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Feb. 28, 2012

February 28, 2012
Coach Horn

The South Carolina men’s basketball team (10-18, 2-12 SEC) will host Mississippi State (19-10, 6-8 SEC) on Wednesday in a contest set to begin at 8 p.m. ET and televised on the SEC Network. South Carolina will honor senior forward Malik Cooke and senior manager Philip Deter in Senior Day festivities set to begin at approximately 7:40 p.m. prior to the game.

Date: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tipoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: Mississippi State leads 15-8
Television: SEC Network (check local listings)
Talent: Clay Matvick (pxp), Barry Booker (analyst)
Radio: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst) Gamecock Radio Network

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Carolina Quick Hits
– South Carolina is in its 104th season of basketball.
– The Gamecocks are in their 21st season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2012. Carolina owns a 129-205 all-time record in SEC play.
– South Carolina will honor senior forward Malik Cooke and senior manager Philip Deter prior to Wednesday’s game during Senior Day Festivities. Cooke, who played the first two seasons of his college career at Nevada, has scored 629 points to date during his time at Carolina, and leads the team in points (346), points per game (12.4) and steals (49) this season. Deter has served as a team manager for two seasons.
– Following Wednesday’s contest vs. Mississippi State, the Gamecocks will conclude the regular season at Georgia on Saturday. In the first meeting between the two schools this season, South Carolina earned a 57-56 victory with Cooke posting the game-winning jumper with just 20 seconds left on the clock. UGA travels to No. 1/1 Kentucky on Thursday prior to the weekend matchup.
– South Carolina suffered a 73-64 loss to visiting Tennessee last Saturday, despite a double-double from Cooke with 17 points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. South Carolina hit just 32.4 (22-68) percent of its shots in the contest, while the Vols hit 52.2 (24-46) percent, including 50.0 (7-14) percent from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington led the Gamecocks with 19 points in the game.
– Sophomore guard Brenton Williams has hit 42.9 percent of his shot attempts over the course of the last five games, averaging 8.0 points per game.
– In strictly SEC games, South Carolina ranks third in the SEC in steals (6.9) and tied for third in the league in blocks (4.4) per game.
– The Gamecocks had one of the toughest starts to SEC play this season, as the squad played Kentucky (currently 1st in the SEC) and Florida (second in the SEC) twice, and Vanderbilt (third in the SEC) once, in the first eight games of the league season.
– In the SEC statistical standings for overall games South Carolina ranks fifth in rebounding defense (33.1), fourth in steals per game (7.0), fourth in turnover margin (+1.6) and is third in the SEC in offensive rebounding (12.5). n Senior forward Malik Cooke ranks fifth in the SEC (all games) with 1.8 steals per game.
– South Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC and is among the nation’s top 30 with 5.0 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks 30th nationally with 2.4 blocks per game, which is third in the SEC.
– In games it has won in 2011-12, South Carolina holds a +10.8 scoring margin over its opponents. To compare, in games it has lost, Gamecock opponents score 11.1 more points per game.
– South Carolina is 430-440-1 all-time in the month of February.
– South Carolina has scored more points in the paint than its opponent 13 times, and has scored more points off turnovers 16 times this season. The Gamecocks average 25.5 points in the paint and average 15.0 points off turnovers per contest.
– When South Carolina played No. 1 Kentucky on Feb. 4, it marked the fourth top-two opponent the Gamecocks faced this season, as the squad had previously played then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 2 Ohio State and the Wildcats when they were ranked No. 2 in early January. Those three teams have an average RPI of 5.3, with Kentucky the highest at 4 (as of Feb. 20 RPI report).

By The Numbers
3-of-4 – Sophomore guard Brenton Williams turned in an efficient 11 points last Saturday vs. Tennessee. He hit 3-of-6 shot attempts in the contest, including a 3-of-4 effort from beyond the arc. In SEC games, Williams paces South Carolina from 3-point range, as he has hit 40.4 percent (19-40) of his attempts.
12 – South Carolina matched a season high with 12 steals vs. Tennessee on Saturday. The Gamecocks posted 23 points off 21 Volunteer turnovers in the contest. It matched the highest point total off opponent turnovers for the Gamecocks in SEC play this season, as South Carolina also posted 23 off 17 Arkansas turnovers on Feb. 11.
16 – South Carolina’s 16 offensive rebounds vs. UT was the most since also posting 16 vs. the Vols in Knoxville on Feb. 8.
19 – Senior forward Malik Cooke has posted 19 double-figure scoring games this season and has posted 34 games with double-digit points out of 58 games played in the Garnet and Black.
+2 – Sophomore forward Damontre Harris has posted 15 games with at least two blocks this season and six games with at least five blocks.

Scouting Mississippi State
The Bulldogs have lost five straight games entering Wednesday’s contest in Columbia … The team owns a 19-10 record this season, including a 6-8 mark in SEC games … MSU’s last win in league play came on Feb. 9 in a home win vs. Ole Miss … Junior forward Arnett Moultrie is the only player in the SEC averaging a double-double in overall games with 16.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per outing … Same in league play, as Moultrie posts 15.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game … MSU posted a 13-2 record in non-conference play with notable wins vs. Arizona and West Virginia … Mississippi State ranks third in 3-point field goal percentage in the SEC in league games, hitting 37.8 of its attempts from beyond the arc.

Up Next
South Carolina concludes the regular season at Georgia on Saturday at 1:47 p.m. ET with the game to be televised on the SEC Network. The Gamecocks will travel to the SEC Tournament next Tuesday in New Orleans.

Honoring The Seniors
Malik Cooke: A native of Charlotte, N.C., Cooke has emerged into a team leader both on and off the court during his time at South Carolina, especially over the course of the 2011-12 season. His on the court leadership shows through his efforts in leading the team in points (346), points per game (12.4) and steals (49). Cooke, who graduated in December with his degree in sociology, has collected two double-double’s this season, has posted 19 double-figure scoring games, and hit the game-winning jumper vs. Georgia in a victory over the Bulldogs earlier this month.
– Philip Deter: Senior manager Philip Deter is a native of Columbia, S.C., and will earn his degree in sport and entertainment management later this spring. Deter has been a team manager for the Gamecocks for two seasons.

Student-Athletes To Be Recognized For Success In The Classroom
South Carolina student-athletes continued academic success in the classroom during the recent fall semester. South Carolina led the SEC in student-athletes named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the sixth consecutive fall semester, more than half of the student-athletes at South Carolina were named to the Athletics Director’s Honor Roll (3.0 GPA and above), and Gamecock student-athletes posted the 10th consecutive semester with a departmental GPA of 3.0, while earning the highest departmental GPA ever for South Carolina athletics in the fall of 2011 with a mark of 3.202. Student-athletes who earned a GPA of 3.0 and higher during the fall semester of 2011 will be honored at halftime of the men’s basketball contest vs. Mississippi State.