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Jan. 9, 2009

South Carolina vs. Auburn | 7 p.m.
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South Carolina vs. Auburn

Date: Saturday, January 10, 2009
Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: Auburn leads, 17-12
Series Trend: South Carolina – Win 1
Television: None
Sat Coordinates: 10:30-10:45 p.m.; Galaxy 28
Transponder 19; Downlink 4080 Vertical
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Mike Morgan (play-by-play), Casey Manning (analyst)
Tickets: Tickets remain at the Gamecock ticket office. Call 803-777-4274 or online at

Game Preview
South Carolina (11-2) hosts Auburn (10-4) in its 2009 SEC opener at Colonial Life Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m. The meeting marks the 30th all-time between the two schools. Carolina looks to snap a three-game SEC home-opener losing streak, as its last victory in an SEC home opener came against Georgia in a 74-54 win in 2005. South Carolina is 5-12 all-time in SEC openers. The Gamecocks and Tigers have met once previously in a league opener, where Carolina claimed that contest, 66-56, during the 1997 season in Columbia. The meeting marks the first between South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn and Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo.

Series Information
Auburn holds a 17-12 advantage in the all-time series. South Carolina has won three out of the last five games between the two schools, including a 69-63 victory last season in Auburn.

Television Information
Saturday’s contest will not be televised. Highlights will be provided after the game at the following satellite coordinates: 10:30-10:45 p.m.; Galaxy 28; Transponder 19; Downlink 4080 vertical.

Radio Broadcast Information
The game will 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.

SEC Openers
Since joining the league prior to the 1991-92 season, South Carolina owns a meager 5-12 all-time record in SEC openers. Carolina has lost five consecutive league openers, with its last win in an opener during the 2003 season when the Gamecocks defeated Ole Miss, 55-49. South Carolina has also lost its last three SEC home openers, including a 56-80 loss to Tennessee last season.

Scouting Auburn
Auburn enters Saturday’s contest on a seven-game winning streak after opening the season with a 3-4 mark. The Tigers’ most notable win of the year came in a 58-56 road victory at ACC foe Virginia in late December.

Senior forward Korvotney Barber leads three Tigers averaging double figures entering SEC play. Barber contributes 13.0 points per game and a team-best 8.1 rebounds. Barber has collected a combined 26 rebounds in his last two outings, including a season-high 16 in Auburn’s win over Southeastern Louisiana (12/31). Barber did not play in last season’s contest against South Carolina due to an injury suffered early in the season.

Junior guard DeWayne Reed has led the Tigers in scoring in his last two outings, contributing 20 points each against Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane (1/3). Reed averages 12.5 points, 3.9 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.

Junior guard Tay Waller provides 12.3 points 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Waller stands as Auburn’s top 3-point threat, as his 39-of-109 (.358) attempts from beyond the arc rank as a team high.

Senior guard Quantez Robertson and junior forward Lucas Hargrove are just shy of averaging double figures. Robertson contributes 7.4 points and 3.9 assists per contest, while Hargrove provides 8.1 points and 5.7 boards per game.

Auburn’s key to the game against South Carolina will be its accuracy from beyond the arc and its defensive presence. Both teams average over 10 steals per game (10.3 SC, 10.2 Auburn), while the squads also have similiar blocks per game averages (4.4 SC, 3.5 Auburn), and both the Gamecocks and Tigers force opponents into nearly 20 turnovers per contest (19.9 SC, 18.4 Auburn).

Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina brings a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest against Auburn, having finished the pre-conference schedule with an upset victory over then-No. 19 Baylor (1/2) on the road and a solid win against intrastate rival Wofford (1/5) in Columbia to kick start the new year.

Junior point guard Devan Downey leads a pack of four Gamecocks averaging double figures entering the contest against Auburn. Downey has tallied double-digit points in every game this season, including a career-high 37 points against Clemson, to pace Carolina with 20.5 points per game thus far. Downey also leads the Gamecocks in assists (58, 4.5 apg) and steals (40, 3.1 spg). Downey led all scorers in last year’s contest against the Tigers, hitting 8-of-14 attempts for 21 points.

Senior guard Zam Fredrick provides 15.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Fredrick has hit double-digit points 11 times this season, and surpassed the 1,000-point plateau for his total career against Wofford (9 points). Fredrick poses a threat both inside and beyond the arc, as the shooting guard has hit 22-of-63 (.349) attempts from 3-point range this season.

Junior forward Dominique Archie has struggled with foul trouble in recent games, but despite that, he provides 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest thus far. He ranks second on the team in rebounds and steals (26, 2.0 spg), while he also averages 1.2 blocks per outing.

Sophomore forward Mike Holmes contributes 12.6 points and a team-best 8.7 boards per game. Holmes most recently added 10 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks in Carolina’s win over Wofford.

Junior guard Brandis Raley-Ross and junior forward Evka Baniulis continue to provide solid numbers for the Gamecocks. Raley-Ross, back to full strength after a knee injury sidelined him for a stretch of time earlier this year, provides 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per outing. He tallied a season-high 14 points against Wofford. Baniulis struggled in recent games at home but found his stride against No. 19 Baylor (8 points) and Wofford (6) points. Baniulis ranks as Carolina’s top threat from beyond the arc, as he has hit 25-of-45 (.556) attempts this season.

Carolina will continue to concentrate on its overall effort and defensive prowess during SEC play. Keep an eye on how the defensive energy reflects on the offensive end.

Hoopsters In January
South Carolina owns a 388-330 (.540) all-time record in the month of January, including a 2-0 record in 2009 after upsetting then-No. 19 Baylor (Jan. 2, 85-84) and defeating Wofford (Jan. 5, 78-61). The most wins that South Carolina has every amassed in the month of January came in 1983 when Carolina collected 10 wins. South Carolina won three games in January 2008, defeating Radford (Jan. 2, 90-63), Arkansas (Jan. 16, 70-66) and Georgia (Jan. 30, 62-56).