USC Overpowers Georgia For First SEC Victory

It was a typical slow start to the game for South Carolina. But after that it was all Gamecocks, as USC walloped SEC rival Georgia, 74-54, at the Colonial Center Saturday night for its first SEC victory of the season. Carlos Powell led USC with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Road losses to top ranked teams like Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Kentucky, though not acceptable, are tolerable.

Home losses to bad teams like Georgia are not.

South Carolina, showing no signs of a letdown from the close defeat to Kentucky Wednesday, fell behind by double digits early before kicking it into high gear, outscoring the overmatched Bulldogs by a 41-11 margin over the final 15 minutes of the first half and cruised to an easy 74-54 victory over Georgia Saturday night before an appreciative crowd of 12,270 at the Colonial Center in the SEC home opener for the Gamecocks.

USC improved to 9-4 overall, 1-1 in the SEC. Georgia fell to 6-6 overall, 0-2 in the SEC.

Carlos Powell led USC with 19 points and eight rebounds. Tre Kelley scored 11 points and dished out a career high eight assists. Ten USC players saw at least 12 minutes of action, and 11 different players scored.

As expected, South Carolina was superior in every facet of the game to a Georgia squad that has already suffered home losses this season to Western Kentucky, Nevada, and Stetson.

USC beat Georgia for the third straight time. The average margin of victory in those games is 19 points. And the rivalry could get even more one-sided in the future, as the sanctions imposed from the shenanigans of the Jim Harrick cut deeper into the heart of the Georgia program.

The strong finish to the first half gave USC a 44-24 halftime lead. The clubs played even, 30-30, in the second half.

USC's lead grew to 28 (52-24) before things quieted down. That is, until double technicals were called on Balkman and Georgia's Levi Stukes with 12:02 left.

USC led, 56-33, when the second media timeout of the second half was called with 11:32 left.

A three-pointer by Gonner and a steal and layup by Powell gave USC a 63-37 lead with 7:57 left. It was strictly garbage time after that.

After Georgia opened the scoring with a basket underneath, Carlos Powell got the Gamecocks on the board with a fallaway jumper from the corner

But the Bulldogs responded with a pair of three-pointers and a three-point play to take a surprising 11-2 lead with 17:21 left.

USC continued to experience problems shooting the basketball, and trailed 11-2, when the first media timeout was called with 15:44 left.

Brandon Wallace hit a free throw to make it 11-3. But a UGA basket gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead at 13-3 with 15:02 left.

USC scored the next six points to cut the lead to 13-9 heading into the second media timeout with 11:52 left.

Tre Kelley started the run with a driving layup. He then drove the lane and fed Carlos Powell for a pretty basket underneath. Three subsequent free throws made it 13-9.

After a spectacular block by Tarence Kinsey, he fed Wallace for a breakaway dunk. But the sophomore from Silver Bluff High School was called for a technical foul for hang onto the rim.

The technical free throw by Georgia, two free throws by Kinsey, and an easy basket by the Dawgs made it a 16-13 with 10:41 left

It was all Gamecocks for the remainder of the half. USC initially scored 13 straight points to take a 26-16 lead when the third media timeout was called with 7:09 left. Georgia called two timeouts during the run to little avail.

Rocky Trice started the decisive surge with a jumper from the top. Wallace gave USC its first lead of the game with a 3-pointer to make it 18-15. Trice followed with a jumper from the corner.

Kelley made a layup after a steal. Balkman had a layup. Powell hit a corner jumper. You get the picture. The Dawgs were literally helpless watching USC hit shot after shot, knowing with their lack of talent there was little they could do to halt it.

The onslaught continued after the media timeout as Powell swished a jumper from the wing, increasing the USC lead to 28-16.

After a Georgia 3-pointer snapped USC's 15-0 run (the last time USC's lead fell below 10 points), Josh Gonner (10 points) took the game over, as the points continued to come fast and furious for the torrid Gamecocks. Gonner swished three jumpers within a span of 57 seconds.

Georgia hit a triple and a corner jumper to cut the lead to 37-24 before USC closed the half out in style. Three-pointers by Powell and Kelley quashed any thought of a Bulldog rally, and gave USC its biggest lead of the half at 44-24. That was the score when the clubs headed to the lockerrooms.

USC shot 56.7% (17-for-30) in the first half, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, and used is superior speed and quickness to force Georgia into 10 turnovers.

UGA: 24-30=54

USC: 44-30=74

USC Leading Scorer: Carlos Powell, 19 points.

UGA Leading Scorer: Levi Stukes, 15 points.

USC Leading Rebounder: Carlos Powell, 8.

UGA Leading Rebounder: Dave Bliss, 7.

Halftime: USC 44-24.

Next Game: Wed. 1/12 at LSU (8:00 p.m.) Next Home Game: Sat. 1/15 v. Tennessee (7:00)

NOTES: USC's starting lineup - G Tre Kelley, G Rocky Trice, F Carlos Powell, F Tarence Kinsey, and C Brandon Wallace. . .Saturday's game was televised by Fox SportsSouth. . .USC is now 42-6 under Dave Odom when it scores more than 70 points. . .USC leads the all-time series against Georgia, 42-41. USC is 25-13 in Columbia against UGA. . .USC swept UGA last season. Saturday's victory means the Gamecocks have an opportunity to sweep Georgia in back-to-back season for the first time since 1946-47. . .USC issued a press release Friday announcing that 6-foot-10 sophomore center Paulius Joneliunas has been granted his release by USC to transfer to American University in Washington, D.C. . .Through the first 12 games, three players are averaging in double figures for USC, Carlos Powell (14.6 PPG), Tre Kelley (10.6), and Tarence Kinsey (10.0). . .Powell is second in the SEC in FG Pct (57.7%). . .This was the first true "road game" of the season for Georgia this season. All 11 of UGA's previous games this season had been played in the State of Georgia, nine in Athens and two in Atlanta. . .UGA lost to Tennessee, 72-65, in Athens Wednesday. . .The Bulldogs have just one starter returning from last season's 16-14 squad. . .UGA head coach Dennis Felton is in his second season at the helm. He came from Western Kentucky, where he amassed a record of 100-54 and three NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons.


USC HEAD COACH DAVE ODOM: "I'm very happy with the outcome of the game. We didn't get the greatest of time, which was somewhat predictable. Nonetheless, I wasn't worried or concerned. You're always concerned when you go down 11-2 but we hadn't started playing and I know this team well enough to realize we would start playing pretty quick. After that first media timeout we started to get it rolling pretty good. We played about as well as we can in a short period of time. We played very well in that eight or nine minute stretch. We got every loose ball and we were making shots. We played unselfishly and did the things good teams do."

"Our kids came out and played good defense in the second half. We didn't press as nearly as much in the second half, with good reason. I wanted to play as many guys as I could. Guys like Dwayne Day and Stephen McDowell and John Chappell I wanted to get plenty of playing time."

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