Men's Basketball

South Carolina Travels to Philadelphia to Play Providence in the Pizza Hut SEC-Big East Challenge

Dec. 5, 2007

South Carolina travels to Philadelphia to play Providence in the Pizza Hut SEC-Big East Challenge
The Gamecocks, celebrating 100 seasons of Gamecock basketball this season, travel to the snowy City of Brotherly Love on Thurs., Dec. 6 (7 pm on ESPN2) to play Providence in the Pizza Hut SEC-Big East Challenge at the home of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Wachovia Center. LSU will play No. 21 Villanova in the nightcap (9 pm on ESPN).

The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Dave Pasch and Bill Raftery making the call. The USC-PC game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). In addition, it can be picked up via the internet at

South Carolina is 4-4 after falling to rival Clemson on Sat., Dec. 1 85-74 after defeating Campbell 92-52 on Wed., Nov. 28. While both teams shot exactly the same from the field (30-66) and had 12 turnovers each, the Tigers went 19-23 from the free throw line to Carolina's own 9-16. CU also won the battle of the boards 42-36.

Providence is 5-2. They defeated Boston College 98-89 in overtime on Sat., Dec. 1 and then fell 77-60 at their in-state rival Rhode Island. In the loss to the Rams, the Friars were led by Jonathon McKale who scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Odom on Gamecocks
USC head coach Dave Odom met with the media on Wednesday afternoon and made the following comments:

"We have made a huge emphasis on defense the past few days. Our defense has played less than average for sure. We don't have a real stopper on defense. Dwayne Day has taken a baby step towards becoming that. As a senior he needs to step forward. After three years he can't shoot himself into the line-up. Dominique Archie is playing very well. Offensively we are not getting enough points out of him. We need to make more openings for him on the break.


"The offense has improved. On defense it's a matter that we are giving up too many baskets.

"Providence is another in a long line of experienced teams that we will play. They have four starters returning and a really good bench. They have shot the ball really well and make threes. They are a very grizzly city like team - they are tough and this will be a real challenge.

"This is a real honor for us to play in the SEC-Big East Challenge. It's a difficult time for us, but one that I look forward to."

"It's not too early to demand more of ourselves. It's not too early to say we won't make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. I've told the team 'don't out-think yourself'. Just play and get tougher on defense. We have to get tougher on the things people don't pay money to see (defense).

Members of the Big East Conference and posting an 18-13 record last season, Providence is led by 10th year head coach Tim Welsh (150-129 at PC). Providence lost to Bradley in the first round of the NIT last season (98-78) after posting an 8-8 record in the Big East, finishing 10th.

Returning four starters this year, the Friars feature five players averaging double figures in Brian McKenzie (12.7), Weyinmi Efejuku (12.0), Dwain Williams (11.9), Jeff Xavier (11.7) and Geoffery McDermott (10.1). McDermott also leads them on the boards with 6.9 rpg.

Early on Providence played in the O'Reilly ESPNU Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic in San Juan and defeated Temple (66-64) and then-No. 18 Arkansas 67-51 before falling in the title game to Miami (64-58).

USC is 2-4 vs. Providence all-time with its last meeting on Dec. 3, 2001 - a 67-48 Gamecock victory. USC is 71-85 vs. the Big East Conference all-time with its last game a 78-63 victory over Louisville to advance to the NIT Championship on March 28, 2006. South Carolina went onto defeat Michigan to win its second straight NIT title (2005 and 2006).

Leading the Way
Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Devan Downey (18.1), Zam Fredrick (16.9) and Brandis Raley-Ross (10.4).

Mike Holmes leads the charge on the boards grabbing 7.3 rpg including a career-high 16 vs. NCSU. Sam Muldrow is next on the list with 6.1 rpg and Archie is third with 5.4 rpg.

Downey leads the team with 4.8 apg and 3.3 spg. Muldrow leads the crew with 2.1 bpg, including his five block performance vs. Campbell.

Quickly Catching You Up
The Gamecocks are 4-4 after their first eight games of the season. Carolina defeated South Carolina State, The Citadel, Penn State and Campbell while dropping games against Southern California, N.C. State, George Mason and No. 18 Clemson most recently. Carolina dropped the game to the Trojans by 10 points and came up short against NC State (two points) and George Mason (one point).

Southern California, N.C. State, George Mason, Clemson were a combined 23-6 prior to Tues., Dec. 4 games. Over Thanksgiving weekend, N.C. State defeated No. 19 Villanova to win the Old Spice Classic and the Trojans crushed No. 18 Southern Illinois to win the Anaheim Classic.

Their Starters
Carolina's Dominique Archie started every game last season for the Gamecocks (30). While Brandis Raley-Ross started the last seven games, he only started 13 games last year and Dwayne Day (13) and Evka Baniulis (9) started about a third of the games as well.

Four of South Carolina's last five opponents, including Providence return a bevy of starters. George Mason returned five starters. Providence, Clemson, Penn State and North Carolina State returned four starters. After Providence the teams don't come in with diapers on either: Baylor (Dec. 19) returns all five starters and UC Irvine (Dec. 28) returns four.

Think Zam Fredrick and Devan Downey couldn't wait to play ball for the Gamecocks after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules? Both have scored double-figures in each of the nine games this season with both also posting career highs at least once in the early going.

Downey scored double figures in nine straight his freshman year at Cincinnati: from Memphis to North Carolina A&T in 2005-06. Downey tied his previous career-high of 24 vs. South Carolina State and then broke the career-high with 30 points vs. Penn State at the Old Spice Tournament. Downey shot 2+ 3 pointers just four times for the Bearcats his freshman year. Just eight games into the season, Downey has 2+ 3s in four games this season, including a career-high four vs. Penn State. Last week he said the most improved part of his game this year was his jumper.

Fredrick posted a career-high 24 points vs. George Mason and then followed up a week later with a new career-high of 28 at Clemson. The most double figures games in a row for Fredrick while with the Yellow Jackets: five straight (Florida State to Duke in 2006).

Armed and Ready
South Carolina's roster features a number of players ranging from 6-5 - 6-9. Mitchell Carter, the tallest player on the team at 6' 11, and Sam Muldrow (6' 9) lead the team with arm span's seven inches longer than their bodies. The following are taller players arm spans (measured from finger tip to finger tip).

NameHeightArm SpanInches Longer than the Body
Mitchell Carter6'117'67
Sam Muldrow6'97'47
Dominique Archie6'76' 115
Chad Gray6'76'115
Dwyane Day6'56'94
Trevor Deloach6'36'74
Mike Holmes6'76'114
Austin Steed6'86'113
Evka Baniulis6'76'92

Zam and Zam
Clemson SID Tim Bourret passed on the following note after the South Carolina-Clemson game Saturday.

"Zam Frederick made 12-20 field goals and scored 28 points in 36 minutes against the Tigers Sat., Dec. 1. Former USC All-American and father, Zam Fredrick, Sr., made 12-23 field goals against Clemson. Zam, Sr., scored 35 points against the Tigers on Feb. 8, 1981. Father and son both scored 12 field goals in Littlejohn. It has to be the first father and son combination to score at least 28 points against Clemson in Littlejohn. The father was also 11-11 from the line in 39 minutes."

Zam Sr. led the nation in scoring with 28.9 ppg in 1981.

Brandon Who?
Dominique Archie told the media recently that Brandon Wallace's school-record 249 blocked shots might be jeopardy if Sam Muldrow plays four years for the Gamecocks. While that is quite a stretch eight games into the Florence native's freshman campaign, he is making his shot-blocking abilities known. Muldrow, the cousin of former All-SEC Gamecock forward Carlos Powell, leads the team with 2.1 bpg. He blocked five shots vs. Campbell on Nov. 28. It's 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.

Tops in the SEC
Carolina is leading the SEC in a number of statistical categories as of Tues., Dec. 4. The following are a few:

  • Brandis Raley-Ross hit 6 of 7 3's vs. Campbell for a league-best 86% 3 point shooting % (single game)and leads the SEC in three point field goal % at 68% (19 of 28). He is No. 8 at 2.4 3s pg.
  • Devan Downey is one of three SEC players to post 11 assists in a game (Downey's came vs. The Citadel). Downey is third with 34.3 mpg and Zam Fredrick is tied for fourth at 34 mpg.
  • Downey second in the SEC with 3.3 steals per game and is sixth in the SEC with 18.1 ppg. Downey is fourth in assists at 4.8 apg.
  • Zam Fredrick is eighth in scoring with 16.9 ppg.
  • Carolina is third in the SEC with 8.8 3's per game and leads the league by making 46% of its 3 point attempts (70 of 154). The Gamecocks are second in 3 point FG defense (27%) and third with 14.5 orpg.
  • Mike Holmes is second in the league in offensive rebounds with 3.4 orpg and is third among SEC freshmen and 10th in the league with 7.3 rpg. Holmes is ninth among SEC freshmen with 9.4 ppg.
  • Sam Muldrow is second among all SEC freshmen with 2.1 bpg. and fourth among first year collegiates with 6.1 rpg.

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