Saturday , Feb , 03 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Gamecocks come to Tuscaloosa seeking upset of Tide

Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) – Fresh off a dramatic win over a major
rival, the 19th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide hope to carry the momentum into
today’s SEC meeting with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

South Carolina carries a two-game winning streak into Wednesday’s clash with
Auburn, but that game ended in an 80-75 defeat. The Gamecocks are a
disappointing 2-5 in league play, overshadowing a solid 12-8 overall record.

Clearly, Alabama’s 3-4 conference mark greatly overshadows the strong 16-5
overall ledger, and the team has been among the nation’s most inconsistent
groups in recent weeks. On a positive note, the Tide did manage to halt a
two-game slide on Wednesday with a 73-70 triumph over LSU in Baton Rouge.
Keep in mind that ‘Bama is a stellar 10-1 at home this season, an
obvious reason for confidence heading into this clash.

Alabama owns a 19-9 advantage in the all-time series with South Carolina, but
the Gamecocks won the only meeting last season by a 67-56 final.

There is no question that South Carolina relies heavily on Tre’ Kelley to be
productive at the offensive end of the floor each time out. Kelley is scoring
16.9 ppg to go along with 4.8 apg, but he gets very little help from a rather
weak supporting cast. In fact, the only other double-digit scorer on the roster
is Brandon Wallace, as he is posting 10.6 ppg and 9.5 rpg. The Gamecocks are
only scoring 63.5 ppg on 42.2 percent shooting, including 32.6 percent accuracy
from three-point range. On Wednesday, South Carolina put forth an unusually
strong and balanced offensive effort against Auburn, as all five starters
reached double figures in scoring en route to 75 points. Evaldus Baniulis led
the way with a career-high 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, but the
Gamecocks permitted the Tigers to shoot a gaudy 57.1 percent from the field.

The fact that Alabama was able to shoot 51.9 percent from the floor at LSU on
Wednesday night speaks to the talent that exists on the roster. Jermareo
Davidson stole the show with 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field, and
he pulled down eight rebounds as well. Brandon Hollinger pitched in 13 points,
and Mykal Riley had 12 points off the bench. A 30-24 rebounding advantage
certainly helped the Tide, as did a 13-9 edge in points from the foul line.
Davidson is the leading scorer and rebounder for the club this season, as he is
posting 15.3 ppg and 8.8 rpg to go along with 52 blocked shots. Richard Hendrix
checks in with 14.5 ppg, and he is grabbing 8.6 rpg. Alonzo Gee (14.0 ppg) and
Riley (12.0 ppg) provide some balance to the mix for a team that has the
potential to reach the Final Four but can’t seem to put it all together.