South Carolina, one of the original 13 colonies, will travel to the 49th state, Alaska, for the first time in 15 years to play in the 28th annual Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. South Carolina's travels to Anchorage will take them almost 4,500 miles from coast to coast and then over parts of Canada.
The Gamecocks will begin play in the Shootout with a 10 pm (EST) game on Thanksgiving Day against host Alaska Anchorage. UAA is 4-1 on the young season. Because UAA is Division II, the game will not count towards USC's RPI, but it will count towards USC's overall record.
The USC-UAA game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 Eric Collins and Jimmy Dyke making the call. It is the second of at least 19 games USC will play on television during the regular season this year (see note on page six) and the first of five at least on national television.
The game will also be a carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst) making the call. About the Northerners
Alaska Anchorage is 4-1 on the young season with wins over Northland Baptist (twice), Bridgeport and No. 13 Nebraska-Omaha. Its only blemish was to Columbus State. The later three games were played at the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 11-13 where the Seawolves captured third place. It was the first win over a ranked opponent for UAA since it defeated No. 17 Montana State-Billings 93-91 on Fb. 6, 1997.
UAA is headed up by Rusty Osborne, who is in his second season at UAA. Prior to working the sidelines as a head coach at UAA, he was an assistant coach with the Seawolves for 13 years (11 years as chief assistant). With Osborne on the UAA staff, the Seawolves have claimed three conference titles and made five trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
If South Carolina defeats UAA, the Gamecocks will play the winner of the Monmouth/Southern Illinois game at Midnight (12 am, EST) on Friday, Nov. 25 on ESPN2 nationally. If USC falls to UAA, USC will play the loser of the Monmouth/Southern Illinois game at 4 pm (EST) on Friday. USC is 2-0 against SIU and would be facing Monmouth for the first time.
If USC wins its first two games, the Gamecocks would play for the Great Alaska Shootout Championship at 10:30 pm (EST) on ESPN2 on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Our last time?
This is Carolina's first appearance in the Great Alaska Shootout since 1990 (its only other appearance). USC went 2-1 that year. After defeating Nevada Reno 63-61 on Nov. 23, 1990, USC dropped a 65-59 game to eventual champion Virginia on Nov. 24. USC defeated host Alaska Anchorage 72-59 on Nov. 25 to capture the third place title.
His last time?
Dave Odom will never forget his first and only trip to the Great Alaska Shootout in 1993. Paired up with Alaska Anchorage to tip-off the Shootout, Odom's Wake Forest crew, which included future two-time NBA MVP Tim Duncan in his very first collegiate game, dropped a 70-68 game to the Seawolves. Down three starters that day, including two other future NBA players, Duncan was held scoreless with three rebounds and two blocks.
Wake recovered the next two days to defeat Hawaii 78-49 and Wisconsin-Green Bay 61-58 in overtime.
A few days ago ...
USC defeated MAC Western Division favorite Toledo 85-72 in its home opener on Sunday, Nov. 20. Behind a career-best 24 points for Tarence Kinsey, two other Gamecocks put up double-figures as well (Tre' Kelley, 15 and Renaldo Balkman, 11). Each has scored in double figures the first two games this season. Balkman led all with eight rebounds and Kelly led USC with five assists. After turning the ball over just eight times against Western Carolina, USC turned the ball over 19 times to UT's 15.
USC shot 65.4% and scored 50 points to UT's 29 in the first half with USC ahead by as many as 26 points. It looked like it might be a romp, but the Rockets had quite a bit to say about that thought in the second half when they pulled within four on a 21-6 run at the 4:22 mark (65-61 USC). USC went without a field goal from 15:40 to 6:42 to aid the Rockets cause.
Up 69-64, USC went on a 10-2 rally of its own, headed up by Antoine Tisby to put the game away. USC shot over 50% in its second straight game at 52.8%