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NIT CHAMPIONSHIP AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
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24-12, 12-3 Home

Kinsey's 3-pointer propels Gamecocks to first NIT title

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tarence Kinsey was a timeout away from being a
spectator instead of the hero.

Known more for defense, Kinsey hit a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds
left to lift South Carolina to a 60-57 victory Thursday night in
the NIT championship game.

After Pat Carroll tied it with a 3 for Saint Joseph's at the end
of a miserable night for the sharpshooter, Kinsey came up the floor
and nailed the winning jumper from the right elbow.

"I figured if I miss we're in OT," Kinsey said. "I didn't
want to pass because of the time so I said, 'Why not take the
shot?"'

He was only in the game to guard Carroll, who went 5-for-19 and
2-of-13 from 3-point range. Coach Dave Odom was about to call
timeout and get his shooter, Josh Gonner, back in the game.

But Odom didn't pull the trigger.

"I didn't want their defense to set for the last play. So I
swallowed my tongue, or whatever," Odom said. "The irony is, had
I called a timeout, I would have put Josh in and taken Tarence out
-- no question."

South Carolina was only the second team in the NIT to get to 60
points against the Hawks, who controlled the tempo with ball
control and good defense.

"I felt if we could hit 60 we would win," Odom said. "I
didn't know it would come on the last shot."

Kinsey let his winning shot go just 6 seconds after Carroll tied
it for the Hawks (24-12). But that was one of the few shots
Carroll, the Atlantic 10 co-player of the year, could get to go
down.

The Hawks started 3-6 in the follow-up season to their run to
the NCAA round of eight in 2004. But they turned it around and went
21-6 after Jan. 1.

Carroll's stellar career ended with a 15-point performance,
after averaging 20.6 in the Hawks' first five NIT games.

"You're going to have good nights and bad nights as a
basketball player. Tonight was definitely a bad night," Carroll
said. "The only thing I wanted to do as a player was have no
regrets.

"I am proud of the team because everybody gave everything
they've got and that's all you can ask for."

Carlos Powell scored a game-high 16 points and was chosen
tournament MVP, showing no problems with the right forearm strain
he sustained in the semifinal victory over Maryland on Tuesday. He
had 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in his final two games with
South Carolina.

South Carolina (20-13) reached 20 wins for the third time in
Odom's four seasons. The Gamecocks lost the 2002 NIT title game to
Memphis.

Odom improved to 16-3 in the NIT. He won also won it in 2000
with Wake Forest.

Tre' Kelley gave South Carolina a 50-49 lead with a layup at
2:20. His 3-point attempt less than a minute later rimmed out, but
Rocky Trice was fouled while grabbing the rebound and made both
free throws.

Dwayne Lee cut it to 52-51 with a driving layup with 1:02 left,
but Powell answered with a drive to push the lead back up to three
points.

Kinsey made two free throws to make it 56-51 with 27.4 seconds
remaining, 7 seconds before Chet Stachitas hit a 3-pointer to bring
the Hawks within two.

Trice went 1-for-2 from the line, giving the Hawks a chance to
tie with 19.6 seconds left.

Stachitas went up for a quick 3, but it was swatted out of
bounds by Brandon Wallace with 13.5 seconds on the clock. Carroll
got free after the inbounds and drilled the tying shot from in
front of his bench.

"Even though Pat's shot wasn't going like it usually is, I
always believed," fellow senior John Bryant said.

The crowd of 11,555 -- made up of mostly Saint Joseph's fans --
erupted only to have their cheers silenced seconds later by
Kinsey's only 3.

Saint Joseph's came out hot in the second half, hitting three 3s
in the first 3:13 after the break and grabbing a 40-34 lead. But
the Hawks only scored from the foul line for the next 10½ minutes.

Carroll, who missed his first five shots of the second half,
broke the drought with 6:26 remaining when his basket got the Hawks
even at 47.

Saint Joseph's got to the title game the hard way, starting in
the opening round and playing four times before reaching New York.
Of the final four, only the Hawks played in the opening round and
they were the only team play on the road before reaching Madison
Square Garden.

The Hawks were the NIT runners-up in 1996, Phil Martelli's first
season as head coach.

"We are not going to leave here in second place, we are going
to leave as champions," Martelli said. "It just doesn't say that
in the end result."

The Gamecocks must've felt as though they were the visitors on
Thursday, with about 8,000 Saint Joseph's supporters on hand.

The teams were tied at 28 after a back-and-forth first half in
which they traded runs.

Game notes
South Carolina F Renaldo Balkman left the game with 11
minutes remaining after getting hit in the face going for a
rebound. ... Carroll was 2-of-13 in a loss to Drexel in Saint
Joseph's second game of the season. ... South Carolina leads the
series 7-1 series.