarence Kinsey played extremely well. He hit some shots. He exerted himself. Stephen McDowell played well for a short period of time when we needed him when Tre went into get the stitches. Antoine Tisby showed some flashes of what we think he can do."

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