South Carolina hosts Alabama in basketball on Sat., Feb. 16 at 7 pm
Feb. 15, 2008
USC, 11-12 and 3-6 in the SEC, returns home to host Alabama, 14-11 and 3-7 in the SEC, on Sat., Feb. 16 at 7 pm (FSN) when it will honor John Roche at halftime as a Gamecock Great as part of the continued 100 Years of Basketball Celebration.
The home team has won the last five times. Then-No. 19 Alabama won 64-61 on Feb. 3, 2007 in Tuscaloosa with Bryce Sheldon scoring 17 points and Tre' Kelley adding 14 points. Richard Hendrix stole the show for the Tide, scoring 14 points and gathering 15 rebounds. The Gamecocks posted a 67-56 win in Columbia on Feb. 14, 2006 on ESPN.
USC is 2-0 vs. the SEC Western Division this season. The Gamecocks won both of those games on hostile floors, defeating Arkansas 70-66 and winning for the first time in school history at Ole Miss, 80-77.
The South Carolina-Alabama game can be seen on FSN and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and will featured on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel No. 123. It can also be picked up via the internet at www.gamecocksonline.com.
John Roche, a two-time ACC Player of the Year and a three time All-American, will be honored as a Gamecock Great as part of Carolina's 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball celebration during the Alabama halftime.
Roche was an integral part of Gamecock Basketball, leading the team to its first ACC Championship in 1970, as well as being the third leading scorer in Carolina history with 1,910 career points, averaging 22.5 ppg, good for second all-time, over his three year tenure. He earned All-American honors each year he played with the Gamecocks and was the ACC Player of the Year twice. His #11 jersey is one of five Gamecock men's basketball jerseys retired.
After being honored at halftime, he will be available to sign autographs at the Delta Dental Stage on the main concourse of the Colonial Center.
Coach Odom spoke on the SEC teleconference Thursday and made the following comments:
"Alabama is another team that has extra size in the inside. Richard Hendrix has been the most productive big man in the league (fourth in scoring and leads league in rebounding). I have the upmost respect for him. With Ron Steele out, (Brandon) Hollinger has solidified their offense.
"We got behind early at Georgia (Wednesday night) and they controlled the game from the outset. We have a lot of work to do and we have to do a better job on the defensive end. I'm very worried about this game because they are similar to Georgia and I saw what they did to us on Wednesday night. Our team looked very tired inside. We just weren't able to endure the play inside. We didn't defend anybody. We just them go by. Alabama has subtly gained more confidence by playing good defense. Many times you gain more confidence by playing better defence rather than making shots. Alabama has gotten to that point and we have to watch for that Saturday night."
South Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Devan Downey (19.4), Zam Fredrick (15.9) and Dominique Archie (10.7). Downey leads the team with 5.3 apg and 3.3 spg. Sam Muldrow leads with 1.6 bpg and Archie has 1.0 bpg. Archie leads the team with 6.1 rpg and Mike Holmes is second at 4.3 rpg. Brandis Raley-Ross is hitting a team-high 57.1% of his three pointers (32-56) and Fredrick is knocking down a team-high 76.5% of his free throws (39-51).
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 (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.
USC is 6-1 when scoring 80+ with a high water mark of 103 points vs. The Citadel on Nov. 12. On the flip side, USC is 1-6 when the opponent scores 80+.
Starting with Dominique
Dominique Archie has started every game in his career - 53 straight - including 30 last season and 23 this year. He needs two more straight starts to match former All-SEC forward Marius Petravicius. 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 team's 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.
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 21 of 23 games this season. After 23 games last season, the Gamecocks had 5+ steals in just nine games. In nine of its games this season, 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 14.2 times a game with USC is averaging 11.0 turnovers a game. USC has turned the ball over 10 times or fewer in 12 games, including the last four of five games (9 at UK, vs. UGA and vs. Vandy; 10 at UGA; and 12 at Ole Miss).
The Gamecocks are scoring 10 ppg more than they were last year at this same time. USC is averaging 74.0 ppg and have hit 74+ points in 10 games this year. After 23 games last year USC was averaging 64.0 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 almost 40% of its 3 point attempts with Brandis Raley-Ross leading the charge in the SEC at 57.1%.
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 191 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 109 consecutive games since they went block-less on Jan. 15, 2005 in a 66-63 win vs. Tennessee.