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Patterson, Blakney Power South Carolina State Into NCAA

March 12, 1996

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) _ South Carolina State, which is headed to the NCAA West Regional, doesn’t seem the locale to hold Derrick Patterson or ``Moo Moo″ Blakney.

Patterson grew up in Chicago, about 200 times bigger than Orangeburg and about 1,000 light years away in a lot of other things.

``I always thought I wanted to be in the big city, but the quiet here really helped me,″ he said.

Blakney, whose real first name is Roderick, is wiry and fast, with a quick smile and laugh. His confidence matches his huge talent. As a junior at Hartsville High, he once scored 20 straight points while being guarded by Dalzell’s Ray Allen, who now stars for Connecticut.

Blakney pulled South Carolina State coach Cy Alexander aside at the South Carolina game in November and told him to scrap the offense.

Alexander remembers him saying, ``Just give me the ball.″ Blakney went on to torch the Gamecocks for 26 points.

Patterson, the senior leader, and Blakney, the sophomore speedster, now take the Bulldogs into the NCAA first round against second-seeded Kansas.

No matter that only twice in the 18 tournaments since seeding began has a No. 2 seed lost to a No. 15, Patterson and Blakney have the Bulldogs believing they’ll be the third.

``We’ve got the players and a game plan to beat Kansas,″ Alexander said. ``That’s what we’re going out there to do.″

Patterson transferred in three years ago when Georgetown grew too confining and coach John Thompson called his good friend Alexander.

Then, Patterson got to Orangeburg.

``I asked myself, `What have I done,′ ″ he said. ``But then in two, three weeks, I started meeting people and getting used to the place.″

Patterson has led the team in scoring and rebounding the past two years. He also went to the NCAA tournament his freshman year with Georgetown, which lost to Florida State in the second-round in 1992.

He remembers the bands and banners, the thrill of sitting on the bench in Idaho and watching teammates Alonzo Mourning, Don Reid and Othella Harrington play in big situations.

That’s what he expects on Friday when the Bulldogs tip off in Tempe, Ariz.

``I’m telling everyone to go out there and have fun because this is an experience you may only get once in your life,″ he said. ``It’s something you’re never going to forget.″

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