ATLANTA - South Carolina's prowess from the 3-point line Wednesday wasn't just remarkable - it was historic.
Only one time in school history - 1989 against The Citadel, when USC went 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) - have the Gamecocks shot better as a team from 3-point range than they did Wednesday night when they shot 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) in the Gamecocks' 74-56 victory in the first round of the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome.
The 73.3 percent mark displaced the previous No. 2 of 70 percent, accomplished twice, first in 1989 against Virginia Tech (7-of-10) and again in 1996 against Davidson (7-of-10).
Speaking to the media after the game, Auburn coach Tony Barbee credited the Gamecocks' outside shooting as the difference in the game.
"Obviously the 3-point line was the big difference," Barbee said of the previous two games, Auburn wins, and Wednesday night's USC victory. "They only shot 40 percent (from the field) for the game, but the 3-point line was a big difference.
"They're not a particularly good 3-point shooting team outside of (Brent) Williams. (Duane) Notice stepped in there and obviously the four threes were big for their team to get the momentum. Give them credit, a team that hasn't shot the ball particularly well from three all year long makes 11 of them this game, and one of their poorer shooters (Notice, who was shooting 30 percent from 3-point range) goes four-for-four."
Auburn's Allen Payne said the scouting report on Notice showed no respect for his shooting.
"Our scouting report on him was that he was a driver," Payne said. "He got hot and made some tough shots from the perimeter and really led the charge for them offensively."
The best previous 3-point percentage at the SEC Tournament was .600 (3-for-5) against Ole Miss on March 13, 2003.
The highest mark against an SEC team was .647 (11-for-17) against Tennessee on Jan. 17, 2004.
IRONY AND AGONY: Besides South Carolina, the other school to recruit Notice hard was, in fact, Auburn. The Tigers wanted him as a point guard, however, whereas USC wanted him as a shooting guard. Notice has said the reason he chose South Carolina was so he wouldn't have to play the point - which is precisely where he has ended up with the losses USC has suffered at the position this year.
"Yeah, it's sort of ironic, but at the end of the day I have to come here and do whatever my coaches ask me to do," Notice said. "It felt good to get a win, especially against a team that beat us twice."
LITHUANIANS EXCEL: Both Mindaugas Kacinas and Laimonas Chatkevicius nearly recorded double-doubles Wednesday. Kacinas had 8 points and 10 rebounds, while Chatkevicius scored 11 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Their efforts led South Carolina to out-rebound Auburn 39-25.
BENCH DEPTH SHOWS: South Carolina's bench out-scored Auburn by a whopping 34-9 Wednesday.
"When we had to go deep in the bench early in the second half, I'm proud of those guys that came off the bench," Martin said. "Whether it was (Brian) Steele or Laimonas or whoever because of foul trouble, they had to play extended minutes in that second half. Their fight, their resolve, was real good."
A BAD NIGHT FOR SIR CHARLES: With former Auburn and NBA player and current analyst Charles Barkley in attendance for Wednesday's game, the loss must have been doubly difficult to take.
Not only did his Tigers end their season to a lower-ranked seed, Auburn's Chris Denson passed Barkley to move into 23rd-place on the school's all-time scoring list.
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks play No. 5 seed Arkansas at approximately 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised by SEC TV and ESPN3
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