College Sports

Gamecocks mix looks in rout of 'Dogs

COLUMBIA -- The first game was all about unveiling several new faces.

The second was proving South Carolina's about much more than just speed basketball.

The Gamecocks improved to 2-0 Monday with a 103-42 thrashing of The Citadel, using the transition and quickness showcased in their season-opener last week only in spurts. USC opened with a half-court, deliberate offense and weathered an early rough patch to accomplish its desired goal -- a multi-look formation for the next opponent, Southern Cal, to scout.

Considering Dwayne Day and Mike Holmes were sitting early in the first half after foul trouble, the Gamecocks really had no choice but to try a different scheme. Not that it really mattered -- the way the Gamecocks were shooting, the hoop bore a striking resemblance to the Atlantic Ocean.

"At the end of the night, you've got to say our team played very well," coach Dave Odom said. "That's our best in a long, long time."

Chester native Devan Downey again led the Gamecocks (2-0), finishing one rebound shy of a triple-double and disrupting The Citadel's reliance on the 3-pointer. A team that drained 21 from long range in its season-opening dumping of Daniel Webster only hit three Monday, thanks in part to the pesky Downey hanging around the inbounds pass and forcing the Bulldogs to hurl rainbows across the court just to get the ball in play.

Downey ended with 11 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. He's the first Gamecock guard to hit a double-double since Chuck Eidson in 2002, and he also had six steals.

"I wasn't really going offensively, so I'm just showing flashes of the things I can do," Downey said. "I was trying to tell coach, 'Put me back in,' but he wouldn't do it."

Odom said the reason he held Downey off the accomplishment was he didn't want to embarrass The Citadel, plus the obvious reason.

"If I had put him back in and some sort of injury occurred, I never would have been able to forgive myself," Odom said.

Even when they got the ball in, the Bulldogs (1-1) couldn't do much with it. USC dominated the boards after being hammered versus S.C. State last week, and got the ball into the hands of Downey and Zam Fredrick.

The two guards led USC to a 26-14 advantage with 8:02 left in the first half, Day and Holmes reflecting on their foul trouble on the bench, and then shed the half-court. Chad Gray scored four quick points to kick-start a 20-8 run to end the half and the Gamecocks broke the doors off the locker room in the second, spurting to a 16-3 run and icing the game.

USC spent the rest of the night the same way it did against S.C. State -- seeing what everybody could do. Even walk-on Robert Wilder got his second career appearance in as many games, not bad for somebody who's used to keeping his warm-up on for weeks at a time.

"It's a great feeling," said Day, who finished with 10 points, one of six Gamecocks in double figures. "That's the most fun I've had since AAU."

USC had a 57-point lead with 1:05 to go and fans were chanting for the century mark, which would be the first for the program since 1996. Wilder dished to Branden Conrad, who drilled a 3-pointer with 25 seconds to go for the topper.

The 103 points were the most the Gamecocks have scored since a 112-61 drubbing of The Citadel in 1995. The 61-point margin tied the third-highest in school history, originally set in 1918.

Holmes didn't start because of what Odom said was a bruised heel, but checked in on the first substitution. He didn't stay for long, picking up two fouls and sitting the rest of the half.

It was a repeat of the freshman's performance in the season-opener and quite a change from the Gamecocks' exhibition win over Guilford, when he posted 19 points and 10 boards. Odom said it was nothing more than the usual case of freshmen getting used to college ball -- Holmes finished with 14 points -- and he wasn't concerned.

"Youth and inexperience," Odom said. "I thought he did very well in the second half."

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