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March 12, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – South Carolina has earned the No. 12 seed and will face No. 13 seed Mississippi State in the opening round of the 2013 SEC Tournament, set to be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., March 13-17. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs are set for a 7:30 p.m. ET start time on Wednesday, with the contest to be televised on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs split the regular season series in 2013, with each team winning on its home court. 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, March 13, 2013
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Arena: Bridgestone Arena (18,160)
Series: Miss. State leads 17-9 (SC leads 2-1 in neutral site contests)
Last Meeting: South Carolina win, 79-72 on March 6, 2013 in Columbia, S.C.
Broadcast: SEC Network (check local listings)
Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Jon Sundvold (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock IMG Radio Network
Sirius: 126; XM: 199
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 concluded their 22nd season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2013. Carolina owns a 133-221 (.375) all-time record in SEC play.
– South Carolina owns a 16-21 (.432) all-time record in SEC Tournament play, which includes a 4-3 record in tournament games played in Nashville. Two of those victories in Nashville came against Mississippi State (2001, 2006).
– Carolina concluded the regular season with a 74-64 loss at Vanderbilt on March 9. Junior guard Brenton Williams led the team with 17 points, but Carolina hit just 23-of-64 attempts (35.9%) in the contest, including just 8-of-30 (26.7%) in the first half. Freshman forward Michael Carrera pulled down a team-best 13 rebounds, but was 0-of-9 from the floor.
– Junior guard Brenton Williams set a South Carolina SEC regular-season record with a career high 38 points to propel the Gamecocks to a 79-72 win at Colonial Life Arena over visiting Mississippi State on March 6 to even the season series against the Bulldogs. Williams hit 10-of-17 attempts from the floor, including 6-of-9 from three point range, all career highs for the Kissimmee, Fla., native. Senior forward Lakeem Jackson pulled down a team high eight rebounds.
– In two games last week (vs. Miss State, at Vandy), Williams averaged 27.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, hit 53.1 percent (17-32) from the floor, including 52.9 percent (9-17) from 3-point range and played 31 minutes in each contest.
– The win vs. Mississippi State on March 6 snapped a seven-game Bulldog win streak in the series with South Carolina.
– Freshman forward Michael Carrera has led the team in scoring in six and in rebounding in nine of the last 12 games, averaging 10.4 points and 7.8 rebounds during the stretch.
– Freshman walk-on guard Brian Steele had a stellar week in practice prior to the Texas A&M contest and was awarded with his first-career start. He scored three points, collected two rebounds and swiped one steal. His 3-point basket with just seconds remaining in the first half tied the contest at 32, which held through halftime. Steele followed with six points and two assists in the start vs. Mississippi State on March 6.

Carrera Named To All-Freshman Squad
Rookie forward Michael Carrera was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team on Tuesday, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. Carrera has had an outstanding year in 2012-13, posting five double-doubles on the season, 12 double-figure scoring games and six double-figure rebounding efforts. Carrera has led or shared the team lead in scoring on nine occassions, and has collected a team best in rebounds 13 times. He has led the team in scoring in six and in rebounding in nine of the last 12 games entering SEC Tourney play, averaging 10.4 points and 7.8 rebounds during the stretch. Among freshmen in the SEC (overall games), Carrera ranks fourth in scoring (10.0) and second in rebounding (7.3). Carrera’s selection in the first in the category for the Gamecocks since Bruce Ellington was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2011.

Williams Sets Scoring Records
Junior guard Brenton Williams scored a career high 38 points to lead the Gamecocks in the victory vs. Mississippi State on March 6, which marked a new South Carolina record for points scored in an SEC regular season contest, and a new Colonial Life Arena record. It marked the first 30-point performance for a Gamecock since then-freshman Bruce Ellington posted 31 at Furman on Dec. 22, 2010, and the most points in a game since Terry Dozier also netted 38 in an 86-85 win over Florida State on March 3, 1987, 26 years ago to the day, in the Metro Conference Tournament. Williams hit 10-of-17 attempts from the floor, including a 6-of-9 mark from 3-point range and a 12-of-12 effort from the free throw line. The 38 points matched Texas A&M’s Elston Turner for the second-most scored by a player from the SEC this season.

SEC Legend – Eddie Fogler
Former South Carolina head coach and SEC great Eddie Fogler will be honored as South Carolina’s 2013 SEC Legend at the Tournament this week in Nashville. During his time at South Carolina, Fogler led the Gamecocks to the 1997 SEC regular season title, two trips to the NCAA Tournament and amassed 123 victories.

Scouting Mississippi State
The Bulldogs enter Wednesday’s contest having won two of their last three games, with the loss coming against South Carolina last week. Mississippi State battled Auburn into overtime, claiming a 74-71 win in the regular season finale to secure the 13th seed in the SEC Tournament. Freshman guard Craig Sword paces the team with 10.3 points per game and freshman forward Gavin Ware leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per outing. The Bulldogs have had to battle injuries all season, with the most recent setback to junior guard Jalen Steele who suffered a torn ACL in the contest at South Carolina last week. The squad is led by head coach Rick Ray in his first season.

Versus Mississippi State In The SEC Tournament
South Carolina owns a 2-1 record against MSU in tournament play, with the last meeting between the two schools an 82-68 Bulldog victory in the second round in Tampa in 2009. Carolina won the previous meeting, a 59-44 victory in the opening round of the 2006 event in Nashville, and also claimed a 69-62 win in the opening round in 2001, also in Nashville.

By The Numbers
13 – Freshman forward Michael Carrera collected 13 rebounds in the contest at Vanderbilt on Saturday. It marked his sixth game this season where he has collected double-figure rebounds.
17 – Junior guard Brenton Williams scored 17 points at Vandy on Saturday, making his average for the week 27.5 points per game after the 38-point record-setting performance vs. Miss State on March 6.
18 – South Carolina dished 18 assists on 21 made baskets in the March 6 victory over Mississippi State. It marked the most assists in a game for Carolina since dishing 20 against Auburn on Jan. 12.
12-of-12 – Williams hit all 12 of his attempts from the free throw line against Mississippi State on March 6. Both the attempts and makes marked career highs for Williams. He hit 39-of-44 (88.6%) attempts from the line in SEC play this season.
13 – Williams has led the Gamecocks in bench scoring 13 times this season, including most recently scoring 17 at Vandy last Saturday. In those games, he averages 14.8 points per game. He has led Carolina in bench scoring in six of the last seven games entering postseason play.