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Feb. 20, 2009

South Carolina vs. Arkansas | 7 p.m. ET
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South Carolina vs. Arkansas

Date: Saturday, February 21, 2009
Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: Arkansas leads 12-8
Series Trend: South Carolina has won one
Television: None
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Mike Morgan (play-by-play), Casey Manning (analyst)

Game Preview
South Carolina (18-6, 7-4 SEC) returns to the friendly confines of Colonial Life Arena on Saturday to host the Arkansas Razorbacks (13-11, 1-10 SEC) from the SEC West at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks look to rebound from a disappointing loss at Mississippi State on Wednesday. Arkansas has struggled in SEC play and enters Saturday’s contest having lost 10 of its last 11 games, including six straight. The meeting marks the first for South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn against the Razorbacks. Star watch falls on junior point guard Devan Downey, who needs just 33 points to reach 1,500 for his total career.

Series Information
Arkansas leads the all-time series with South Carolina, 12-8. The series is tied at 4-4 in games played in Columbia.

Television Information
The contest will be not be televised.

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 Arkansas
• Arkansas enters Saturday’s matchup in Columbia with a 13-11 overall record, including a 1-10 mark in league play. The lone Razorback win in SEC action came against Alabama in an 89-80 victory over the Crimson Tide in late January.

• Arkansas kicked off its season with a strong 12-1 record in non-conference play, with marquee wins over Oklahoma and Texas.

• Preseason All-SEC forward Michael Washington leads a group of four Arkansas players who average double digits on the year. Washington paces the pack with 16.2 points per game (9th in SEC statistics), while he leads the league with 9.6 boards per game. Washington has led the team in scoring 14 times this season and has recorded 11 double-doubles on the year.

• Freshman point guard Cortney Fortson rates just behind Washington with 14.7 points per game. Fortson’s 6.3 assists per game rank second in the league to Florida’s Nick Calathes, who dishes 6.5 helpers per outing. Fortson recorded just the second triple-double in Razorback history against NC Central earlier this season, while he has recorded 20 double-digit scoring efforts thus far.

• Junior guard Stefan Welsh (12.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and freshman guard Rotnei Clarke (11.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg) join Fortson in a backcourt that contributes nearly 38 points per game.

• Arkansas is projected to start three freshmen against the Gamecocks on Saturday in rookie point guard Courtney Fortson, guard Rotnei Clarke and forward Michael Sanchez.

Scouting South Carolina
• After dropping Wednesday’s contest at Mississippi State, South Carolina owns an 18-6 overall record, including a 7-4 mark in conference play. The Gamecocks are locked in a four-team tie at the top of the SEC East, as Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky also hold a 7-4 mark in league play.

• SEC Player of the Year candidate Devan Downey leads four Gamecocks who average double digits into Saturday’s matchup with Arkansas. Downey paces Carolina with 19.8 points per game, while he also leads the squad in assists (4.4) and steals (2.9). Downey has tallied double digits in 23 of South Carolina’s 24 games this season. Keep and eye on Downey against the Razorbacks, the then-sophomore tallied 28 points to lead the Gamecocks to victory over Arkansas last season.

• Junior forward Dominique Archie has contributed strong numbers throughout the season, especially during conference play. Archie contributes 11.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while in stricly SEC games, he contributes 12.6 points and 6.9 boards per outing. His 1.5 steals per game rank second to Downey, while he also records 0.9 assists per game and 1.0 blocks per game.

• Since his return from injury, sophomore center Sam Muldrow has proved a force underneath the basket for the Gamecocks. Muldrow provides 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, while he also swipes 1.4 blocked shots per outing. Muldrow recently recorded a career-high 18 points in South Carolina’s victory over Georgia.

11-Game Benchmark
South Carolina owns a 7-4 mark in SEC play thus far in 2009, its best start since also owning a 7-4 record through the first 11 games of league play during the 2004 conference campaign. The most wins ever amassed in a single SEC campaign came in 1997 when Carolina finished league play with a 15-1 record (only loss at Georgia).