Feb. 12, 2008
South Carolina, 11-10 and 3-5 in the SEC, travels to Georgia, 11-10 and 2-6 in the SEC, for the 90th meeting between the two schools in a 7:30 pm game on Wed. Feb. 13. The game will not be televised. South Carolina won the first meeting 62-56 on Jan. 30 behind Zam Fredrick's 23 points and Dominique Archie's own 13. It was the only game this season that Cousy finalist Devan Downey didn't hit double-figure points scoring nine points, but he added five assists.
The South Carolina-Georgia can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and will featured on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel No. 181 and XM Radio Channel No. 199. It can also be picked up via the internet at www.gamecocksonline.com.
USC returns home to host Alabama on Sat., Feb. 16 at 7 pm (FSN) when it will honor former two-time ACC Player of the Year John Roche at halftime as a Gamecock Great as part of the continued 100 Years of Basketball Celebration.
South Carolina lost a heartbreaker on a last second lay-up by Vanderbilt's Jermaine Beal on Sat., Feb. 9 when the No. 20 Commodores got out of Columbia with a 66-65 win. There were 10 lead changes in the last 12:22 of the game with no team leading by more than 3 points. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, with Evka Baniulis leading the team with 19 points, followed by Zam Fredrick (13), Devan Downey (10) and Dwayne Day (10). Day was one rebound short of his first career double-double.
The Bulldogs, who have lost five straight SEC contests after winning two in a row, fell at then-No. 22 Florida, 77-67 on Saturday. Georgia was led by senior guard Sundiata Gaines who scored 32 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the loss. Georgia is 1-6 on the road this year, but 10-2 at home including 2-2 in the SEC at home (defeated Alabama and Arkansas; lost to Kentucky and Vandy).
Got the first one
USC is hoping the trend that developed with UGA five years ago will continue into a sixth year. The season series between Georgia and South Carolina has been swept each of the last five seasons. South Carolina won the first meeting on Jan. 30 between the two teams, 62-56, behind Zam Fredrick's 23 points.
South Carolina has three players from Georgia: Dominique Archie (Augusta), Austin Steed (Hephzibah) and Dwayne Day (Mt. Vernon). On the flipside Georgia has five players from their home state, but no players from the Palmetto State.
Dave Odom is 5-8 against Georgia since coming to South Carolina and 6-9 versus Georgia all-time (1-1 while at Wake Forest). He has a career record of 5-4 against current Georgia head coach Dennis Felton. Felton was an assistant coach at Clemson under Rick Barnes from the 1994-95 season through 1997-98. The Tigers went 4-0 against South Carolina during that time when Odom was still at Wake Forest and Eddie Fogler was at the USC helm.
Since joining the SEC, the two teams have seen 8 series sweeps: UGA in 1994, 2003, 2006 and 2007; USC in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005. USC has played more games against the Bulldogs than any other SEC opponent - 89. A few things about the rivalry:
First Meeting: Feb. 4, 1922 (27-36 in Columbia)
Last Meeting: Jan. 30, 2008 (62-56 in Columbia)
Coach Odom spoke on the SEC teleconference Monday and said:
"We usually play close hard fought basketball games and we are both coming off losses this weekend. Right now our biggest opponent is ourselves after the loss to Vanderbilt. I was very very disappointed with the loss to Vanderbilt. As usual with this series, both teams always play close and down to the wire. We played well enough against Vanderbilt to win and it came down to one possession and with a measure of displeasure I say we didn't stop them."
"Georgia comes back to Athens looking for a win. Their team reminds me of our team last year as they have one primary playmaker and scorer - Sundiata Gaines (like Tre' Kelley last year for USC). He is the best defensive guard in our league. Georgia's defense has always been sound and I expect Dennis Felton will have his team ready."
Devan Downey has flirted with 20.0 ppg the last couple weeks. If he would end the season averaging 20.0+ ppg, he would be the first Gamecock to do so since Zam Fredrick led the nation in scoring with 28.9 ppg in 1980-81. In 100 years of basketball, USC has only had 14 players average more than 20+ ppg during a season.
Excluding the Tennessee game, the Gamecocks have played seven SEC contests that were decided by a total of 31 points for an average of 4.4 ppg between the winner and the loser. In the four SEC losses (not counting UT), Carolina lost by four and half points or less, with the games being decided by a total of 18 points. In the three SEC wins, the Gamecocks won by 6 points or less.
Overall, USC has played in 15 games this season that have been decided by 8 points or less including 9 that have been decided by 3 points or less. The Gamecocks are 7-8 in the 15 games and are 4-5 in the games decided by 3 points or less. In fact, USC has lost 4 games by 6 points total -- for an average of 1.5 ppg (lost to NC State by 2, lost to George Mason by 1, lost to Florida by 2 and lost to Vanderbilt by 1).
South Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Devan Downey (19.4), Zam Fredrick (16.0) and Dominique Archie (10.8). Downey leads the team with 5.3 apg and 3.3 spg. Sam Muldrow leads with 1.6 bpg. Archie leads the team with 6.2 rpg and Mike Holmes is second at 4.6 rpg. Brandis Raley-Ross is hitting a team-high 60.4% of his three pointers (32-53) and Fredrick is knocking down a team-high 76.6% of his free throws (39-51).
A look back at Vanderbilt
Don't mind the Gamecocks if they don't want to talk much about the one point loss to No. 20 Vanderbilt on Saturday. It was USC's fourth loss in the SEC by less than eight points and it would have been USC's first win over back-to-back top 25 teams in consecutive games since it joined the SEC. The following are a few notes:
The Gamecocks used the same starting lineup for the fourth consecutive game and the fifth time in the last six games.
Carolina has forced every opponent this season except for Southern California and Florida to double digit turnovers and those two had 9 each.
Dwayne Day recorded a career-high nine rebounds. His previous career high was eight against Tennessee on Jan. 12, 2008 and at Ole Miss on Feb. 2, 2008. He has 7+ rebounds in each of the last 3 games. Day scored double figures for the fourth time this season and the 20th time in his career. The last time he scored in double figures: at Vanderbilt on Jan. 9, 2008. Day hit 2 three-point baskets and it was his first game to hit 2 or more three's since hitting 2 against Arkansas on Jan. 16, 2008. He has six games this season with 2+ three-point baskets.
Zam Fredrick scored in double figures for the 20th time this season and has 10+ in 10 straight games.
Devan Downey scored all 10 of his points in the second half. He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season (9 vs. Georgia on Jan. 30, 2008). His previous season low in the first half was 2 points against Georgia on Jan. 30, 2008. His first points in the game were scored with 11: 54 remaining in the game. Downey dished seven assists against Vanderbilt. He has 7+ assists in 3 of the last 4 games.
Evka Baniulis scored a season high 19 points. It marked the second time this season and the sixth time of his career to score in double figures. He scored 12 against Kentucky on Jan. 26, 2008. He is 8-10 in the last two games from beyond the arc. (5-5 against Vandy and 3-5 at Ole Miss) The 5 three-pointers tied his career high of 5 three point baskets.
The Gamecocks have shot 50% or better from the field in six games this season. In those six games, the Gamecocks are 5-1. Even more impressive is that the Gamecocks have hit 50% or better from beyond the arc in 5 of those 6 games. Carolina hit 50% or better from three point land in 6 games this season. When USC hits 50% or better from downtown they are 5-1. The Gamecocks have eight games this season where they have hit 10 or more threes in a game and are 5-3.
The Gamecocks are making 40% of their shots beyond the arc this season (182-455). If the season were to end today, that would be the second highest total in Carolina history. The Gamecocks hit 44.1% (90-204) in 1989 in 30 games and currently second all-time is 38.3% (57-149) in 1987 in 29 games.
Brandis Raley-Ross is making 60.4% of his three-point attempts (32-53) and is leading the SEC with that number. If the season ended today, Raley-Ross would break the school record 11.5% (Brent Price, 68 of 139 for 48.9% in 1989).
Zam Fredrick, at 39.4% beyond the arc (52-132), would finish 10th for a season with his marks this season.
Carolina is 7-3 when they shoot 45% or better from the field and they are 4-8 when shooting under that mark. The Gamecocks have always been one of the SEC's best in terms of not turning the ball over under Head Coach Dave Odom. This season when the Gamecocks have more assists than turnovers they are 9-5 but 2-6 when committing more turnovers than assists. USC has forced every opponent but two (Southern California and Florida) to double-digit turnovers.
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 20 of 22 games this season. After 22 games last season, the Gamecocks had 5+ steals in just eight 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 1.6 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 14.1 times a game with USC is averaging 11.0 turnovers a game. USC has turned the ball over 10 times or fewer in 11 games, including the last three of the last four (9 at UK, vs. UGA and vs. Vandy; 12 at Ole Miss).
The Gamecocks are scoring 10 ppg more than they were last year at this same time. USC is averaging 74.5 ppg and have hit 74+ points in 10 games this year. After 22 games last year USC was averaging 64.5 ppg.
Carolina is holding opponents to just 33% 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. Last season opponents averaged 35% from the three point line. Likewise USC is hitting better than 40% of its 3 point attempts with Brandis Raley-Ross leading the charge in the SEC at 60.4% by averaging 1.6 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 190 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 108 consecutive games since they went block-less on Jan. 15, 2005 in a 66-63 win vs. Tennessee.
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 1.6 3pg so he is not ranked. He leads the SEC at 60.4% from beyond the arc.
As a team in the NCAA's top 50 team statistics rankings (NCAA, Mon., Feb. 11). USC is No. 7 in turnovers per game; No. 20 in three-point field goal percentage; No. 29 in assist turnover ratio; No. 27 in personal fouls per game; and No. 46 in threes per game.
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