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Dec. 30, 2011

The South Carolina men’s basketball team (6-6) continues non-conference play when it hosts USC Upstate (8-5) on Saturday in a game set to begin at Noon. The contest will be televised on SportSouth.

Date: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Tipoff: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
Series: South Carolina leads, 2-0
Television: SportSouth (check local listings)/ESPN3
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Eddie Fogler (analyst)
Radio: Derek Scott (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)

Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Carolina Quick Hits
– South Carolina continues its longest homestand of the season when it hosts USC Upstate on Saturday. The Gamecocks own a 2-0 all-time record against the Spartans.
– Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington will miss Saturday’s contest vs. USC Upstate as he prepares with the Gamecock football team to compete in the Jan. 2, Capital One Bowl in Orlando. Ellington, a football SEC All-Freshman team member, posted 707 all purpose yards during the 2011 football season for Carolina.
– Paced by Bruce Ellington’s season high 17 points and Damien Leonards 14 points in 16 minutes, South Carolina earned a 57-45 victory over intrastate rival Wofford on Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena in the first game following the break for the holiday. South Carolina hit a season high 11 3s in the contest, including five by Ellington and four from Leonard.
– Sophomore foward Damontre Harris matched his career high with five blocks vs. Wofford. His season total of 26 blocks in 12 games (2.2 per game) matches his total from last season, which he posted in 29 games (0.9 per game).
– SE Louisiana’s 26 turnovers on Dec. 21 marked the second-most by a Gamecock opponent under the direction of Darrin Horn. The most opponent giveaways under Horn was 34 by NC Central on Dec. 16, 2008. It also marked a South Carolina opponent record for turnovers in a contest.
– South Carolina ranks fifth in the SEC and among the nation’s top 30 with 5.5 blocks per game.
– The Gamecocks are just two contests away from opening up SEC play at No. 3 Kentucky on Jan. 7. It will mark the fourth time in its history that South Carolina will face Kentucky to open the SEC season.
– South Carolina ranks first in the SEC in rebounding defense, as Carolina opponents collect just 31.8 rebounds per game. The Gamecocks have out-rebounded seven of 12 opponents this season.
– Sophomore point guard Bruce Ellington made his return to the practice court with the Gamecock hoops team on Nov. 28. Ellington is also a member of the Gamecock football team. To date, Ellington has scored two touchdowns this season, including a 49-yard reception for a score vs. Clemson on Dec. 4.
– In games it has won this season, South Carolina holds a +11.8 scoring margin over its opponents. To compare, in games in has lost, Gamecock opponents score 8.5 more points per game.
– South Carolina is 282-267 (.513) all-time in the month of December. South Carolina earned a 4-2 mark last season during the month.
– South Carolina owns a 19-8 (.703) all-time record against current schools in the Atlantic Sun Conference. South Carolina’s last win against an A-Sun squad came in a 57-41 victory over USC Upstate on Nov. 23, 2010. Carolina’s last loss to an opponent from the league came in a 73-72 overtime loss to Campbell on Jan. 12, 1994.

By The Numbers
11 – The 11 3s vs. Wofford matched the second-most by a Carolina team under the direction of Darrin Horn, which has occurred eight times. It was the most made 3s in a game for South Carolina since hitting 11 vs. Radford on Nov. 19, 2010.
55% – South Carolina posted a season high 11 3s in the win over Wofford on Wednesday. Carolina’s 55% (11-20) from beyond the arc was the best for the Gamecocks (at least 10 attempts) since connecting on 56.3 percent (9-16) of its attempts in a win over Elon on Nov. 12, 2010.
14 – South Carolina dished a season high 14 assists – on 20 made baskets – in its win over Wofford. It was the best percentage of assists per basket (70.0%) this season.
45 – South Carolina’s 45 shot attempts against Wofford marked the second-fewest in a contest this season.
Under 50 – South Carolina has held its last two opponents under the 50-point plateau, as SE Louisiana tallied just 43 points and Wofford 45. It is the first time the Gamecocks have held consecutive opponents under 50 points since Furman posted 48 on Dec. 5, 2008, followed by NC Central with 43 points in the next contest on Dec. 16.
50% – Freshman sharp shooter Damien Leonard has hit 50% (10-20) of his attempts from beyond the arc in the last five games. In the five games before that, Leonard hit just 29.4% (10-34). When asked about Leonard’s recent shooting success during the post game press conference after Wofford, Gamecock head coach Darrin Horn said, “I think that if you had to pinpoint something it would be that he is making the shots that he is taking. Just being more ready to shoot.”

Scouting USC Upstate
The Spartans have not played since Dec. 19, when they collected their second-straight A-Sun win with a 80-75 road victory at Florida Gulf Coast … The squad is led by Eddie Payne in his 10th year … Payne was an assistant at South Carolina from 1987-89 and was the associate head coach from 1990-91 … Upstate is paced by sophomore foward Craig Torrey with 16.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game … Freshman guard Ty Greene adds 10.6 points per game for the Spartans … Saturday’s game at South Carolina marks the sixth-straight away contest for USC Upstate.

USC Upstate Series Information
South Carolina and USC Upstate have met just two previous times, both Gamecock wins in Columbia.