Gamecocks Host Auburn Saturday Night

South Carolina returns home after a 60-53 win at Georgia last Saturday to host Auburn Saturday, Feb. 12. The 7:30 pm game will be shown on E-TV Sports Digital cable television -- tape delayed. Mike Morgan will make the call and Lane Odom will work as the color analyst. Morgan will be replaced in the radio booth by USC women's basketball voice Andy Demetra with Casey Manning working as the radio¹s color analyst...

Tickets are available for the Auburn and Kentucky games (Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 9 pm).

Auburn enters Saturday¹s game with an 11-11 record, including a 2-7 record in league play.

South Carolina has two players averaging double figures: Carlos Powell (15.3 ppg) and Tre' Kelley (10.1 ppg). Powell also leads the Gamecocks in rebounds with 6.4 rpg.

The Gamecocks enter the Auburn game, after a day off on with a 13-7 record overall and a 5-4 mark in conference play. Home court advantage has helped out the Gamecocks as USC are 11-1 at the Colonial Center this season and 1-0 on a neutral court.

The Gamecocks are 4-0 at the Colonial Center this season in SEC games. Last year Carolina was 5-3 in SEC play at home with the three losses coming against No. 14 Florida, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 6 Mississippi State. USC has won seven in a row at home since their overtime loss to Clemson on Dec. 4th, 2004.

On the road, the Gamecocks have played teams close but have only one road win to six losses. Five of the six losses have been by eight points or less, while four of the six have been by four or less. Four of the six teams have been nationally ranked with the four being ranked in the Top 17.

Coaches vs. Cancer

USC basketball coaches Dave Odom and Susan Walvius will host the third annual Coaches vs. Cancer silent auction benefiting the American Cancer Society prior to and during the Auburn men¹s game. Fans are encouraged come early and participate by bidding on items such as USC player memorabilia, autographed basketballs, sporting equipment, local restaurant gift certificates, and much more. The doors to the Colonial Center will open at 6:00pm with the game starting at 7:30pm. All proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the American Cancer Society. The 2004 Coaches vs. Cancer event raised over $12,800 for the American Cancer Society.

Coaches vs. Cancer is the partnership between the American Cancer Society, the NABC, and the WBCA. Since 1993 over 20 million dollars has been raised in the fight against cancer by over 400 men's and women's basketball coaches.

About Them and Playing Us

Auburn enters the game 11-11 and 2-7 in the SEC. Auburn is led by four players in double figures: Toney Douglas (17.8 ppg), Ian Young (14.3 ppg), Quinnel Brown (13.1 ppg) and Nathan Watson (11.4 ppg). Brown and Watson are averaging 5.9 rpg.

Auburn leads the series record with USC 15-10. Prior to winning 53-51 (OT) last year at Auburn, the Gamecocks had lost six straight and 12 of its last 14 games to the Tigers.

Their HERO

Auburn freshman Frank Tolbert was named the SEC Player of the Week (Feb. 7) after he scored a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, in the Tigers' 90-76 victory over Mississippi State. Tolbert had only scored 26 points combined in Auburn's previous seven SEC games.

He started for just the fifth time this season and had 17 points by halftime, when the Tigers led the Bulldogs, 46-27. Tolbert also had six rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes and averaged only 5.7 points coming into the week.

Small world?

Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo trolled the Gamecock sidelines under then-head coach Eddie Fogler from 1994-98. Lebo¹s assistant, John Cooper, was also an assistant beside Lebo, working the Gamecock sidelines from 1996-2001. Both coaches also starred in college as Lebo graduated from North Carolina in 1989 and Cooper finished at Wichita State in 1991.

Cooper was mentored with the Shockers by current Gamecock assistant coach Rick Duckett, who was in Wichita from 1987-92. Drawing the six degrees of separation out a bit further, USC head coach Dave Odom was an assistant coach at Virginia when Lebo played at UNC. The next year, 1989-90, Odom took over as the head coach of Wake Forest.

Good D and O

In seven games this season, USC has turned the ball over 15 times or more. USC has forced 15 or more turnovers in 10 games this season. In 11 of the 20 contests this season, the Gamecocks have won the turnover battle. In the last two games, USC has held the two opponents to shoot 34-110 (31%) and opponents were 10-46 (22%) from behind the arc.

SEC Home Wins

The four game SEC home winning streak is the longest since USC posted seven straight SEC home wins since the 1997-98 season. The most SEC wins in two straight seasons is 15 (95-96 and 96-97) and 22 straight in three seasons (95-96, 96-97 and 97-98). The streak started after USC played and lost to Kentucky on Jan. 3, 1996. USC won its next 22 straight SEC home games before losing to the Wildcats on Feb. 28, 1998.

Continues Fine Shooting

Carlos Powell brings a 57.3% field goal percentage into the Auburn game, including a 58.1% clip against SEC opponents. Coming into the year, Powell¹s highest season field goal average was 45.8% his freshman year (88-192), followed by 44.7% his junior year (165-369) and 44.3% his sophomore year (135-305). Powell has made just five three pointers this season, compared to the 30 he shot his sophomore year (30-98, 30.6%).

Powell has shot 50% or better in 16 of the 20 games this season. Powell had scored 10 or more points in 18 of 20 games this season (8 vs. Clemson, 9 vs. Vandy) but he has also been doing a good job of cleaning the boards for USC. The senior forward has totaled five or more rebounds in 15 of 20 games this season - including an 11 rebound performance vs. Vandy.

We got another

USC collected its second straight sweep against Georgia with the 60-53 win in Athens on Saturday. USC swept the Bulldogs last season with an 84-63 win in Athens and then a 63-47 win in Columbia. The last time USC swept UGA back-to-back (at least two games played in each season) was the 1943-44, 1945-46 and 1946-47 season. It was part of a nine game winning streak against the Bulldogs.

The last time USC won four in a row against UGA was from 1999-00 to 2001-02 when they won four in a row. USC has won 11 of the last 16 and eight of the last 11. USC has swept UGA four times since being a member of the SEC (1997-98, 2000-01, 2003-04, 2004-05).


USC is 7-0 this season following a loss. Four of the wins after the loss were decided by five points or less (East Carolina 57-53, South Florida 72-70, Tennessee 66-63 and Vanderbilt 68-63) while two others were decided by 20 or more (App. State 91-57, Georgia 74-54).

USC was 6-4 last season following a loss.

Thinking 3?

Already hitting 21 three-pointers this season, Tarence Kinsey must have worked on shooting beyond the arc last summer. Kinsey is 21 of 56 (37.5 %) beyond the three point line this year. Kinsey made just one three pointer his freshman year (1-14, .07.1%) and was 21-66 his sophomore year (31.8%).

Moving up the chart

Brandon Wallace blocked four shots against Arkansas last Wednesday. It is the second time this season he has had 4 blocks in a game (East Carolina, 12-20-04). It is the 11th time this season he has blocked more than one shot in a game. He has 68 career blocks (33 this year, 35 last year). He should easily enter the top 10 in career blocks during his career as he needs eight for the No. 10 career slot (76, Jimmy Graziano, 1977-80). The career leader might be a bit tougher. It¹s 235 blocked shots by Danny Traylor (1971-73).


In the latest RPI rankings (Feb. 10), USC is ranked No. 50 in the new RPI and No. 45 in the old RPI. Its strength of schedule (SOS) on ranks as the 62nd best in the country. In the Feb. 10th Sagarin rankings, USC is ranked No. 46 and its SOS is ranked No. 50. On the CBS CollegeSportsline poll (Feb. 9) USC is ranked 44th with an SOS of No. 47.

Against Georgia

The starting lineup of Powell, Kinsey, Balkman, Chappell and Kelley was used for the second time this year in the Georgia win. The line-up is now 2-0 (Arkansas, 64-52, at Georgia 60-53).

The start by Chappell was his second this season and the third of his career (at LSU his sophomore year). He played 16 minutes at Georgia, collecting a season-high four points and two rebounds. Chappell played 19 minutes against Arkansas, a new career high - his previous career high was 18 minutes vs. the Citadel on (12-3-03) and Western Carolina (11-21-04). The most against an SEC opponent was 17 minutes vs. Arkansas on March 11, 2004.

The 30.6 % Georgia shot (15-49), including 24.0% in the first half (6-25) is the lowest since Arkansas shot 31.1 % on Wednesday. The 31.1% was the lowest field goal percentage by an SEC team since Auburn shot 25% from the floor last season on Jan. 14, 2004. The previous low in SEC play this season was Georgia shooting 32.1% from the floor on Jan. 8, 2005.

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