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December 29, 2010JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS (2-11)
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (7-3)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia
TV: Fox Sports Carolinas
Tickets: Available at the box office
Jacksonville State's probable starters: G Dominique Shellman 6-1 Jr. (9.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg); G Brice Jenkins 6-3 Fr. (10.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Jeremy Bynum 6-3 Sr. (10.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg); F Stephen Hall 6-6 Jr. (12.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg); F Nick Murphy 6-4 Sr. (15.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
South Carolina's probable starters: G Bruce Ellington 5-9 Fr. (14.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg); G Brian Richardson 6-4 Fr. (8.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg); F Lakeem Jackson 6-5 So. (9.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg); F Malik Cooke 6-6 Jr. (9.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg); C Sam Muldrow 6-9 Sr. (9.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
Notes: South Carolina returns from the holiday break and a drudging loss at Furman to play the first of four straight home games, including the SEC opener. ... A rematch of the team that was Darrin Horn's first win at USC, and also the team that gave James Green his first loss at Jacksonville State. ... The other Gamecocks have lost seven straight and 11 of 12. Their only wins are over West Alabama and South Dakota. ... USC has to try and rebound from a very disappointing loss at another Southern Conference opponent to beat what should be a pushover. ... The Gamecocks won't get another extensive break until after the Jan. 22 game hosting Kentucky. ... A matchup of the only two NCAA schools that use the nickname "Gamecocks."
Next game: South Carolina hosts Boston College at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
It happened, all right.
Darrin Horn spent what's supposed to be a joyful holiday remembering it.
Only one win away from being a surprising success going into the Christmas break, South Carolina went to Furman and was hammered by 16 points. The Paladins couldn't miss as the basket resembled an ocean, helped by the Gamecocks getting away from what they have to do to win.
"It was our greatest weakness in the Furman game," Horn told GamecockCentral.com on Tuesday. "We did not play as a team."
Getting back into the schedule, where another significant break (seven days) won't occur until after a game on Jan. 22, the time for improving over a few off days is gone. The Gamecocks have to start getting better during live action -- and they haven't been bad, except for the Furman loss -- and the first chance is tonight.
Perhaps it's good that the Gamecocks lost to the Paladins, since it presumably could keep them hungry and humble. They could need that against tonight's opponent, a weary Jacksonville State squad that is a mere 2-11 coming in.
Horn has heard the criticism for the Furman loss and agrees with it, to a point. He realizes that the extension of a dubious streak -- 0-for-4 against in-state teams on the road -- holds water but he's more upset that the Gamecocks lost a game.
"It's not acceptable to lose to anybody, period," Horn said. "It's never acceptable not to play good team basketball. We did not play South Carolina basketball."
No, they didn't.
USC got into five individuals doing what they could do, instead of trying to play together, which had led to strong wins against Western Kentucky, Wofford and Clemson. The extra pass wasn't thought of, the dependence on one scorer (Bruce Ellington) became prevalent, the Gamecocks quit picking each other up.
There were too many individuals, and not enough team. And as Horn has said since the season began, for this year's USC team to be successful, it has to be a team.
"We're going to be at our best when that happens," Horn said. "Everybody's got to do what they can do and the team's got to play well collectively. You go back and consider the games against good opponents that we have won, I don't know that we were perfect. But man, we played hard, and man, we covered up for each other, and man, we flew around, and man, the bench did come in and raise our level."
Jacksonville State -- the other Gamecocks -- is a wonderful chance to get better. JSU has not had a great season, USC is coming off a bad loss, the game is at home ...
Just got to go out and perform.
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