Gamecocks host #5 Kentucky at the Colonial Center

South Carolina hopes to restart is home winning streak in the SEC, which had reached four, when it hosts No. 5 Kentucky on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Kentucky enters the game 19-2 and 10-0 in the SEC. Kentucky is the first of two ranked teams the Gamecocks will face as they travel to No. 17 Alabama for a 3 pm game on JP...

The USC-UK game will be shown nationally on ESPN, with tip-off set for 9:05 pm. Brad Nessler (play by play), Rick Majerus (color analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline reporter) will work the game for ESPN. It is ESPN's first visit to the Colonial Center since it opened three years ago. USC is 12-21 on ESPN over the years. Its last appearance on ESPN was not pretty: Feb. 25, 2003 at Florida - Gators won 96-63. But in its last appearance on ESPN in Columbia (March 19, 2002), the Gamecocks defeated UNLV 75-65 to advance to the NIT semi-finals where they defeated Syracuse (66-59), but fell to Memphis in the championship game (62-72). Both games in Madison Square Garden were on ESPN.

USC is 7-8 on television this year. The UK game is the first of two straight games at the Colonial Center on national TV (CBS, Feb. 27 vs. Florida).


The Gamecocks enter the Kentucky game with a 13-8 record overall and a 5-5 mark in conference play. Home court advantage had helped out the Gamecocks prior to the Auburn loss, but USC has lost just two at home this year (Clemson and Auburn), collecting an 11-2 record at the Colonial Center this season.

The Gamecocks are 4-1 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.

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.

South Carolina has two players averaging double figures: Carlos Powell (15.2 ppg) and Tre' Kelley (10.0 ppg). Powell also leads the Gamecocks in rebounds with 6.6 rpg.

About Them and Playing Us

No. 5 Kentucky enters the game 19-2 and 10-0 in the SEC. Behind 14 points each from Chuck Hayes and Patrick Sparks, the Wildcats defeated Georgia 60-51 at home on Saturday. The Wildcats enter with a 10 game winning streak, having lost for the last time on Jan. 9 to Kansas (59-65 in Lexington).

Kentucky is led by three players in double figures: Kelenna Azubuike (14.1 ppg), Patrick Sparks (11.3 ppg) and Chuck Hayes (11.0 ppg). Hayes leads the team averaging 8.7 rpg.

The Wildcats lead the series record with USC 35-5. The Gamecocks have lost 17 of their last 18 games to the Wildcats, only winning 70-57 at the SEC Tournament in 2002 (Atlanta).

SEC Home Wins, Streak Starts Over

A four game SEC home winning streak, the longest since USC posted seven straight SEC home wins since the 1997-98 season, was snapped with the three point loss to Auburn on Saturday. USC will attempt to re-start that winning streak on Tuesday against Kentucky.

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. Listed below are the longest SEC home winning streaks during that season.

Don't remind us!

The Gamecocks are 0-4 this season against ranked opponents (all on the road). No. 5 Kentucky is the first ranked team to come to Columbia this year. USC lost all four of the games to ranked opponents by eight points or less with three of the four decided by four or less.

The Gamecocks have been so close to upsetting some top ranked teams over the past two seasons. Six games against ranked opponents have been decided by four points or less.

What he collects

Carlos Powell brings a 56.5% field goal percentage into the Kentucky game, including a 56.4% clip against SEC opponents. Coming into the year, Powell's 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). But, Powell has made just five three pointers this season (5-22, 22.7%), compared to the 30 he shot his sophomore year (30-98, 30.6%).

Powell has shot 50% or better in 16 of the 21 games this season and has led the team in scoring 13 times and rebounding 14 times. Powell had scored 10 or more points in 19 of 21 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 16 of 21 games this season - including an 11 rebound performance vs. Vandy and a 10 rebound performance against Auburn.

Notes from Auburn

* USC out rebounded Auburn 42-31 on Saturday night but came up short, falling 74-71 as the Tigers won their first SEC road game. The loss was the first this season for the Gamecocks when they out rebounded their opponent. Carolina is now 7-1 when out rebounding their opposition.

* In USC's last three home games, the opponents have hit 29 three-pointers and are 29 of 60 in that span against the Gamecocks. (48.3%). Opponents are 68 of 172 from the field overall in those three games (39.5%) Opponents have hit 39 two point field goals and 29 three point field goals.

* The Gamecocks totaled five blocks against the Tigers on Saturday and they have at least three blocked shots in every game this season except for three. In the two games where they failed to get three, Carolina blocked two (Vanderbilt and Winthrop). The other game, a home win against UT, USC blocked no shots.

Yes We Can

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.

More than 2

Already hitting 21 three-pointers this season, Tarence Kinsey must have worked on shooting beyond the arc last summer. Kinsey is 21 of 57 (35.6 %) 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 two shots Auburn on Saturday. It is the 12th time this season he has blocked more than one shot in a game. He has 70 career blocks (35 this year, 35 last year). He should easily enter the top 10 in career blocks during his career as he needs six for the No. 10 career slot (76, Jimmy Graziano, 1977-80). The career leader might be a bit tougher. It's 235 blocked shots by Danny Traylor (1971-73).

He had four blocks against Arkansas; it was the second time this season he has had 4 blocks in a game (East Carolina, 12-20-04).

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