South Carolina repeats as champ

Nit

Roundup

The day's state, national and world sports news

March 31, 2006

With consecutive National Invitation Tournament championships, South Carolina coach Dave Odom and Hall of Famer Joe Lapchick now have something in common.

And that's as far as Odom wanted to go with comparing his team to Lapchick's St. John's squads that won back-to-back titles in 1943 and 1944, when the NIT was even more prestigious than the NCAA tournament.

"I don't know that our team rivals that, and I certainly don't rival him, but the accomplishment remains the same," Odom said. "We did win two back-to-back, and for that I am thankful and very, very proud."

Tarence Kinsey scored 21 points and Tre' Kelley added 20 and seven assists to help South Carolina beat Michigan, 76-64, last night in New York in the NIT championship game.

With four starters back from last year's squad, the Gamecocks began the season with hopes to graduate to an NCAA tournament berth. That didn't work out, though South Carolina (23-15) made a late run at an automatic NCAA bid before losing the Southeastern Conference title game, 49-47, to Florida.

Kentucky was the only other team ever to play in consecutive championship games (1946-47).

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