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Nov. 2, 2011

November 2, 2011
Coach Horn

The South Carolina men’s basketball team will host Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday in Carolina’s lone exhibition contest of the season. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. for the contest at Colonial Life Arena, with the matchup to be televised on SportSouth.

Date: Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Series: Series is tied at 1-1
Television: SportSouth (check local listings)
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Eddie Fogler (analyst)
Radio: None
Live Stats:

South Carolina Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Carolina Quick Hits
– South Carolina is in its 104th season of basketball.
– The Gamecocks are led by fourth-year head coach Darrin Horn.
– South Carolina is set to play 19 contests at Colonial Life Arena this season, including Thursday’s exhibition vs. Kentucky Wesleyan.
– For the fourth-consecutive season, South Carolina will open its season with an exhibition contest against Kentucky Wesleyan. The Gamecocks defeated the Panthers 75-55 during the 2008-09 campaign, earned a 78-55 win in 2009-10 and collected a 71-58 victory over KWC last season.
– Redshirt-senior forward Malik Cooke enters the season as South Carolina’s top returning scorer with 9.4 points per game last season. Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington led the team with 12.8 points per game, but Ellington will not return to the basketball squad until the conclusion of the Gamecock football season, during which he is playing as a wide receiver and kick returner among other positions on the field.
– South Carolina begins the regular season next Friday, Nov. 11, when it hosts Western Carolina at 7 p.m. The contest will be televised on SportSouth.

Returning For The Gamecocks
– South Carolina returns seven letterwinners to its 2011-12 squad in senior forward Malik Cooke, junior forward Lakeem Jackson, sophomore guard Brian Richardson, sophomore guard Eric Smith, sophomore guard Bruce Ellington, sophomore forward Damontre Harris and sophomore forward RJ Slawson. Redshirt-freshman Carlton Geathers will also take the court this season. South Carolina returns 63.3 percent of its scoring, 63.1 percent of its field goals, 69.0 percent of its rebounding and 67.6 percent of its minutes played.

Scouting Kentucky Wesleyan
– Kentucky Wesleyan enters Thursday’s exhibition contest ranked No. 15 in the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) preseason poll. The squad was predicted to finished second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference this season behind defending NCAA D-II Champion Bellarmine. KWC is led by Todd Lee, entering is seventh season at the helm of the Panther program. Kentucky Wesleyan made its 37th trip to the NCAA Tournament last season, which is a Division II national record. Senior forward Anthony Young collected Top 25 All-America recognition by Basketball Times this preseason, while senior guard Cardell McFarland received honorable mention All-America honors by Division II Bulletin. KWC continues exhibition play at No. 10 Pittsburgh next Monday.

Non-Conference Schedule
– Contests against at least five teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament highlight the 2011-12 South Carolina men’s basketball non-conference schedule. South Carolina will host 11 non-conference contests at Colonial Life Arena, including one exhibition, the first two rounds of the Las Vegas Invitational, Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge and Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State. The Gamecocks will face at least six teams that compiled 18 or more wins last season, including North Carolina, Southern California or UNLV, Clemson, Ohio State and Wofford, which all advanced to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina is slated to face five BCS schools during the coming non-conference portion of the schedule.

Gamecocks To Compete In Las Vegas Invitational
– South Carolina will compete in its first regular season tournament since the 2009-10 season this fall when it participates in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Gamecocks will host Tennessee State and Mississippi Valley State in Columbia before traveling to Las Vegas to play North Carolina and either Southern California or UNLV. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Tar Heels marks the first between the two former Southern and Atlantic Coast Conference rivals since the 1996-97 campaign.

Garnet And Black Welcome Three Newcomers
– South Carolina signed freshmen Anthony Gill (Fr. – F – 6-8 – 235 – Charlotte, N.C. – Charlotte Christian School) and Damien Leonard (Fr. – G – 6-4 – 192 – Greenville, S.C. – J.L. Mann) and junior college transfer Brenton Williams (So. – G – 5-11 – 172 – Kissimmee, Fla. – Osceola/Santa Fe College) to join the squad for the 2011-12 season.

2012 SEC Tournament
– The 2012 SEC Tournament returns to New Orleans, La., next spring, marking the third time the city has hosted the event. It will be the first time the tournament will be held at the New Orleans Arena. The SEC Basketball Tournament semifinals and championship game will be televised nationally on ABC, while the first two rounds of the event will be televised on the SEC Network.

2011 Big East/SEC Challenge
– The University of South Carolina men’s basketball team will host Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia. The Gamecocks and Friars have met seven previous times with Providence holding a 4-3 edge in the series. Every game of the series has been played in the month of December. South Carolina won the most recent matchup between the two schools, a 68-67 road win on Dec. 6, 2007.

SEC Divisional Play
– Starting with the 2011-12 season, this year marks the first time there will not be an East/West Division champion since the conference split into two divisions in 1992. The regular season standings will be listed from one through 12. This season the schedule will still reflect the divisions of years past, as South Carolina will still play the five schools who were also in the East – Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt – twice, while playing the former West schools – Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State – once during the regular season.

Up Next For South Carolina
– South Carolina will host Western Carolina on Nov. 11, in the season opener for both schools. Tip off is set for 7 p.m., with the contest to be televised on SportSouth.