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Nov. 27, 2008

South Carolina at College of Charleston | 7 p.m.
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South Carolina at College of Charleston

Date: Friday, November 28, 2008
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Arena: Carolina First Arena (5,100)
Series: South Carolina leads, 27-1
Television: CSS
Paul Crane (play-by-play), John Kresse (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Mike Morgan (play-by-play), Casey Manning (analyst)

Game Preview
South Carolina looks to improve to 5-0 on the year in its first road test of the season on Friday at College of Charleston. The meeting marks the 29th all-time between the two schools, where South Carolina holds a commanding 27-1 advantage. The meeting also marks the first for head coach Darrin Horn against Cougar head coach Bobby Cremins, a former three-year starter for the Gamecocks in the late 1960’s under legendary coach Frank McGuire. South Carolina rides the play of point guard Devan Downey (18.5 points, 5.0 assists/game) and sophomore big man Mike Holmes, the current SEC leader in offensive boards (6.0/game), while Charleston sophomore Andre Goudelock posts an average of 17.4 points in just over 33 minutes per contest for the Cougars. Charleston will dedicate its new facility, Carolina First Arena, prior to the tip on Friday.

Television Information
Friday’s contest will be televised by CSS with Paul Crane calling play-by-play and John Kresse handling color analyst duties. The contest against College of Charleston marks the fifth of 22 televised South Carolina contests this season, including 14 home matchups.

Radio Broadcast Information
The game will also be broadcast on the ISP Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan on the call with play-by-play and Casey Manning handling color analyst duties. The Gamecock Radio Network reaches throughout the state of South Carolina.

series Information – College of Charleston
Friday’s meeting between the Gamecocks and Cougars marks the 29th all-time between the two intrastate rivals. The series, which started during the 1916-17 season, has been dominated by South Carolina, as the Gamecocks hold a 27-1 all-time edge. The lone Charleston win came on its homecourt on Jan. 17, 1930, defeating Carolina, 40-32. South Carolina won the most recent meeting last season, 85-82, in Columbia.

Scouting College of Charleston
Charleston owns a 4-1 record, its best start since the 2003-04 campaign, heading into Friday’s matchup with the Gamecocks. The Cougars began the season with a 72-66 victory in the opener against SIU-Edwardsville, followed with a loss to Temple (65-70), and then three-consecutive wins against TCU (86-75), Charleston Southern (93-83) and S.C. State (94-72).

Sophomore guard Andrew Goudelock leads the squad with 17.4 points, including 19.0 per game in the last three outings. Fellow starters, forward Dustin Scott (11.8 points/game) and forward Antwaine Wiggins (10.4 points/game) also average double-digit points for the Cougars.

Charleston owns a .508 shooting percentage through its first five games, including a .423 mark from beyond the arc. Goudelock is the team’s 3-point threat, hitting 10-of-19 attempts (.526) thus far.

Charleston’s key to the game against the Gamecocks will be its rebounding and defensive play. The Cougars average just 32.4 rebounds per contest, against the 44.8 mark of the Gamecocks, and Carolina grabs 11.3 steals per game compared to the 6.6 managed by Charleston.

Gamecocks Continue To Improve
South Carolina is 4-0 to start a season for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign (at Western Carolina, 81-63; Toledo, 85-73; at Alaska-Anchorage, 65-60; vs. Monmouth, 62-56), and also 4-0 at home for the first time since 2005-06 (Toledo, UNCG, 77-55; Winthrop, 68-54; Wofford, 73-43).

South Carolina’s offense continues to improve and impress. Carolina has three players who average double-digit points (Devan Downey, 18.5; Zam Fredrick, 17.5; Mike Holmes, 12.0) heading into Friday’s game at Charleston, while Evka Baniulis (9.8) and Dominique Archie (9.5) are less than a point shy of the double-digit mark. The Gamecocks average 83.8 points per contest, against just 65.5 by their opponents – which brings about discussion on the Carolina defense.

Gamecock head coach Darrin Horn has effort and defense as two of the most important points of emphasis for Carolina this season. The stifling defense has been a product of the intense effort. Carolina forces an average of 20.3 turnovers per game, grabs an average of 11.3 steals and 5.0 blocks per contest.

“Mr. Steal” Devan Downey paces Carolina with an average of 2.5 steals per contest, slightly below his SEC record-setting mark of 3.2 per game last season. He and senior guard Branden Conrad average a combined 8.5 assists, 4.25 turnovers and 4.5 steals per outing. Downey also turns in a team-best 18.5 points per game.

Sophomore forward Mike Holmes has been the king of the boards in 2008. Holmes leads the SEC with 6.0 offensive boards per game, while he ranks third overall with a 10.3 average. Holmes has pulled down 20 offensive and 34 total boards in his last three games.

Senior sharp shooter Zam Fredrick has scored in double figures in each of the first four games for Carolina. Fredrick averages 17.5 points, and contributed a game-high 23 against USC Upstate last Saturday and 18 in the win over Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night.

Carolina’s key to the game will be its success from beyond the arc and its presence on the boards. Keep an eye on Conrad (3-of-4 from 3-point vs. Gardner-Webb) and Fredrick outside, while Holmes looks to dominate around the basket.