March 30, 2005
USC will play St. Joseph's in the NIT Championship at 7 pm on ESPN2 on Thursday, March 31. It will be the second time in four years the Gamecocks have played for the NIT title, falling in 2002 to Memphis in the title game.
Odom, Martelli to ring the bell at the NY Stock Exhange on Thursday
We want 20
The Gamecocks are looking for victory #20 on the season. If the Gamecocks defeat St. Joe's on Thursday, the Gamecocks will have their third 20+ win season under Head Coach Dave Odom. The 20 wins would give the SEC seven teams with 20+ victories. The Gamecocks posted 23 wins in the 2003-04 season and 22 in the 2001-02 campaign. The 2001-02 campaign was USC's last appearance before this season in the NIT.
Gamecocks Presently + Home Court
Out of Columbia hasn't always been so good this year. On the road, the Gamecocks have one road win to nine losses. Six of the nine losses have been by 8 points or less, while four have been by four or less. Five of the teams were nationally ranked with the five being ranked in the Top 17.
USC has played three neutral site games this season and collected a 2-1 record (defeated East Carolina and Maryland; lost to Ole Miss at the SEC Tourney)
USC is 8-1 in its last nine NIT games.
This is Carolina's ninth trip to the NIT (see compete results below) and its 17th time in a post-season tournament since 1969 (9 NIT, 8 NCAA). It is USC's seventh appearance in post-season play since it joined the SEC in 1991-92.
USC last appeared in the NIT in the 2001-02 season where the Gamecocks finished as the runner-up to Memphis in the NIT Championship game. The Gamecocks are 13-8 overall in the NIT and have appeared in the following years: 1969, 1975, 1978, 1983, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005.
Not our first trip to Madison Square Garden
First Half Explosion
Mr. Tisby on the Boards
19 straight over; NIT Shooting
USC had gotten it right in the NIT - shooting almost 51 % in its first three games. USC shot 47.3% against Miami, then shot 45.9% in the win over UNLV and a sparkling 59.5 % in the win over Georgetown - its best shooting performance of the year. In the Maryland game, USC shot just 37.5% to Maryland's 41.5 %. Carolina shooting 37.5% was the third lowest percentage for the Gamecocks this season. USC shot 36% against East Carolina and 37% against Mississippi at the SEC Tournament. All three of those games were played on a neutral court. Carolina played ECU in Mobile, Ala at the GMAC Bowl Classic. The other two times Carolina shot under 40% was against Kansas (38.9%) and Clemson (39%) The Gamecocks are 2-3 when shooting under 40% from the field.
Leading in PPG, RPG
Powell is leading the team with 16.4 ppg and 6.5 rpg. He also led the team in those same categories last year. The last player to lead in these two categories in consecutive years was Jimmy Foster when he led the team three years in a row 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84. He is the only player to do it three consecutive years. Art Whisnant (1960-61 and 1961-62) and Joe Smith (1952-53 and 1953-54) are the only other players to accomplish that feat two straight years.
Powell has shot 50% or better in 22 of the 32 games this season and has led the team in scoring 22 times and rebounding 19 times. Powell had scored 10 or more points in 30 of 32 games this season (8 vs. Clemson, 9 vs. Vandy), but he has also been doing a good job of cleaning the boards for USC. The senior forward has totaled five or more rebounds in 24 of 32 games this season - including a 13 rebound performance vs. Florida and a 12 rebound performance vs. Maryland on Tuesday.
Better Shooting, More Turnovers
The Gamecocks committed only eight turnovers against the Crimson Tide, nine in the Ole Miss overtime win and seven against Miami in the first round NIT win. USC followed up the seven TO with just nine against Georgetown. The nine marked the sixth time this season that USC had less than 10 turnovers in a game. Carolina is 4-2 in those games (Appalachian State, at LSU, at Alabama, Ole Miss, Miami and Georgetown).
They shoot the 3
Putting some space between'em
Against Ole Miss on March 6, he scored 30 points - the first he has hit 30 in his career. He followed that up with 21 points against Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament and then 21 against Georgetown. It was his 11th time over 20 in his four-year career. He had the sixth double-double of his career when he collected 13 points and 10 rebounds at No. 2 Kansas, the seventh vs. SCSU two games later when he collected 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs and then his eighth career double-double vs. Auburn. Finally, he added his ninth double-double against Florida when he scored 17 points with 13 rebounds. The 13 rebounds were the most for Powell in an SEC game during his career. His 10th double-double came on Tuesday against Maryland when he scored 17 points and added 12 rebounds. Powell also has his eye on a number of USC top 10 career lists.
5 was good for Wallace
Twenty-four times this season he has blocked at least one shot in a game.
Wallace recorded five blocks against Maryland on Tuesday. The five blocks tied his career high that he posted against Appalachian State on 1-2-04, and Ole Miss on 3-6-05.
The Gamecocks as a team have 19 blocks in the four NIT games and Wallace has 10 of them. Wallace is now tied for 10th place in blocks in a season with Alex English who recorded 54 blocks in 1973. He is one block away from 9th place tying Ryan Stack with 55, and five away from Jeff Roulston who has 59. Mike Britain (1984) and Alex English (1975) registered 61 for sixth place.
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