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Dec. 15, 2008

South Carolina vs. NC Central | 8 p.m.
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South Carolina vs. NC Central

Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tipoff: 8:03:30 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: First Meeting
Television: SportSouth (Time Warner Columbia, ch. 21)
Mike Morgan (play-by-play), Eddie Fogler (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Derek Scott (play-by-play), Casey Manning (analyst)
Tickets: Tickets remain at the Gamecock ticket office. Call 803-777-4274 or online at

Fans holding a ticket to the women’s game are encouraged to stay for the men’s game against North Carolina Central, which tips off at 8 p.m. Fans may take their women’s ticket to the box office and trade it for a reserved seat for the men’s game at no cost. Tickets are available at the women’s single-game rate of $7 until halftime of the women’s game. After halftime, tickets will cost $12 and be issued as tickets to the men’s game.

Game Preview
South Carolina (6-1) returns to the hardwood after a lengthy 11-day break due to final semester exams on the Columbia campus. The Gamecocks host NC Central (0-11) in the first of three home non-conference contests prior to the holiday break, as The Citadel (Dec. 20) and Presbyterian (Dec. 23) will also visit Colonial Life Arena before the break. The meeting with NC Central marks the first between the two schools, while it will mark the second between head coach Darrin Horn and Eagles head coach Henry Dickerson, as Horn’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated NC Central, 84-53, on Dec. 18, 2007. The game will be the second half of a doubleheader with the Gamecock women’s team, which hosts USC Upstate at 5:30 p.m.

Television Information
Tuesday’s contest will be televised by SportSouth with Mike Morgan calling play-by-play and Eddie Fogler, former South Carolina head coach (1994-2001), handling color analyst duties. SportSouth, the nation’s sixth-largest regional sports network, reaches more than nine million cable and satellite homes across a six-state region. Through its affiliates and other Fox Networks Group-owned networks, FSN reaches more than 70 million homes through 16 owned-and-operated networks. The contest against NC Central marks the sixth of 22 televised South Carolina contests this season, including 14 home matchups.

Radio Broadcast Information
The game will be broadcast on the ISP Gamecock Radio Network with Derek Scott 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.

Scouting NC Central
The NC Central Eagles have struggled in the opening month of the 2008-09 season. Entering Tuesday’s contest against the Gamecocks, NC Central owns an 0-11 record, with notable losses against Wake Forest (48-94), Arkansas (70-98) and Old Dominion (54-79).

Sophomore guard Vincent Davis paces the Eagles with 14.5 points per game, while junior center Stevy Worah-Ozimo owns a team-best 8.2 rebounds per contest. Several players have contributed in the assist column, as four different Eagles have tallied at least 22 assists this season.

NC Central has played 10 of its 11 games on the road, with Tuesday’s contest in Columbia its 11th road contest of the season.

Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina enters Tuesday’s contest riding a two-game winning streak, with its most recent win coming on Dec. 5 (Furman) due to a lengthy break for semester exams. Carolina’s lone loss of the season came in an 80-82 overtime decision to College of Charleston. The Gamecocks defeat their opponents by an average of 17.3 points per contest, good enough for second in the SEC.

Junior point guard Devan Downey paces the offense with 19.6 points per game, leading four Gamecocks who average double-digit points entering Tuesday’s contest. Downey has led the Gamecocks in scoring in five of seven games this season, including a season-high effort of 25 points against Gardner-Webb.

Fellow backcourt guard Zam Fredrick also averages double-digits with 15.6 points. Fredrick has had trouble hitting shots in the early going of the season. He hit just 3-of-13 attempts against Winthrop and 2-of-11 against College of Charleston, contributing 12 and eight points, respectively, in those games.

Sophomore forward Mike Holmes averages 11.9 points and leads the team with 9.3 rebounds per contest. Holmes looks to rebound from a meager eight-point showing against Furman. Junior forward Evka Baniulis rounds out the Gamecocks in double figures, as he averages 11.4 points, with much of his point production coming from beyond the arc (17 of 29 field goals from 3-point). Baniulis has steadily improved through the first seven games of the season, pacing Carolina with a .607 percentage from beyond the arc.

Junior forward Dominique Archie continues to be a silent contributor for Carolina. Archie tallied his fifth career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Winthrop, while he’s been within one rebound of a double-double twice this season, including a nine-rebound, 10-point effort against Furman.

South Carolina’s keys to the game against NC Central will be its prescence on the boards and its point-production in the inside game.

Gamecocks In December
South Carolina is 268-259 (.509) all-time in the month of December, including its most recent win, a 72-48 rout of intrastate rival Furman on Dec. 5, while Carolina also earned an 84-58 road victory at Princeton on Dec. 2. Carolina won three games last season during the month, defeating Providence (68-67), College of Charleston (85-82) and UC Irvine (67-65).

Trips To The Charity Stripe
South Carolina attempted a season-high 34 free throw attempts in its victory over Furman on Dec. 5. The 34 attempts marked the most by a Gamecock team since March 29, 2005, when Carolina went 25-of-40 from the line against Maryland in the NIT Semifinals. South Carolina won the contest, 75-67.

Sixth Man Standout
Evka Baniulis has become one of the best “sixth men” in the Southeastern Conference, averaging 11.4 points off the bench to lead the conference in points per game among non-starters. Among players in the SEC that have played in 75 percent of their team’s games and have not started more than half of those contests, only Tennessee’s J.P. Prince (11.3 ppg; one start in seven games) is in double figures along with Baniulis. He hasn’t been alone on the Carolina bench however, as Austin Steed has contributed 6.0 points per game in his seven appearances, averaging 17.4 minutes of action.

Injury Report
South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross suffered a left knee sprain in the Gamecocks season opener against JSU and may be available to return to game action as soon as tonight’s contest versus NC Central. Sophomore forward Sam Muldrow is also injured and out indefinitely due to a left elbow sprain suffered in practice on Dec. 9.