USC wins Canadian Opener by 40 points

USC wins Canadian Opener by 40 points

OTTAWA, CANADA - Kicking off the season in Canada while most teams in the USA are preparing to host Midnight Madness Friday night, USC the season in fine fashion as USC upended Carleton University 75-35 in front of a standing-room only crowd. The Ravens are the two-time Canadian defending champions. USC will stay in Ottawa Friday, scrimmaging against Ottawa University in the morning before playing an 8 pm game against the Gee Gees ...

"We are certainly not going to be mislead by the final margin (a 40-point win). We understand that Carleton has a tournament here this weekend with games three straight days and so they didn't play their starters the last 10 minutes, but I think for an opening exhibition game on the road in front of a really good Carleton crowd I thought we played really really well. We were patient and aggressive on defense. Clearly we controlled the game defensively and it was difficult to score against us," said USC Head Coach Dave Odom. "Offensively, as you would expect this time of year, we are still a ways away but we should be better tomorrow night offensively. I was pleased we were able to get everyone in the game for some meaningful minutes and everyone played very well.

"Renaldo Balkman is more sure of himself and more confident this year. It's like he believes more in himself. He certainly gave us a big lift early," said Odom. "Defensively we controlled the game from beginning to end and I was very pleased with that. I think they are a good basketball team (CU), they know what to do because they have some good players. They missed some open shots early that I suspect they normally would get."

USC travels to Montreal Friday night after the OU game to play Concordia University on Saturday afternoon.

Switching the line-up for each of the three games in Canada, the first Gamecock line-up featured: Tre' Kelley (G), Rocky Trice (G), Tarence Kinsey (F), Antoine Tisby (F) and John Chappell (C).

USC was led by Renaldo Balkman, who scored 16 points with six rebounds. Other Carolina players in double figures included Tarence Kinsey (14) and Josh Gonner (13). Rocky Trice tied Balkman with six rebounds on the night. Kinsey also added a team-high three steals.

USC shot 50.8% from the field on the night, including 46.2% from beyond the arc. The Ravens shot 20% from the field and just 15.4% from the three-point line, turning the ball over 16 times to USC's eight TO's. USC also stole the ball 10 times to CU's three.

The two teams saw six lead changes in the first half before USC took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Tarence Kinsey with seven minutes to go. USC took a 31-22 lead into the lockerroom at halftime. The Ravens shot six straight free throws to end the first half but were ice cold from the field, not hitting a single basket after the 7:40 mark. USC was led Renaldo Balkman's nine points and five rebounds in the first half. Kelley, Kinsey and Josh Gonner each had six points, while USC shot 41.4 % to the Ravens 26.1%. USC also won the battle of the boards, collecting 21 rebounds to CU's nine in the first half.

The second half was all Gamecocks as the Ravens only scored buckets from the field at the 19:17 mark, the 16:51 mark and with 47 seconds left. They also added six free throws, shooting just 13 percent from the field in the second half. USC shot almost 59 percent in the second half.

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