Gamecocks head to Ole Miss for 5 pm date with Rebels on Saturday
Feb. 1, 2008
South Carolina, 10-10 and 2-4 in the SEC, travels to No. 22 Ole Miss, 16-3 and 3-3 in the SEC, to play a 5 pm (EST) FSN-televised game on Sat., Feb. 2. The two teams have traded regular season home wins six consecutive years. During that same time span, the Rebels hold a 2-1 advantage vs. the Gamecocks in the first round of the SEC Tournament. In their last meeting on Feb. 27, 2007 the Gamecocks snatched a 76-63 win from the Rebels with Tre' Kelley showing his first-team All-SEC prowess with 28 points and six assists. Carolina's career blocks leader Brandon Wallace blocked seven shots in that game as well.
The Gamecocks have never won in Oxford and bring an 0-8 record to Tad Smith Coliseum. USC is a combined 1-16 at the two SEC schools from Mississippi, posting its first-ever win last season in Starkville (66-63 on Jan. 27, 2007).
The USC-UM game can be seen on FSN with Rich Waltz and Daymeon Fishback making the call. The game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and will featured on Satellite Radio -- XM: No. 200 and Sirius No. 130. It can also be picked up via the internet at www.gamecocksonline.com.
The two are both coming off home wins on Wednesday night with USC defeating SEC Eastern Division rival Georgia 62-56. Zam Fredrick led all scorers with 23 points. Ole Miss defeated No. 18 Vanderbilt 75-58 behind the 20 points of freshman point guard Chris Warren.
The two teams only shared non-conference opponent was Clemson with Ole Miss knocking the Tigers from the undefeated ranks (85-82) and USC falling 85-74 on their rivals floor. In SEC play, the two have both played UT (both lost), Florida (Ole Miss won, USC lost) and Vandy (Ole Miss won, USC lost).
The SEC is gaining respect around the country. A season-high five SEC teams are ranked in the top 25 this week. No. 8 UT (USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.) leads the pack followed by No. 18 Vandy, No. 19 Florida, No. 22 Ole Miss and No. 25 MSU. Florida and MSU are in the top 25 this week for the first time this season.
Devan Downey was the first Gamecock player to score 20+ in five straight games since USC joined the SEC (1991) and even more impressive - he did it in his first five SEC games. He scored 22 at No. 12 Vandy, 24 vs. No. 8 UT, 28 at Arkansas, 24 vs. Florida and 24 at UK. His streak was stopped when he scored just 9 in the Gamecocks' 62-56 win over Georgia where he scored 9 points - his first game in the garnet and black not scoring 10+.
Starting with Dominique
Dominique Archie has started every game in his career - 50 straight - including 30 last season and 20 this year. He needs five more straight starts to match former All-SEC forward Marius Patravicius. Petravicius, a native of Kltenenu, Lithuania, started all 32 games his freshman year and only missed one start - game No. 26 vs. Tennessee (Feb. 27, 2001) - his sophomore year to start 61 of the teams 62 games his first two seasons.
Archie has quite a mountain to climb to set the school record owned by BJ McKie (1995-98) and Melvin Watson (1995-98). They both started 116 games during their careers.
That Kennedy, Downey
Prior to last year's 76-63 win, the last time USC saw Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy he at the Cincinnati helm (2005-06), leading the Bearcats to a 21-13 record as the interim head coach. The Gamecocks ended his time at UC to advance to the NIT Semi-Finals with a 65-62 victory. Soon after the game it was announced Kennedy had accepted the Ole Miss job and Carolina went on to win its second straight NIT title with wins over Louisville and Michigan.
Neither team has a player from the others home state, but one player has played for the other's head coach. After scoring 12.3 ppg and 4.1 apg at UC during his freshman campaign, Big East Freshman Team of the Year member and Chester, S.C. native Devan Downey transferred to South Carolina and is currently starring for the Gamecocks.
Downey was asked what kind of emotions he is he feeling "It's just like another game really," said Downey.
"He knows what I am capable of. I'm not going to try and go out and show him what I can do anymore than he is going to go out and show me how he can coach. It's not me versus my old coach - it's South Carolina vs. the Ole Miss Rebels and we are trying to get a win."
Coach Odom spoke on Thursday's teleconference and the following are a few comments.
"Ole Miss - no one has lost heavier than Andy Kennedy entering this season. They have always been a tough out to Oxford. They had their way with Vanderbilt on Wednesday night. Our game will be a war. We have been able to get into every game, except Tennessee. We don't catch up well in SEC games so we'll have to get started early, but they do so many things well.
"This league has so many great freshmen and Chris Warren is one of them. (With Devan Downey and Chris) it'll be speed on speed and rubber on rubber. It'll be burn baby burn whenever those two go at each other."
(on Downey playing against former coach): "It'll be an emotional build-up for Devan. He'll want to put in that extra effort, which he already does.
"I know he has a deep respect for Andy as a coach and as a friend. I have never discouraged that. Part of the reason he is playing so well this season is because of the experience he had at Cincinnati with Andy his freshman year. He was able to lead early."
South Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Devan Downey (19.6), Zam Fredrick (16.3) and Dominique Archie (10.6). Downey leads the team with 5.1 apg and 3.4 spg. Sam Muldrow leads with 1.8 bpg. Archie leads the team with 6.4 rpg and Mike Holmes is second at 4.9 rpg.
For the season Downey has a team-high 30 points vs. Penn State on Nov. 22 and Holmes had a team-high 16 rebounds vs. N.C. State on Nov. 23. Archie has two double-doubles this season (Jan. 2 vs. Radford, Jan. 23 vs. Florida) and Downey has one (Nov. 12 vs. The Citadel). Career-wise, Archie has three, Downey has two career double-doubles and Fredrick has one dating back to his days at Georgia Tech (vs. Michigan State).
USC is 5-1 when scoring 80+ with a high water mark of 103 points vs. The Citadel on Nov. 12. On the flip side, USC is 1-5 when the opponent scores 80+.
Got the first one finally
Carolina got a leg up on SEC rival Georgia Wednesday with its 62-56 win (notes follow). It could mean good things are coming Feb. 13 for the Gamecocks if history repeats itself based on the past five years when the Gamecocks visit Athens. The annual two-game series has been swept the last five years. Since USC joined the SEC in 1991, the two teams have racked up eight series sweeps: UGA in 1994, 2003, 2006 and 2007 and USC in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005.
A few notes from the game include:
* Archie scored in double figures for the 12th time this season and it was his 10th time in the last 11 games. Archie has at least 4 in every game this season. He has 6 or more rebounds in 11 games this season and 8 or more in 6 games.
* Fredrick, who scored 23 points in the contest, has scored in double figures in 18 of 20 games this season (including eight straight). He has 20+ in 6 games.
* Dwayne Day came into the game averaging 3.1 rebounds per game and grabbed 7 rebounds tonight against the Bulldogs.
* Evka Baniulis grabbed 5 rebounds against the Bulldogs and has 12 in the last two games. (career high 7 vs. UK)
* Devan Downey failed to score in double figures for the first time this season. His streak of 20 or more points ended at 5 straight games.
* Carolina is fifth in 3 point defense and saw Georgia shoot just 14.8% from beyond the three point line (4-27), including Billy Humphrey who shot 1-12, making the first three in the last minute of the game.
Chester native Devan Downey sat the bench last year as a transfer from Cincinnati, where he made the All Big-East Freshman team, and watched All-SEC first-teamer Tre' Kelley lead the league in scoring, playing against Kelley on the scout team all season. Downey credits Kelley often for helping him improve his overall game.
Prior to the 2007-08 season, Rivals.com named Downey the top impact transfer in the country. He was recently named a Cousy Award finalist. Point blank, Downey is living up to his billing. He leads the nation with 3.4 spg for the second week. Downey picked five pockets at Vandy, six at Arkansas, four vs. Florida and three at Kentucky. The single season school record is held by Chuck Eidson (2.91 spg in 2000). Eidson is also No. 2 on the individual season list with 2.46 in 2002.
Eidson holds the career school record with 272 steals for an average of 2.42 spg from 2000-03. Closest to Eidson for the school record during a career: Barry Manning averaged 1.84 spg from 1988-92. Downey is averaging 2.42 spg in his career after averaging 1.91 spg his freshman campaign at Cincinnati.
Downey is second in the SEC in scoring both in SEC games and overall. Downey has started and had scored double figures every game this season until the Georgia game (9 points). He has scored 20+ in nine games, including the first five SEC games this season - a first time feat for a Gamecock in the SEC. He is playing the second most minutes in the SEC and is third in assists.
Wondering where all of S.C.'s Mr. Basketball's are playing college ball? Look no further than the university. Zam Fredrick was Mr. Basketball in 2004, Devan Downey was Mr. Basketball in 2005 and Mike Holmes was Mr. Basketball in 2007. Mr. Basketball 2003, Brandon Wallace (at USC from 2003-07), broke USC's career blocks record and games played record before moving onto the NBA's Boston Celtics this year.
A few more stats
Carolina has scored 40+ first half points in five home games this season. (SC State, The Citadel, Campbell, Baylor, Radford). Last year USC scored 40+ in only eight halves total. USC also scored 52 in the second half of the C of C game.
The Gamecocks have at least 5 steals in 19 of 20 games this season. After 20 games last season, the Gamecocks had 5+ steals in just seven games.
In eight of its games, USC has finished with 9+ steals per game. During its season-high 15 steals vs. The Citadel, Devan Downey lead the charge with a season-high six steals. Raley-Ross added two and Sam Muldrow, Zam Fredrick, Chad Gray, Branden Conrad, Rob Wilder, Dwayne Day and Mike Holmes each picked up a theft.
Sam Muldrow, the cousin of former All-SEC Gamecock forward Carlos Powell, leads the team with 1.8 bpg. He blocked six shots vs. Tennessee on Jan. 12 which topped his five blocked shots vs. Campbell on Nov. 28. It was the most for a freshman since Renaldo Balkman blocked five shots on Feb. 11, 2004 vs. Mississippi State. He followed up that performance with 4 blocks at Clemson.
The Gamecocks have forced double-digit turnovers against every opponent this season except two (9, Southern California and Florida). Penn State let the ball fall into Gamecock hands a season-high 21 times, Campbell turned it over 20 times, Arkansas fumbled it 19 times and Radford turned it over 18 times. Opponents are turning the ball over an average of 14.7 times a game with USC is averaging 11.2 turnovers a game. USC has turned the ball over 10 times or fewer in 10 games, including the last two (9 in both).
The Gamecocks are scoring more than 11 ppg more than they were last year at this same time. USC is averaging 74.7 ppg and have hit 74+ points in nine games this year. After 17 games last year USC was averaging 63.5 ppg.
Carolina is holding opponents to just 32% from three-point range on the year, including Georgia, who shot 4-27 from beyond the arc (14.8%), The Citadel who shot 3-29 from beyond the arc (10.3%) and Penn State who went 4-25 for a 16% showing. Likewise USC is hitting almost 40% of its 3 point attempts with Brandis Raley-Ross leading the charge in the SEC at 60% by averaging 1.7 threes per game.
The Gamecocks played four games at two neutral sites this season (three in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic and one in Philadelphia at the Pizza Hut Big East-SEC Challenge). It is the most USC has played on a neutral court early in the season since it played four of its first 7 regular season games in 1998-99 (two in Indianapolis and two in Charlotte).
The Gamecocks have made at least one 3-pointer in 188 consecutive games since they went 0-19 vs. Mississippi State on March 2, 2002 - a 64-57 loss. They have also had at least one block in 106 consecutive games since they went block-less on Jan. 15, 2005 in a 66-63 win vs. Tennessee.
NCAA, SEC Leaders
Brandis Raley-Ross has one of the highest three point percentage in the country, but needs 2.6 3s per game to be the nation's leader and he currently has 1.8 3pg so he is not ranked. He leads the SEC at 60% from beyond the arc.
As a team in the NCAA's top 50 team statistics rankings (NCAA, Jan. 28), USC is No. 8 in turnovers per game; No. 17 in three-point field goal percentage; No. 30 in assist turnover ratio; and No. 48 in personal fouls per game, No. 41 in threes per game.
Carolina is showing up in a number of SEC statistical categories as well (Thurs., Jan. 31). The following are a few:
* USC leads the SEC in turnover margin (+2.50) in SEC games and the Gamecocks are second in three point field goals made (8.3) against SEC foes.
* The Gamecocks are No. 2 in the SEC in three point field goal % at 39.7% and No. 2 as well in turnover margin (+3.20). USC is No. 4 in 3 point field goals made (8.1) and No. 4 free throw percentage at 71.1%.
* Raley-Ross hit 6 of 7 3's vs. Campbell for a league-best 86% 3 point shooting % (single game). He leads the SEC in three point field goal % at 60%.
* Downey leads the SEC in steals and is second in ppg in SEC and overall games. He is also second in mpg, third in assists and No. 7 in free throw %.
* Zam Fredrick is third at 35.6 mpg, 10th with 15.9 ppg, fifth in 3 point % at 39% and seventh in 3's made (2.5).