Freshman makes defensive stand


Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Billy Donovan concocted an unexpected strategy to slow down South Carolina's Tre' Kelley Saturday — stick a rarely-used freshman guard on the Gamecocks' leading scorer.

It seemed to be the right move. Gators freshman Brandon Powell played seven second-half minutes Saturday guarding Kelley. Powell helped hold Kelley to four second-half points after he burned the Gators for 20 points in the first half.

"I said, 'I'm going to put you in the game I want you to pressure him, deny him,' " Donovan said. "Tre' went around him a couple times, which he is going

to do. But I think another body on him was important."

Donovan used three players on Kelley — Lee Humphrey, Corey Brewer and Powell. Kelley logged 39 minutes and South Carolina coach Dave Odom admitted Kelley was fatigued in the second half.

Donovan, though, wasn't shocked by Powell's effort.

"We get that defense out of Brandon every day in practice," Donovan said.

Powell also added two points on a driving lay-up midway through the second half. Donovan said Powell's biggest weakness at the moment is his offensive awareness.

"One thing Brandon is trying to learn is the game offensively," Donovan said. "He's a guy that has relied on his talent. He's got to learn to play with other people on the offensive side of the floor."

Powell's seven minutes were the most since he played 19 minutes against Southern on Nov. 28.

GAMECOCKS BANGED UP

South Carolina played with several injured players Saturday.

Senior center Brandon Wallace played with a bruised left knee, starting forward Dominique Archie sprained an ankle in the Gamecocks' Jan. 10 loss at Georgia while Chad Gray was limited to just seven minutes with turf toe.

"I think Dave's team is banged up right now," Donovan said. "Their kids really played hard."

Kelley, meanwhile, is still recovering from a sprained left ankle suffered earlier this year.

SPURRIER, NOAH IN STANDSSteve Spurrier and Yannick Noah were among the 13,828 fans in attendance at the Colonial Center Saturday. Spurrier sat in the last row of the lower level behind the basket and was flanked by a state trooper. ... Florida hit 7-of-11 free throw attempts after shooting just 53 percent from the line in its previous three games. ... Al Horford tied his season high with five assists.

Contact Brandon Zimmerman at 374-5051 or zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

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