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Nov. 19, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina opens tournament play at the Charleston Classic against Cornell on Thursday at TD Arena in Charleston. The game is the second all-time between the two schools, and the first since the 1970-71 campaign. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Bob Picozzi and Dino Gaudio on the call.

Game Date: Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014
Arena: TD Arena (5,100)
Broadcast: ESPN3
Talent: Bob Picozzi (pxp), Dino Gaudio (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: 119; XM: 190
Series: South Carolina leads 1-0
Last Meeting: 83-60, South Carolina win on Dec. 26, 1970 in New York City

Game Notes | @GamecockMBB

– South Carolina is in its 107th season of varsity basketball in 2014-15.
– The Gamecocks are led by third-year head coach Frank Martin. His associate head coach is Matt Figger, his assistant coaches are Perry Clark and Lamont Evans, and his director of operations is Andy Assaley.
– South Carolina returns 11 letterwinners from last season’s 14-20 team, including starters, sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell, junior forward Michael Carrera, junior forward Mindaguas Kacinas and sophomore forward Demetrius Henry. Senior guard Tyrone Johnson started nine games before being sidelined with an injury as well.
– South Carolina looks to rebound on Thursday after suffering a 69-65 loss to Baylor on Tuesday in Columbia. The game was part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. Despite a career high 21 points from Johnson and four Gamecocks in double figures, Baylor held on to a slight lead at the end of regulation and point guard Kenny Chery hit two free throws with one second remaining to secure the victory. The game featured six ties and six lead changes, with both teams shooting poor from 3-point range, as Baylor hit just 33.3 percent (6-18) and the Gamecocks 23.8 percent (5-21).
– Carolina’s participation in the Charleston Classic is its second time in the event, as the Gamecocks also participated in the 2009 edition, posting a 2-1 record with wins over LaSalle and USF, before suffering an 85-70 loss to Miami (Fla.) in the Championship game.
– South Carolina’s game vs. Cornell on Thursday is one of four first-round games at the Classic. Also participating are Akron, Charlotte, Drexel, Miami (Fla.), Penn State and Southern Cal.
– The Gamecocks tipped off their season with a solid 81-56 victory over North Florida on Nov. 14, led by nine different Gamecocks posting at least six points in the win, led Henry and Johnson with 12 points each. The win pushed head coach Frank Martin’s all-time record in season openers to 8-0 for his career.
– After the Nov. 14 win over North Florida in the 2014-15 season opener, Carolina owns a 78-29 (.728) all-time record in season lidlifters, including a perfect 10-0 record in the last 10 seasons. The last season-opening loss for the Gamecocks came against the Ohio Valley’s Tennessee Tech during the 2000-01 season, as the Golden Eagles edged the Gamecocks, 73-67.
– The Gamecocks return 71.3 percent (1,658/2,323) of their scoring from last season. The biggest void was left by the graduation of senior guard Brenton Williams who tallied 505 points.
– South Carolina posted a 92-47 victory over Benedict in the team’s lone exhibition game this season. Johnson led the Gamecocks with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win. Carrera was huge on the boards, collecting 15 rebounds, while junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius also pulled down double-digit rebounds with 12. Sophomore guard Duane Notice accounted for nine of Carolina’s 23 assists (on 32 made baskets) in the game.

Cornell is led by fifth-year head coach Bill Courtney, and the Big Red has already matched its win total from a season ago with victories at George Mason and vs. Colgate. Cornell opponents have hit just 37.1 percent from the field early in the season and the Big Red is averaging over five blocked shots per game. The biggest difference from last year is the return of first-team All-Ivy selection Shonn Miller, who missed the 2013-14 season with a shoulder injury. The 6-7 forward returned with a bang, recording 21 points and 13 rebounds in the upset of George Mason and collecting 20 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals at Loyola (MD). Miller leads the team with 16.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

South Carolina won the only other meeting against Cornell, 83-60, on Dec. 26, 1970, in New York City, competing in the 1970 ECAC Holiday Festival Tournament. Carolina was led by John Roche and and Tom Riker, who scored 28 and 26 points, respectively in the win. Our very own Casey Manning, who handles color analyst duties for our radio broadcast, tallied his first-career point vs. the Big Red in that victory.

The Gamecock Club will host a headquarters at Leaf for the Charleston Classic on Thursday. The headquarters will be open from 2-7 p.m. ET, and is just a six minute walk away from TD Arena. There will be giveaways, and Cocky and the Carolina cheerleaders will be there. Leaf is located at 310 Meeting St., in Charleston. All Gamecocks are welcome!

23.8% – The Gamecocks have struggled from beyond the arc this season, hitting just 9-of-32 attempts.
10 – Rookie point guard Marcus Stroman continued to play well in just his second-career game. He scored 10 points and dished three assists, with one block and one steal in 27 minutes played vs. Baylor. Stroman’s six assists in the North Florida contest were the most in a Carolina freshman debut since Bruce Ellington dished seven in his first college game vs. Elon on Nov. 12, 2010.
11,882 – South Carolina fans have been strong at Colonial Life Arena during the early season, as an average of 11,882 fans have cheered on the Gamecocks vs. North Florida and Baylor.
60.9 – Senior guard Tyrone Johnson leads the Gamecocks with a 60.9 field goal percent thus far in the 2014-15 campaign. Johnson has hit 14-of-23 attempts from the field, and has posted a 3-of-9 mark from 3-point range.

South Carolina will play either Charlotte or Penn State on Friday in the Charleston Classic second round. The Gamecocks own a 2-1 record in the all-time series vs. Charlotte, and also a 2-1 mark in the series with Penn State.

South Carolina played in the 2009 Charleston Classic, posting two wins, over LaSalle and USF, before falling to Miami (Fla.) in the Championship game. Below is a quick rundown of those games:
– In the tourney opener vs. LaSalle, Dominique Archie led the Gamecocks to victory with 17 points. The Gamecocks led by two at the half, but started the second half on a 13-4 run and built a 17-point lead midway through the half.
– Devan Downey was the top scorer with 17 points in the victory over USF. Clutch free throw shooting from the Gamecocks – hitting 11-of-14 in the final 1:49 – secured the victory.
– Carolina lost Archie to injury in the first half in the Championship game vs. Miami. Miami outscored the Gamecocks 11-5 in the final 2:25 to clinch it. South Carolina led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but Miami came back to take a 34-31 halftime lead.