USC loses 1st game under Horn in OT thriller

For College of Charleston, there could not have been a much better way to dedicate the new Carolina First Arena, winning an overtime thriller against Carolina 82-80. For the Gamecocks, the first game on the road was far from ideal, and they will have to satisfy themselves with being the other team in the Cougars' history-making game.

"It was a big night for their program and their school," said Gamecock coach Darrin Horn. "We're disappointed, obviously. You have to credit Charleston. They did a great job and played really hard, and made the plays they needed."

Down 74-70 with 1:02 left in regulation, Evka Baniulis and Dominique Archie hit back to back threes to give Carolina a two point with time running down. The second shot, by Archie, came too quickly, though, as College of Charleston had time to respond. The early shot was by design, according to Horn.

"What we didn't want to do is wait around too late and not have an opportunity to offensive rebound," he said. "What it was designed to do was spread the floor and then us make a play."

After College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins called a timeout with 6.0 seconds left, Andrew Goudelock, who scored 20 points, took the inbounds pass. The Gamecocks had a foul to give, and Devan Downey tried desperately to foul Goudelock. The referee swallowed the whistle, and with a foot on the three-point line, Goudelock drilled the long jumper to send the game into overtime.

"We have a lot of faith in that play, and we ran it to a great scorer, a great shooter, and he delivered," said Bobby Cremins. "It was a great basketball game and a great atmosphere."

"Evidently I didn't [foul him]," said Downey, who finished with a game high 22 points. "He didn't call it, [so] it's not a foul."

The Gamecocks played well defensively in overtime, actually holding College of Charleston to 0-6 shooting from the field. However, the Cougars went to the line seven times, and make six of the free throw attempts. With the game tied at 80, a tired looking Downey took the ball at mid-court and drove the lane. He got to the rim, but left the shot short and College of Charleston grabbed the rebound.

"I had a good shot, and I just missed it," Downey said after the game. "Whether you're tired or not, you've got to fight through that. If I was tired, I've got to do a better job of taking care of my body in conditioning."

Tony White, Jr. dribbled out the clock, and then got by Zam Fredrick into the lane, drawing a foul. He drained both free throws to take the lead. Archie tried to inbound the ball, but nobody was in the back court to receive the pass. Fearing the five second violation, he finally threw in a prayer that was intercepted by Antwaine Wiggins to seal the win.

South Carolina came out strong, opening up a 13 point lead at 25-12 midway through the first half. The key to the early success was ball movement; the Gamecocks had five assists on their first nine field goals. College of Charleston responded by trapping Carolina point guard Downey and forcing Branden Conrad and Austin Steed to handle the ball. The Gamecocks finished with only 13 assists on the game, and went without an assist for the first 12 minutes of the second half. This also led to 19 Gamecock turnovers versus only 12 for the Cougars. The Gamecocks were also outrebounded 41-38.

"I think it's a major concern when before the game your keys are rebounding and taking care of the basketball on the road, and we didn't do either one," Horn said. "Our defensive effort and production was not what it needed to be, and it carried over to the offensive end."

Notes:

- Mike Holmes had another solid outing, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds. It was his third double-double of the season, and he was one rebound shy of having another double-double against Garnder-Webb.

- Downey had a block in the second half on White, Jr. Before you laugh too much, White, Jr., still led the Cougars with 21 points. Downey had seven blocks as a freshman at Cincinnati, and six last season.

- With the loss, Horn is now 4-1 as a Gamecock. He could have tied the best start ever if he had beaten College of Charleston.

- College of Charleston has now beaten Carolina just twice. The other time was in 1930.

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