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Jan. 29, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina faces a tough road test in league play this week when it travels to face No. 4/4 Florida in Gainesville. The contest marks the first for Frank Martin in his native state as head coach of the Gamecocks. The contest will be televised on the SEC Network with longtime voices of the league in Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Barry Booker (analyst) on the call for the 8 p.m. ET matchup. Fans can also listen on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network via and on 107.5 The Game in Columbia with Andy Demetra (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (analyst).

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
Tipoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Arena: Stephen C. O’Connell Center (11,548)
Series: Florida leads 39-22
Last Meeting: Florida win, 74-66, Feb. 2, 2012 in Gainesville, Fla.
Television: SEC Network
Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Barry Booker (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock IMG Radio Network
Sirius: None; XM: None
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
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Carolina Quick Hits
– South Carolina is in its 105th season of basketball.
– The Gamecocks are led by first-year head coach Frank Martin. His associate head coach is Brad Underwood and his assistant coaches are Matt Figger and Lamont Evans. Andy Assaley is the director of basketball operations.
– The Gamecocks are in their 22nd season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2013. Carolina owns a 131-211 (.383) all-time record in SEC play.
– South Carolina shot a season high 57.7 percent (30-52) from the field, including a near season best of hitting 7-of-12 (58.3%) from beyond the arc, in a convicing 75-54 victory over Arkansas at Colonial Life Arena last Saturday. The win marked Carolina’s first in league play at home this season. The 21-point margin of victory marked the largest in conference play since an 18-point win over Kentucky on Feb. 25, 2009. It was the first margin of at least 20 points in SEC play since an 83-61 win over Mississippi State on Feb. 11, 2006. Both of those wins occurred at Colonial Life Arena.
– After trailing 15-3, South Carolina ended the first half vs. Arkansas on a 40-11 run over the final 14:49 of the first half.
– Carolina’s 75 points vs. Arkansas were the most in a regulation SEC game since posting a 79-73 win vs. Ole Miss on Feb. 22, 2011.
– Over the course of the last five games, freshman forward Michael Carrera is averaging 9.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game. Carrera scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds vs. Arkansas.
– Carrera’s 6.9 rebounds per game (overall games) ranks third among freshmen in the SEC.
– One of the statistical categories that Frank Martin and his staff focus on is field goal percentage defense. In SEC games thus far in 2013, the Gamecocks rank fourth in the league in the category, as opponents hit just 40.5 percent. – South Carolina held an eight-point halftime lead on the road at No. 22 Missouri on Jan. 22, but the Gamecocks were unable to hold the lead down the stretch and the Tigers responded with 44 points in the second half to claim a 71-65 win. Mizzou struggled mightly from the field in the opening half, hitting just 6-of-30 attempts, but 28 points from the free throw line in the contest kept the Tigers within striking distance throughout.
– The contest at Mizzou on Tuesday marked a battle of the top two rebounding teams in the SEC this season. The Tigers held a 44-43 edge on the glass, with both teams collecting 16 offensive rebounds in the game. Missouri capitalized for 20 second-chance points, with the Gamecocks posting just 10 in the category.
– South Carolina recently suffered a 58-51 loss at home to Vanderbilt on Jan. 19. The Gamecocks hit just 14-of-59 (23.7%) attempts from the field, including just 5-of-29 (17.2%) during the opening half. Carolina’s 19-of-25 (76.0%) effort from the free throw line kept the Gamecocks within at least 10 points of the Commodores throughout the contest, but Vandy finished the contest hitting 10-of-16 from the free throw line over the final five minutes of play to secure the seven-point win.
– South Carolina earned the first SEC win for head coach Frank Martin at LSU on Jan. 16 in an 82-73 overtime decision. Carolina was once again stellar in overtime, hitting 9-of-10 attempts in the extra session from the free throw line. Freshman forward Michael Carrera posted 23 points in 24 minutes off the bench to pace the Gamecocks in the contest.
– Carrera (23 points, 10 rebounds) and senior forward Lakeem Jackson (11 points, 11 rebounds) both collected double-doubles in the contest at LSU, marking the first time that two Gamecocks have had a double-double in the same game for the first time since the 2008 campaign.
– In three overtime wins this season, Carolina has hit an impressive 31-of-34 (91.1%) attempts from the free throw line during OT.
– Senior guard LaShay Page, a post-graduate student from Dillon, S.C., will not compete with the South Carolina men’s basketball team for the remainder of the 2012-13 season due to an academic eligibility issue.

Scouting Florida
The Gators enter Wednesday’s game having won their last eight games, including all six of their SEC contests. Florida owns a 16-2 overall record, with its only losses coming at Arizona and at Kansas State. The Gators have not lost a game since Dec. 22. Senior guard Kenny Boynton leads the team and ranks 12th in the SEC with 13.6 points per game. Senior forward Eric Murphy adds 12.8 per game, senior guard Mike Rosario provides 11.8 per game, and junior center Patric Young adds 11.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Scottie Wilbekin was named the SEC Player of the Week earlier this week after averaging 15.0 points and 6.0 assists in road victories at Georgia and Mississippi State last week. Wilbekin ranks second in the conference (behind Missouri’s Phil Pressey) with 5.7 assists per league game. Wednesday’s game marks just the third SEC home contest for the Gators in 2013. Florida is 8-0 in home games this season. The squad is led by head coach Billy Donovan in his 17th season in Gainesville.

Up Next For The Gamecocks
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday to host Georgia in a mid-afternoon contest set to tip at 1:47 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Florida Series
Florida owns a 39-22 upperhand in the all-time series with South Caroina, including an 18-7 advantage in games played in Gainesville. The Gators have won the last three games in the series, and seven of the last 10 dating back to the 2008 campaign. Below is a breakdown of the last 10 meetings between the two schools:

By The Numbers
57.7% – Carolina’s 57.7 percent (30-52) from the field vs. Arkansas marked the highest percentage in any game this season for the Gamecocks, and the highest in an SEC contest since the Gamecocks set the record for the highest field goal percentage in a league contest when Carolina earned an 85-64 win vs. Tennessee on Jan. 17, 2004, hitting 63.6 percent (35-55) from the field.
+16 – South Carolina out-rebounded Arkansas by 16 boards on Saturday, 42-26, the second-highest margin for the Gamecocks this season (+19 vs. Manhattan). South Carolina’s +7.5 rebounding margin (overall games) ranks third in the SEC and 20th in the nation.
2-of-2 – Senior forward Lakeem Jackson entered last week’s Missouri contest with three career made 3-point baskets. Jackson has now hit from beyond the arc in both the Missouri contest and the win vs. Arkansas on Saturday.
10-of-10 – Freshman forward Laimonas Chatkevicius enters the Florida game having started the last four contests, contributing 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest in the stretch. Prior to missing a free throw late vs. Arkansas, Chatkevicius had made his last 10 attempts from the line, dating back to a 2-of-2 performance at Mississippi State on Jan. 9.
20 – Junior guard Brian Richardson is enjoying a career year in 2012-13. Richardson matched his career high with his second 20-point game of the SEC season on Saturday vs. Arkansas. The Wilson, N.C., native is averaging 7.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in league play.