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March 4, 2011

The South Carolina men’s basketball team (14-14, 5-10 SEC) travels to face Mississippi State (16-13, 8-7 SEC) in the regular-season finale for both schools on Saturday in Starkville at Humphrey Coliseum. The contest will be televised on ESPN2 with Carter Blackburn and Mark Gottfried on the call.

Date: Saturday, March 5, 2011
Tipoff: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Starkville, Miss.
Arena: Humphrey Coliseum (11,000)
Series: Mississippi State leads 14-8
Television: ESPN2
Talent: Carter Blackburn (pxp), Mark Gottfried (analyst);
Eric Posman (producer)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
(107.5 FM – Columbia/
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Live Stats:

Game Notes vs. Mississippi StateGet Acrobat Reader

Carolina Quick Hits
– South Carolina is in its 103rd season of basketball.
– Saturday’s contest at Mississippi State marks the regular-season finale for the Gamecocks. Carolina collected a 77-73 upset win at No.13/19 Vanderbilt in the 2009-10 regular-season finale in Nashville.
– Senior forward Sam Muldrow completed a career night on Senior Day, posting a career-high 24 points, while collecting 12 rebounds and blocking five shots vs. Tennessee on Thursday.
– Senior forward Johndre Jefferson earned his first start of the season on Thursday vs. UT for Senior Day.
– Redshirt-junior forward Malik Cooke, an SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate, has led Carolina in scoring in four of the last six games, and has tallied double-figures in five of the last six games, including a career high 22 points at Tennessee (Feb. 16).
– Freshman point guard Eric Smith dished a season-high seven assists vs. Ole Miss on Feb. 22.
– SEC Defensive Player of the Year candidate, senior forward Sam Muldrow became the all-time leader in South Carolina history with his four blocks vs. Georgia on Feb. 12. Muldrow now has 267 career blocks, which surpassed the previous high-water mark of 249 set by Brandon Wallace during the 2006-07 campaign.
– SEC All-Freshman Team candidate Bruce Ellington has seven 20-point games this season and one 30-point contest (at Furman).
– South Carolina ranks first in the SEC in overall games with 14.7 offensive rebounds per game, while in strictly SEC games, Carolina also leads the pack with 15.3 offensive boards per outing.
– South Carolina ranks fifth in the nation (Feb. 28 NCAA stats) and third in the SEC in blocked shots per game with 6.2 per outing. Muldrow ranks first in the SEC and fourth in the nation in blocks per game (3.4).
– The Gamecocks are 11-0 this season when leading at the halftime break. South Carolina held a halftime lead vs. Ole Miss at 38-34. It marked the first time the Gamecocks held a lead at the intermission since holding a 31-27 advantage at LSU on Feb. 2.
– In league play, the combination of Ellington, Muldrow, Galloway and Cooke account for 46.7 points per game, 72.3% of South Carolina’s offensive production.
– In home games, South Carolina has held its opponent to under 41% shooting in 10 of 17 contests. The Gamecocks held Ole Miss to just 36.9% (24-65) on Feb. 22.
– Senior forward Sam Muldrow recorded just the second triple-double in school history in the SEC opener win over No. 22/24 Vanderbilt, scoring 16 points, collecting a team-high 14 rebounds and blocking a career high 10 shots. It marked just the 21st triple-double in SEC history and the 11th all-time involving blocked shots.
– South Carolina is 94-112 (.456) in games played in the month of March. In those games, Carolina is 12-19 (.387) in SEC regular-season games, 16-19 (.457) in SEC Tournament games, 4-9 in the NCAA Tournament and 21-9 in the NIT.

Scouting Mississippi State
– MSU enters Saturday’s contest having won three of its last five games, including two straight, both on the road. The Bulldogs most recently earned an 88-78 victory at Arkansas to secure the No. 2 seed from the West in the upcoming SEC Tournament.
– Senior guard Ravern Johnson paces the team with 17.4 points in overall games, and 14.8 per SEC outing. Over the course of the last five games, Johnson has hit 60.4% of his shot attempts, including 63.3% from 3-point range.
– Junior guard Dee Bost adds 15.7 points per game in overall games, while sophomore forward Renardo Sidney posts 13.8 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds.

Mississippi State Series
– MSU holds a 14-8 upperhand in the all-time series, including a 7-2 upperhand in games played in Starkville.
– Mississippi State has won four-consecutive games in the series between the two schools.
– The last South Carolina win in the series came in a 66-63 victory at Humphrey Coliseum on Jan. 27, 2007.

By The Numbers
– 24 – Senior forward Sam Muldrow finally surpassed the 23-point mark to set a new career high with 24 points on Thursday vs. Tennessee. Muldrow had hit 23 points on three previous occassions, last season vs. Arkansas, and this season vs. both Kentucky (1/22) and Ole Miss (2/22).
– 17.9/9.8 – in SEC home games this season Muldrow averaged 17.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest, both team highs.
– 55.6% – Sophomore guard Ramon Galloway matched his most efficient outing of the season vs. UT on Thursday, hitting 5-of-9 attempts from the floor. He was also solid from the 3-point line, hitting 3-of-4 attempts, with the fourth attempt a desperation 3 near the end of regulation.
– 74.8% – In the last nine games, beginning with the LSU contest on Feb. 2, South Carolina has shot 74.8% from the free throw line, hitting 107-of-143 attempts. Leading the pack is redshirt-junior forward Malik Cooke, who has hit 34-of-39 (87.2%), and sophomore guard Ramon Galloway, who has hit 24-of-28 (85.7%).
– 34 – South Carolina’s 34 points in the paint vs. UT were the most since posting 40 in an overtime win over Vanderbilt (Jan. 8), while Carolina’s 22 second-chance points vs. the Vols were the most since that same Vandy contest when the Gamecocks collected 24.
– 5 – Muldrow is just five blocks away from hitting 100 for the season. Only two other times in South Carolina history has a player had at least 100 blocks in a season. Danny Traylor had 122 blocks in 1971-72, and 113 in 1972-73.

Up Next For South Carolina
– South Carolina will play either Ole Miss or Arkansas in the opening round of the 2011 SEC Tournament next Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. The Rebels and Razorbacks meet at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday to determine the third seed from the West.