UNC-Asheville Dampens Gamecocks NCAA Hopes

Brad CrawfordCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2017

In an already disappointing first half of the 2007-08 season, the University of South Carolina’s men’s basketball team is unofficially on life support following a stunning 61-58 home loss to UNC-Asheville on Jan. 5.

South Carolina’s (8-6) three-point upset loss all but ends any hopes of an NCAA tournament bid as the Gamecocks open their conference schedule Jan. 9 at undefeated Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs (11-3) came into Saturday’s matchup with South Carolina showing two-thirds of their losses coming to Tennessee and Virginia Tech, both formidable SEC and ACC conference contenders. UNC-Asheville travels to Chapel Hill Jan. 9 to play Roy Williams and his North Carolina Tar Heels.

UNC-Asheville scored the game’s final 10 points as South Carolina’s ineptitude on offense showed in the last four minutes with zero points and a couple of badly missed three-pointers.

Head coach Dave Odom’s days as the Gamecocks’ leading man could be numbered as South Carolina’s loss to UNC-Asheville marked the first time a mid-major squad has ever won in the Colonial Center, Columbia’s newest basketball arena that opened in 2002.

The former Wake Forest head coach now carries a 122-91 overall record in seven years with South Carolina, with the only NCAA tournament bid coming in the 2003-2004 season. The Gamecocks have won a pair of NIT championships during Odom’s tenure, but have managed just 36 SEC wins in seven years.  

Devan Downey, South Carolina’s transfer guard from the University of Cincinnati, has proved to be the Gamecocks’ lone bright spot this season leading the team with 18.6 points per game.