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Oct. 15, 2002

Columbia, SC –

For the first time in more than a decade, the general public will have the opportunity to purchase season tickets for University of South Carolina men’s basketball games. The announcement comes as the wave of excitement continues to build with the opening of the 18,000-seat Carolina Center next month, which will be the new home for Gamecock basketball.

Fans may place their orders through the USC Athletic Ticket Office on Rosewood Drive or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS or 803-777-4274. Season tickets are $239 each and are good for the 15-game regular season schedule, as well as the two exhibition games that will be played in the Carolina Coliseum. Ticket location will be in the upper deck of the new Carolina Center.

“One of the primary concepts for the new arena was to provide fans throughout this area with the opportunity to embrace the new facility and from day one, become a part of what promises to be an important addition to this community,” said Mike McGee, director of athletics. “We’re pleased that the public will have the chance to get their seats for Gamecock basketball in the Carolina Center’s inaugural season, and once they order this year, have the opportunity to continue as season ticket holders in years to come.”

The USC Ticket Office reports that more than 11,200 season ticket orders have been processed through the Gamecock Club, which is better than a 3,000 increase from a year ago. Not since the early 1990s has the general public had the opportunity to purchase season tickets for Gamecock basketball.

The 2002-03 men’s regular season schedule tips off on Sunday, Nov. 24, as USC takes on East Tennessee State at 3 p.m. A pair of home contests against South Carolina State (11/29) and Appalachian State (11/30) follow, before national power Temple comes to the Carolina Center for a Dec. 2 nationally televised matchup. The eight-game Southeastern Conference home schedule begins on Jan. 8 against Ole Miss. The Gamecocks host in-state rival Clemson on Feb. 12 at the Carolina Center.

The Gamecocks look to build upon their 22-win season from a year ago, which culminated with the team advancing to the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament. A solid nucleus of veteran performers, along with a host of talented newcomers, look to take the program to the next level and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Since 1990, the SEC has emerged as the nation’s toughest basketball conference from top to the bottom. The league has produced three NCAA champions and had nine Final Four appearances. On two occasions, the SEC has had two teams in the Final Four in the same year. The SEC has had six teams in the NCAA Tournament field in each of the last four seasons and is the only conference in the nation to have had all of its teams ranked at least one week in the top 20 since 1997-98.