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Oct. 26, 2013

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Athletics Department, in conjunction with the Gamecock Club and My Carolina Alumni Association, hosted its first Tip-Off Tailgate Party with Gamecock Basketball Saturday night at Colonial Life Arena. More than 3,200 fans got their first glimpse of the Gamecock men’s and women’s basketball programs with shooting contests and scrimmages from both teams.

In the 3-point shooting contest, three players from each team lined up with the winners battling it out for Gamecock Basketball’s 3-point title. Redshirt sophomore Tina Roy edged out senior Brenton Williams 18-17 for the overall championship, hitting her final shot just before the buzzer to seal the title.

South Carolina women’s head coach Dawn Staley invited students to play “Let’s Make A Deal” with a chance to win a variety of prizes, including an iPad Mini. While none of the students Saturday night were able to win, the game will continue throughout the season.

The women scrimmaged first, taking on their male practice players after some more creative introductions than fans get to see on game day. The 10-minute scrimmage ended in a 20-10 victory for the Gamecocks. Staley thanked the crowd for coming out and for supporting both teams this season, stressing the importance of making Colonial Life Arena a place that intimidates opponents throughout the season.

Four students engaged in a hot dog eating contest between scrimmages. The winner, Ryan, took home an Under Armour gift pack of apparel.

On the men’s side, fans learned that freshman Demetrius Henry wears No. 21 because Kevin Garnett is his favorite NBA player during the introductions that led to a 15-minute intra-squad scrimmage. The Black team, led by sophomore Michael Carrera, brought home the win over the White team, 40-30.

Men’s head coach Frank Martin echoed Staley’s sentiments, thanking the 2,225 students who attended. He went on to offer those students a chance to win a ticket and bus ride to his team’s game at Tennessee on Feb. 8 by coming to 10 of his team’s first 13 appearances this season, including tonight’s Tip-Off Tailgate Party.

After fans watched the first quarter of the Gamecock football game at Missouri, student Dave Hardy stepped up to try a half-court shot for $10,000 but could not connect.

Men’s and women’s basketball open play with exhibitions next week, both of which are free admission. The women host North Greenville on Fri., Nov. 1, at 7 p.m., and the men take on USC Aiken at 2 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 3.

Fans can purchase tickets for both men’s and women’s basketball by visiting or calling 1-800-4SC-FANS.