Downey, Gamecocks cruise in exhibition win

The Gamecocks tipped off the 2007-2008 basketball season with an exhibition match against Dave Odom's alma mater, Guilford College. Guilford hung around gamely in the first half before Carolina, led by new starting point guard Devan Downey's 27 points, took over and cruised to an easy 99-63 win.


"I thought it was a typical first game," said Odom. "I thought we did some really good things and some things we need to improve and improve quickly."

The Gamecocks' undersized starting lineup included just two returning players. Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes started in the front court, and Devan Downey, Zam Fredrick, and Brandis Raley-Ross started in a three guard lineup.

The Quakers fought hard in the first half, even leading 21-20 about halfway through the session. With the natives growing slightly restless, Downey took over. He scored the next four consecutive buckets for Carolina, and the rout was on. Downey played up to all his hype, leading the Gamecocks with 27 points, 6 assists, and 7 steals. The only negative for Downey was that he was called for 3 charging fouls.

Downey's explosion was typical of the Gamecocks, who scored in bunches, followed by stretches where they struggled. Odom said he was not surprised by that, given the makeup of this team.

"The even flow won't be there," he explained. "It will be more in spurts. The shots came easily tonight. Guilford's defense was to stay between your man and the basket and give him the outside shot, and we took [the outside shots]."

Also making the most of his debut in garnet and black was Holmes. He was a force in the middle, showing a nice touch around the basket. He finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 emphatic blocks. Sam Muldrow also got in on the block party, adding 5 rejections.

"I looked at Mike Holmes, and he was a workhorse inside," said Odom.

One area of concern for the Gamecocks was allowing 27 points and 15 rebounds, including first half numbers of 15 points and 12 boards, to pre-season Division III Player of the Year Ben Strong. Carolina was also outrebounded 46-43

As he left the interview room after the game, Odom smiled and said, "Rebound. Gotta rebound."


Notes:

- Chad gray hurt his neck in the first half, and sat out the second half as a precaution.

- Freshman Trevor Deloach played 3 minutes, getting an assist and a steal with one turnover. Odom will make a decision on whether to redshirt the freshman guard prior to Friday's game against S.C. State.


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