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Nov. 22, 2014

Video preview with Associate Head Coach Matt Figger

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Gamecocks will face Akron on Sunday in the third-place game at the 2014 Charleston Classic after suffering a 65-63 loss to Charlotte in the semifinals on Friday night at TD Arena in Charleston. Sunday’s game will tip at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Game Date: Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014
Game Time: 6:30 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
Live Stats:
Series: South Carolina leads 2-0
Last Meeting: 78-45, South Carolina win, Dec. 28, 2013, in Columbia, S.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.
– The Gamecocks will face Akron for the third time in the last calendar year on Sunday in the third-place game of the 2014 Charleston Classic. Despite 20 points from Thornwell, the Gamecocks dropped a 65-63 decision to Charlotte on Sunday in the semifinals. Thornwell had a chance from 3 at the buzzer, but the shot hit the rim and didn’t fall. Thornwell also led the Gamecocks with eight rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes played.
– South Carolina and Akron met twice last season, first in the 2013 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 25, and then three days later in Columbia. The Gamecocks won both those contests, 69-59 in Honolulu, and 78-45 in Columbia.
– South Carolina and Akron also met in the third-place game of the 2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, with the Gamecocks winning that contest, 69-59.
– South Carolina easily defeated Cornell on Nov. 20 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.

The Zips are currently 2-1 on the young season and 1-1 in games played at the Charleston Classic. Akron has wins over UMBC and Southern Cal, with its lone loss against Miami on Friday in the Charleston Classic. Head coach Keith Dambrot is in his 11th season leading the Zips, and Akron has posted at least 20 wins in each of the last nine seasons. Rookie guard Noah Robotham and junior center Pat Forsythe lead the Zips with 10.7 points per game this season. Forsythe also pulls down 5.3 rebounds per outing. The Zips are only hitting 39.9 percent from the field early in the season, and have also struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 63.4 percent.

The Gamecocks and Zips have met twice previously, both times last season. First in the 2013 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 25, and then three days later in Columbia. The Gamecocks won both those contests, 69-59 in Honolulu, and 78-45 in Columbia. Then-freshman Duane Notice led the Gamecocks in the Christmas Day meeting with 15 points, and then-senior guard Brenton Williams scored 24 points in the home matchup.

11.8 – Despite a season high 17 turnovers vs. Charlotte, the Gamecocks are only averaging 11.8 turnovers per contest, compared to 15.0 for opponents. Carolina’s +3.3 turnover margin ranks fourth in the SEC entering Sunday’s game vs. Akron.
7.5 – Junior forward Mindaguas Kacinas has posted solid numbers early this season, averaging 7.5 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game. Kacinas has posted two double-figure rebounding games this season with 11 vs. both North Florida and Cornell, while he pulled down six to go with 11 points vs. Charlotte on Friday. Kacinas is averaging 3.8 offensive boards per game.
17.0 – South Carolina is scoring 17.0 points per game off of opponent turnovers this season, including 18 off Charlotte turnovers on Friday.

The Gamecocks return to Columbia to host UNC Asheville on Wednesday evening at Colonial Life Arena. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the matchup will be broadcast on the SEC Network. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series with the Bulldogs 7-2, however Asheville won the most recent meeting, 61-58, in Columbia on Jan. 5, 2008.