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Aug. 4, 2009

2009 Charleston Classic Tournament Bracket

COLUMBIA, S.C. – ESPN released the bracket for the Second Annual Charleston Classic on Tuesday, where it was announced that South Carolina will play La Salle in the tournament’s first round on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, on ESPNU. The contest is set for a 9:30 p.m. (ET) tip time at Carolina First Arena in Charleston, S.C.

The Classic, a bracket-format tournament, will feature 12 games over the course of four days, Nov. 19-22. Each team will compete in one game per day, with the two teams that remain undefeated facing off in a championship contest on Sunday, Nov. 22. The Gamecocks join a highly-competitive field at the event, which features (2008-09 record) La Salle (18-13), South Florida (9-22), Tulane (14-17), Miami (Fla.) (19-13), UNC-Wilmington (7-25), Davidson (27-8) and Penn State (27-11). South Carolina, Davidson, Miami and Penn State each made an appearance in the Postseason NIT last March.

Other first-round matchups (all on Nov. 19) include Tulane versus Miami (Fla.) (1:30 p.m.) and UNC-Wilmington versus Penn State (4 p.m./ESPNU) in the top half of the bracket and Davidson versus South Florida (7 p.m.) in the lower portion of the bracket with the Gamecocks. In each half of the bracket, the winning teams will play each other in the first game of each session on Nov. 20, while the losing teams will play each other in the second game of each session.

The Gamecocks and Explorers have previously met twice on the hardwood, both times on a neutral court. South Carolina won the first match-up between the two schools, a 62-59 victory competing in the Quaker City Classic in Philadelphia, Pa., on Dec. 30, 1968. La Salle evened the series with an 85-67 win over Carolina at the Cotton States Classic in Atlanta, Ga., on Dec. 29, 1988. South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn has never faced the Explorers during his time as a head coach.

La Salle finished the 2008-09 campaign with an 18-13 record, including a 9-7 slate in Atlantic 10 Conference action. Four Explorers finished the season averaging double-digits in scoring, led by rising senior Rodney Green with 17.8 points per contest. La Salle played a competitive schedule last season, including contests against nine teams that advanced to NCAA Tournament play. The Explorers are led by Dr. John Giannini, who enters his sixth season at the helm of the La Salle program this fall.

South Carolina enjoyed a successful 21-10 season under first-year head coach Darrin Horn during the 2008-09 campaign. The Gamecocks reached double-digit victories in league play for the first time since the 1998 SEC season, and earned an SEC Eastern Division Co-Championship with a 10-6 record in conference action. South Carolina’s appearance in the postseason NIT last March was its 11th overall and first since the 2005-06 season when the Gamecocks earned their second-consecutive postseason NIT Championship.

South Carolina returns four of its five starters from a year ago, including All-SEC guard Devan Downey (19.8 points per game, 4.5 assists per game), senior forward Dominique Archie (10.9 ppg, 6.4 rebounds per game), junior forward Mike Holmes (10.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and junior center Sam Muldrow (5.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg).