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Jan. 13, 2009

South Carolina vs. LSU | 8 p.m. ET
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South Carolina at LSU

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tipoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Arena: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13, 215)
Series: South Carolina leads, 12-10
Series Trend: South Carolina – Win 1
Television: CST (Cox Sports TV, Tape Delay)
Lyn Rollins (play-by-play), Collis Temple III (analyst)
Sat Coordinates: TBA
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Mike Morgan (play-by-play), Casey Manning (analyst)

Game Preview
South Carolina (12-2, 1-0 SEC) travels to Baton Rouge, La., to face the LSU Tigers (12-3, 0-1 SEC) in its first road SEC contest of the season. The game marks the first of two straight on the road in league play for the Gamecocks, as the sqaud will travel to No. 24 Tennessee on Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup. The contest marks the first for South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn against LSU, and the first for LSU head coach Trent Johnson against the Gamecocks. South Carolina looks to go 2-0 to start league play for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

Series Information
South Carolina holds a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series. The teams split last season, with LSU claiming a 62-55 win in the regular-season matchup, and South Carolina earning a 77-73 win over the Tigers in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.

Television Information
The contest will be televised on a tape delay basis on Cox Sports Television (local). It will only be broadcast regionally and will not be available in the state of South Carolina.

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.

Scouting LSU
The LSU Tigers enter Wednesday’s contest against the Gamecocks with a 12-3 overall record, including an 0-1 mark in SEC play after dropping their SEC opener, 59-65, at Alabama last Sunday. LSU dropped two decisions to its most notable non-conference opponents in Texas A&M (Dec. 20, 61-72) and Utah (Jan. 6, 61-91) earlier this season.

Senior guard Marcus Thornton paces three Tigers in double figures with 18.5 points per contest. The Baton Rouge native also contributes 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per outing. Thornton has two 30-point performances this season and has led LSU in scoring nine times, including the last three consecutive games. Thornton has also proved a threat from 3-point land, hitting 29-of-76 attempts (.382) from beyond the arc.

Junior forward Tasmin Mitchell contributes 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Mitchell’s 6.1 rebounds is second on the team behind fellow starter Chris Johnson’s 7.2 boards per contest. Mitchell has led the Tigers in scoring three times this season.

Sophomore guard Bo Spencer provides 12.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Spencer stands as LSU’s top 3-point threat, hitting 27-of-63 (.429) attempts from beyond the arc, nearly half of his entire point production this season.

Johnson averages single digits at 8.1 points per game, but leads the squad with 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. Johnson has led the squad in rebounding eight times this season, including a season-best 14 boards in the Tigers’ win over Centenary on Nov. 28.

Senior guard Garrett Temple contributes 6.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-best 3.9 assists per game. Temple also leads the squad with 2.2 steals per outing, a total of 33 thus far this season.

First-year head coach Trent Johnson has used the same starting lineup for all 15 of the Tigers’ games this season.

South Carolina will look to break a 15-game LSU home winning streak on Wednesday in Baton Rouge.

Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina rides a three-game winning streak into Baton Rouge, having opened the new year a 3-0 mark. The Gamecocks look to go 2-0 to start the SEC seasonfor the first time since the 1996-97 regular-season SEC champs began the year 11-0.

Junior guard Devan Downey leads the Gamecocks with 19.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Downey leads a pack of four Gamecocks averaging double figures. Downey failed to hit double digits in the SEC opener against Auburn, the first time this season he has not posted at least 10 points in a game. Downey found other ways to contribute, collecting five rebounds, adding two assists and swiping three steals to help lead Carolina to the victory.

Senior guard Zam Fredrick had the hot hand in South Carolina’s victory over Auburn last Saturday. Fredrick tallied 27 points, just one shy of matching his career high, on 9-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. Fredrick stands as one of the top Gamecock threats from beyond the arc. His 26-of-73 attempts (.356) is second to junior forward Evka Baniulis who has hit a stellar 25-of-45 attempts (.556).

Sophomore forward Mike Holmes leads Carolina with 8.4 rebounds per game, while he adds 12.0 points and 1.5 blocks per outing. Holmes has led the Gamecocks in rebounding seven times this season, en route to four double-doubles on the year.

Junior forward Dominique Archie has been a factor in nearly every game this season. Archie contributes 10.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. He led Carolina in rebounding (8) against Auburn, while adding a solid nine points and three steals. Archie averaged 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games combined against LSU last season. Junior guard Brandis Raley-Ross has provided solid play since his return from injury prior to the Dec. 16 contest against NC Central. Raley-Ross provides 7.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He recently tallied a season-best 14 points in the victory against Wofford (1/5), while he added eight points and two steals against Auburn.

Keep an eye on sharp shooter Evka Baniulis from 3-point range and sophomore forward Austin Steed. Baniulis averages 8.0 points per game, while Steed, who made the start in the SEC opener against Auburn, provides 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per outing.

Hoopsters In January
South Carolina owns a 389-330 (.541) all-time record in the month of January, including a 3-0 record in 2009 after upsetting then-No. 19 Baylor (Jan. 2, 85-84), defeating Wofford (Jan. 5, 78-61) and most recently capturing a 68-56 victory over Auburn in the SEC opener (Jan. 10). The most wins that South Carolina has ever 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).

South Carolina In The AP Poll
South Carolina received three votes in this week’s Associated Press poll, the first time the Gamecocks have recevied a vote in the poll since garnering one vote in the Jan. 10, 2005 poll. South Carolina’s last ranking in the AP poll came on Feb. 16, 2004, when the Gamecocks were ranked 24th.

SEC Leaders
South Carolina ranks among the SEC leaders in multiple categories in the most recent statistics. Carolina ranks second in scoring offense (80.0) and first in scoring margin at +15.7 per game. The Gamecocks rank first in 3-point field goal percentage (.392) and fourth in 3-point field goal defense (.318), while Carolina’s 10.5 steals per game and +6.1 turnover margin currently lead the league. Individually, Devan Downey makes an appearance in several categories, including scoring (3rd, 19.7), assists (5th, 4.3) and steals (1st, 3.1). Mike Holmes ranks sixth in total rebounds (8.4) and Dominique Archie ranks fifth with 2.1 steals per game.

NCAA Statistics
In the most recent NCAA statistics (games through Jan. 11), South Carolina ranks among the top 25 in five categories. The Gamecocks rank 20th in scoring offense (81.0), 15th in scoring margin (+15.7), 23rd in 3-point field goal percentage (39.2%), sixth in turnover margin (6.1) and fourth in steals per game (10.5). Individually, Devan Downey ranks 30th in scoring (19.7) and fifth in steals per game (3.1).