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Jan. 20, 2009

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

Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tipoff: 7:05:30 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: Florida leads, 34-19
Series Trend: Florida has won five straight
Television: Raycom – Larry Conley (Analyst), Dave Baker (Play-By-Play)
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

Garnet Army
The University of South Carolina Athletics Department has announced the launch of the “Garnet Army” student fan club for Gamecock basketball. The official launch of the new student fan section will take place this Wednesday, Jan. 21, in conjunction with the men’s basketball contest against Florida, which starts at 7 p.m. A special student appreciation celebration with a pre-game pep rally will take place prior to tipoff, with the distribution of the “Garnet Army” T-shirts – free to the first 750 students, special on-court promotions, free pizza and a pre-game and halftime performance from the dance group Fanny Pak, who fans may remember from MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, will highlight the event.

Game Preview
South Carolina (12-4, 1-2 SEC) looks to break a two-game skid when it hosts No. 24 Florida (16-2, 3-0 SEC) on Wednesday night at Colonial Life Arena. The game marks the first of three consecutive home Southeastern Conference matchups for the Gamecocks before playing four of their next five contests on the road. The Gators enter the mid-week matchup riding a 10-game winning streak, including a 3-0 mark in conference play. The meeting marks the second for head coach Darrin Horn against Florida. His Western Kentucky squad suffered a 101-68 loss to the Gators during Florida’s 2006-07 national championship run.

Series Information
Florida owns a 34-19 upperhand in the all-time series between the two schools. The Gators have won five consecutive meetings in the series and 14 of the last 16 contests against the Gamecocks.

Television Information The contest will be televised on Raycom Sports with Dave Baker calling play-by-play and Larry Conley handling color analyst duties. The contest versus Florida marks the 14th of 22 televised regular-season contests for the Gamecocks.

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 Florida
Florida owns a 16-2 overall record entering Wednesday’s contest, including a 3-0 mark in SEC play. UF rides a 10-game winning streak into Columbia, with its most notable wins during the stretch coming over NC State, Ole Miss and most recently Arkansas.

Sophomore guard Nick Calathes leads just two Gators in double figures with 17.7 points per game. That said, six Gators, including Calathes, average at least 7.7 points per game entering Wednesday’s contest. Calathes, a preseason All-SEC pick by the media, has led the Gators in scoring 11 times this season and averages 23.0 points per game during his last five outings – a stretch that saw Calathes post at least 17 points in each contest, while scoring a career-high 32 in the victory over NC State, and a team-best 28 in UF’s most recent win over Arkansas. Calathes also leads the SEC in assists at 6.7 per game. Keep an eye on the sharp shooter who averaged 19.0 points per game in two outings against Carolina last season. Sophomore center Alex Tyus also averages double figures for the Gators at 12.7 points per game. Tyus has led the squad in rebounding nine times this season, while he leads the squad in rebounding and ranks 13th in the SEC collecting 6.5 boards per game. Tyus provides 11.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in strictly league games this season.

Junior forward Dan Werner and sophomore big man Chandler Parsons handle the frontcourt for the Gators. The duo provides 9.4 and 8.7 points, respectively, per game, while Parsons collects 5.3 boards per outing.

Senior guard Walter Hodge brings veteran leadership in the Gator starting five. Hodge provides 7.7 points and just over two assists per outing, but has been solid in league play, adding 8.0 points per contest. Freshman guard Erving Walker has stepped up his play during the SEC campaign. He provides 10.0 points per game in league play. Walker’s best outing of the season came in a 16-point effort against Longwood in early January.

The Gators have been solid defending the 3-point line during recent outings. UF has held its last seven opponents to just 23.6 percent from beyond the arc, a stifling 30-of-127 attempts. Opponents average just over four made 3’s per game. Keep an eye on South Carolina from beyond the arc, as the duo of Zam Fredrick (34.9 percent) and Evka Baniulis (54.9 percent) look to break UF’s perimeter defense.

Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina enters Wednesday’s contest looking to break a two-game skid, having lost at LSU (68-85) on Jan. 14 and most recently dropping a 79-82 decision at then No.-24 Tennessee on Saturday. South Carolina looks to even its SEC record, which stands at 1-2 entering the contest against Florida.

Junior point guard Devan Downey leads four Gamecocks in double figures entering Wednesday’s contest at 19.6 points per game. Downey also leads the squad with 4.3 assists and 3.0 steals per outing. Downey most recently provided 19 points, six assists and four steals in the loss to then-No. 24 Tennessee. Downey helped spark a second-half run that saw the Gamecocks out-score the Vols 51-39 in the half. Keep an eye on the Downey-Calathes battle. Both lead their respective team in scoring, assists and steals.

Senior guard Zam Fredrick has stepped up his senior leadership of late. Fredrick provides 16.3 points per game, including a team-best 21.0 points per outing in SEC play. Fredrick tallied a season-best 27 points in the league-opening win over Auburn and responded with 18 points at both LSU and Tennessee.

Junior forward Dominique Archie has found his groove in SEC play. Archie provides 15.0 points per game in league action and comes off back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in his college career. Archie has been a monster on the boards of late, collecting a combined 31 rebounds in three league games (10.3/game). Archie played a critical role in South Carolina’s run during the second half at Tennessee, adding 11 points and five rebounds in the half.

Sophomore forward Mike Holmes provides 11.4 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds per game. Holmes has struggled to find the basket in league play, averaging just 6.0 points and 5.3 reounds per game. He provided 10 points against Tennessee, his first double-digit performance of the conference season thus far.

Junior guard Brandis Raley-Ross and junior forward Evka Baniulis continue to pose significant scoring threats for opponents. Raley-Ross provides 6.7 points per game, while Baniulis adds 7.6 per contest. Baniulis sits as South Carolina’s top threat from beyond the arc, hitting 54.9 percent of his attempts thus far (28-51).

Key to South Carolina’s success against the Gators will be its rebounding effort. The Gamecocks have been out-rebounded in all three of their SEC matchups this season. Carolina and Florida both average near 36 rebounds per game, but UF has out-rebounded two of its last three opponents by nearly 8.0 rebounds per game.

Battle Of The Point Guards
Wednesday’s contest between the Gamecocks and Gators will feature two of the top point guards in the SEC and for that matter, the country. Junior point guard Devan Downey is ranked No. 11 in this week’s point guard power rankings, while UF’s Nick Calathes is ranked fifth. Downey holds an edge over Calathes in points per game (19.6/17.7) and steals (3.0/2.1), while Calathes holds the upperhand in assists per outing (6.7/4.3).

Archie, Back-To-Back Double Dips
Junior forward Dominique Archie has tallied double-doubles in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, as he contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds against LSU and followed with a 19-point, 12-rebound effort against Tennessee. His 12 rebounds versus the Volunteers was a career high. Archie has found his groove in conference play. He contributes 15.0 points and a team-best 10.3 rebounds per contest thus far against SEC opponents.