Friday , Mar , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Kinsey leads South Carolina to NIT title

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Tarence Kinsey led South Carolina with 21
points and six rebounds as the Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines,
76-64, at Madison Square Garden for the NIT Tournament championship.

Tre’ Kelley shot 4-of-7 from beyond-the-arc for 20 points and added seven
assists. Renaldo Balkman, who was named the tourney MVP, added 10 points, 11
boards, six blocked shots and four steals for the Gamecocks (23-15), who
became the first team to win back-to-back NIT titles since St. John’s in 1943
and 1944.

In two NIT games at MSG, Balkman totaled 33 points on 15-of-22 shooting, 19
rebounds, 10 blocks and five steals.

This was head coach Dave Odom’s 100th win at South Carolina and his third NIT
Tournament title (2000 with Wake Forest and 2005 with South Carolina).

“I only care about our team,” said Odom regarding the feeling about winning
the NIT. “I know our university is proud, I know our state is proud…I’ll go
to Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon and everybody is going to congratulate
me and they’ll be sincere about it.”

Daniel Horton posted 18 points and five assists and Chris Hunter and Brent
Petway each netted 12 for the Wolverines (22-11), who won the NIT title in

“Obviously we lost a championship game of a tournament that was very important
to us,” said Horton. “We came out, we played hard and I think we left it all
out on the court as far this being our last game. We came up short. Like I’ve
said everything doesn’t always go your way in life….It’s tough but we have
to move forward and keep getting better as a program.”

The Gamecocks jumped out to an early 10-2 lead behind five points from Kelley.
Michigan came back and converted a pair of layups, but South Carolina
responded with a 10-4 spurt, including four points apiece from Balkman and
Kinsey, to make the score 20-10.

The Wolverines countered with an 11-4 run, capped by Ron Coleman’s trey, to
pull within 24-21.

With the score 26-21, Balkman grabbed a defensive rebound and while swinging
his elbows to clear the paint he clipped Petway in the face. Petway reacted by
shoving Balkman and was called for an intentional foul.

South Carolina hit nine of their first 13 shots from the floor, and finished
the first half at 53 percent from the field and led 39-27 after 20 minutes of
play. Balkman was a force in the opening frame with eight points, seven
rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.

The Gamecocks reeled off a 23-9 burst, bridging the first and second halves,
and upped the score to 47-30. Kelly ended the streak with a pair of long
distance shots.

Michigan pulled within 12, 47-35, on a Horton three and Hunter’s dunk, but
South Carolina scored 11 of the next 16 points to extend the lead to 58-40
with 12:05 to play.

The Gamecocks didn’t convert another field goal for the next six minutes, but
the Wolverines couldn’t capitalize.

Kelley’s layup made the score 65-48 with almost six minutes on the clock, but
Michigan went on an 11-4 rally, showcased by Hunter’s three-pointer, to narrow
the gap to 69-59 with 2:03 remaining.

Moments later Petway’s dunk cut the deficit to nine, 71-62, but that was as
close as Michigan would get.

Game Notes

South Carolina shot 50 percent from the floor, including 7-of-19 from three-
point range, while Michigan connected on 47 percent of its shots…The
Wolverines scored 24 of their 27 first half points in the paint, and didn’t
hit a jump shot until almost 14 minutes into the game…The Gamecocks drained
11-of-18 from the charity stripe, while Michigan shot 3-of-8 from the
line…South Carolina was 14-14 before winning nine of its last 10 games.