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Nov. 21, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. – After posting a 69-45 victory over Cornell in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2014 Charleston Classic, the Gamecocks will face Charlotte on Friday in the Semifinal Round. The contest will be the first between the two schools since the 2000-01 campaign, and the first neutral site matchup since the 1996-97 season. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPNU with Bob Picozzi and Dino Gaudio on the call.

Game Date: Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Arena: TD Arena (5,100)
Broadcast: ESPNU
Talent: Bob Picozzi (pxp), Dino Gaudio (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: N/A; XM: N/A
Series: South Carolina leads 2-1
Last Meeting: 98-77, Charlotte win on Dec. 2, 2000, in Charlotte, N.C.

Tickets | | 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 easily defeated Cornell on Thursday in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2014 Charleston Classic at TD Arena on the campus of the College of Charleston. The Gamecocks held the Big Red to just 26.9 percent from the field, which ties for the second-lowest field goal percentage by a Carolina opponent under the direction of head coach Frank Martin. South Carolina also struggled from the floor, hitting just 37.9 percent (22-58).
– Thornwell finished with 14 points to lead Carolina vs. Cornell. He scored 13 of those points in the first half, including 10 of the Gamecocks’ first 12 points in the game.
– 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 a 69-65 victory for the Bears on Nov. 18 at Colonial Life Arena. 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.
– 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.

Charlotte is 2-0 on this young season after defeating Penn State, 106-97, in double-overtime in the quarterfinal round of the Charleston Classic on Thursday. Five 49ers posted double-figures in that contest, led by Braxton Ogbueze’s 26 points and Mike Thorne Jr.’s, double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds. The squad is led by head coach Alan Major in his fifth season. The 49ers, who return nine letterwinners and four starters off the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off title team, were picked to finish third in the preseason Conference USA coaches poll, with senior guard Pierria Henry named to the preseason All-Conference USA team.

Charlotte and South Carolina have met three previous times, with the Gamecocks holding a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series. The teams have met in Columbia, in Charlotte, and on a neutral court, also in Charlotte. Friday’s meeting marks the first since the 2000-01 campaign.

78.8% – After another strong performance from the free throw line vs. Cornell, hitting 17-of-21 attempts (81.0%), the Gamecocks rank third in the SEC in free throw percentage, hitting 78.8 percent for the season thus far.
+4.3 – The Gamecocks also rank third in the SEC in turnover margin with a mark of +4.3. South Carolina is averaging just 10 turnovers on the year.
8.0 – Junior forward Mindaguas Kacinas leads the Gamecocks and ranks ninth in the SEC with 8.0 rebounds per game. Kacinas has reached double-figures on the boards in two of three games this season.
4.0 – Rookie point guard Marcus Stroman is averaging a team high 4.0 assists per game this season, which ranks tied for ninth in the SEC and is tops among freshmen in the league.

South Carolina will play either Akron or Miami on Sunday in the final round of the Charleston Classic. The Gamecocks own a 2-0 upperhand in the series vs. Akron after defeating the Zips twice last season, and Miami leads the all-time series between the two schools 6-3. The Gamecocks and Hurricanes met in the 2009 Charleston Classic Championship game, with Miami claiming an 85-70 win.

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.