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Nov. 25, 2014


COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina will host UNC Asheville on Wednesday in a mid-week matchup at Colonial Life Arena. The game is the first between the two schools since the 2007-08 campaign. South Carolina owns a 7-2 advantage in the all-time series vs. the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks look to rebound after falling in their final two contests at the Charleston Classic to Charlotte and Akron. Wednesday’s game marks the first for Gamecock head coach Frank Martin vs. the Bulldogs.

Game Date: Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014
Game Time: 8 p.m. ET
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Broadcast: SEC Network/WatchESPN
Talent: Tom Werme (pxp), Tony Delk (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: 136; XM: N/A
Series: South Carolina leads 7-2
Last Meeting: 61-58, UNC Asheville win, Jan. 5, 2008, in Columbia, S.C.

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– 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 host UNC Asheville for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign, when the Bulldogs pulled a 61-58 upset in Columbia. Asheville scored the final 10 points of that game for the win.
– Carolina’s game vs. Asheville marks its fifth game in the last nine days – Baylor (Nov. 18), Cornell (Nov. 20), Charlotte (Nov. 21), Akron (Nov. 23), Asheville (Nov. 26).
– The Gamecocks battled back from a 10-point first-half deficit to tie the contest vs. Akron late in the second half, but the Zips used solid free throw shooting down the stretch to claim a 68-63 victory for third place at the Charleston Classic last Sunday. South Carolina had three in double-figures, Thornwell with 13, Notice with 12 and Chatkevicius the top scorer off the bench with 11, but a poor shooting performance in the early part of the first half – the Gamecocks hit just one of their first 13 attempts from the floor – saw Akron lead for the majority of the contest.
– Despite 20 points from Thornwell, the Gamecocks dropped a 65-63 decision to Charlotte on Nov. 22 in the semifinals at the Charleston Classic. 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 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.

Asheville enters Wednesday’s matchup with the Gamecocks with a 2-2 record early this season, with wins over East Carolina and Johnson and Wales, and losses at Wake Forest and at ETSU. Sophomore guard Andrew Rowsey paces the squad with 25.8 points per game, which leads the Big South and ranks fourth nationally. Rowsey was the 2014 Big South Rookie of the Year, and led the conference in scoring with 20.3 points per game last season. Freshman forward Kem Ubaru has won two-straight Big South Freshman of the Week awards entering Wednesday’s contest. He averages 13.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Nick McDevitt is in his second season as head coach at Asheville. McDevitt was a four-year letterwinner for UNCA.

South Carolina leads the all-time series versus UNC Asheville, 7-2, with all nine of those games played in Columbia. The first meeting was an 85-57 Gamecock win on Dec. 3, 1980. Asheville won the last meeting between the two schools, 61-58, on Jan. 5, 2008.

15.8 – Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell averaged 15.8 points per game in four games last week to lead Carolina during the stretch. He has scored double-figures in four straight games entering Wednesday’s matchup vs. Asheville – 16 vs. Baylor, 14 vs. Cornell, 20 vs. Charlotte and 13 vs. Akron. Thornwell leads the Gamecocks with 13.8 points per game, which ranks 16th in the SEC.
+9.6 – South Carolina owns a +9.6 rebound margin this season, having out-rebounded all five of its opponents thus far. That mark ranks fifth in the SEC and 46th nationally.
10.0 – 14.7 – The Gamecocks are averaging 10.0 turnovers per game in their two victories this season, compared to 14.7 turnovers per game in losses.
2.8+ – Three Gamecocks are averaging at least 2.8 assists per game this young season with Ty Johnson dishing 2.8 per game, Duane Notice with 3.6 per outing, and rookie guard Marcus Stroman ranks tied for 10th in the SEC with a team high 4.0 assists per game.
19.2+ – Eight different Gamecocks average at least 19.2 minutes per game, led by Thornwell’s 28.8 minutes per outing.

South Carolina travels to Marshall for its first true road contest of the season on Monday, Dec. 1. The game will be broadcast on CBSSN with a tip time of 7:30 p.m. ET. The meeting is the seventh all-time between the two schools, and will be the first in Huntington since the 1980 campaign. South Carolina leads the all-time series 4-2 after a 92-65 win over the Thundering Herd last December in Columbia. Marshall is led by first-year head coach Dan D’Antoni.

“That we are right there. We’re coming off a stretch where you’re playing Baylor, who is a Sweet 16 team last year. We play Charlotte who – look at the run they had last year at this time of the year – four of their starters, three are four year guys, and one of them is a three year guy. They understand a little better than us. We’re right there with Baylor, right there with them [Charlotte], once again today. We didn’t play real well today. We didn’t. But I don’t want to take away from Akron. That’s not fair to those kids and that program. Those kids earned that win and we didn’t. But we’re right there. Someone asked the question to start, but we’re maybe four possessions away from being undefeated. But, we’re not. Bottom line is we need to understand that we’re that close and we have some problems we need to fix. If we don’t fix them we’ll continue to fall short. If we fix them, we’ll be ok.” South Carolina head coach Frank Martin on what he learned about his team playing three games in four days at the Charleston Classic

– The Gamecocks owned the boards with a 45-32 advantage for the game and have out-rebounded the opposition in each game this season.
– The Gamecocks entered Sunday averaging 12 offensive rebounds per game. They would have 15 by halftime and 21 for the game. Demetrius Henry led the team with seven offensive boards.
– After leading the team again with 13 points, Sindarius Thornwell wrapped up the weekend averaging 15.8 points in the tournament.
– The total margin of defeat in three games this season for Carolina has been just 11 points.