USC's Day has big afternoon


Published: Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 29, 2005 at 10:16 p.m.
Enlarge |

Dwayne Day's second-half run for the visiting Gamecocks spelled trouble for the Gators.

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun
South Carolina coach Dave Odom has told Dwayne Day all season to be ready to come off the bench. The freshman forward, who had played just 29 career minutes, listened.
Called upon with one of his teammates benched and his team reeling Saturday, Day turned a would-be Gator romp into a close contest with a jaw-dropping scoring outburst.
The rarely used Day stunned Florida by scoring 14 points in a 2:49 stretch of the second half.
Day knocked down four 3-pointers and added a driving layup in nearly the amount of time allotted for a television timeout. He cut a 17-point Florida lead with 12:33 remaining to a 7-point Florida lead with 9:44 left.
And as each shot continued to fall, a once-raucous O'Connell Center crowd collectively gasped. A player no one had heard of was taking over the game.
"I was in a groove," Day said. But it didn't last. After hitting five straight shots, Day forced a few jumpers - including one air ball - and didn't score the remainder of the game. He missed his last three shots.
"I kind of got tired at the end," Day said.
Day, playing in just his second game in a month, found his way into the lineup because Odom decided at halftime to bench senior guard Josh Gonner. Gonner, the first player out of the Gamecocks' locker room after the game, would not comment and Odom called the situation a "coach's decision."
Nonetheless, Day seized a rare opportunity to showcase his skills. His teammates took notice.
"Dwayne stepped up today when Coach Odom gave him a chance," Gamecocks senior Carlos Powell said. "I saw a lot of people looking on their scouting report asking, 'Who is that?' It's Dwayne Day. He does that all the time in practice."
No one knew much of Day, however, because he had scored just 13 points in his collegiate career. He surpassed that in five possessions against Florida.
Odom had considered redshirting Day at the start of the season, but has since elected not to. Day was a heralded recruit at Montgomery High in Mt. Vernon, Ga., last year. He played on the No. 1 AAU team in the country last summer, a team that included Dwight Howard, the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by Orlando. Howard is also Day's cousin.
"He's going to be a great player for us in the years to come," Odom said. "But he's still got some deficiencies. Defensively, he's not where he needs to be."
Nevertheless, Day said Odom has told him all season to be ready to come in at any point.
"My number was called and I was ready," Day said.
You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or at zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top