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Dec. 4, 2014


COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday, marking the first time the Cowboys have traveled to Columbia since the 1975-76 campaign. The matchup is part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The two teams also met in last year’s Challenge, with Oklahoma State posting a 79-52 win in Stillwater. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU with Mike Morgan and Jon Sundvold on the call.

Game Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014
Game Time: 12 p.m. ET
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Broadcast: ESPNU
Talent: Mike Morgan (pxp), Jon Sundvold (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: 119; XM: 191
Series: Series is tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: 79-52, Oklahoma State win, Dec. 6, 2013, in Stillwater, Okla.

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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.
– The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday fresh off their biggest road win since 2008 after defeating Marshall 77-59 on Dec. 1. Sophomore guard Duane Notice exploded for a career high 27 points in the win, hitting 10-of-18 attempts from the floor and also collecting five rebounds, while dishing a team high four assists in 36 minutes. Junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius hit double-digits for the second straight game with 15 points, and sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell notched his third-career double-double with 10 points and a team high 10 rebounds. The Gamecocks hit 47.6 percent from the field in the win, holding the Thundering Herd to just 28.6 percent.
– South Carolina snapped a two-game losing streak with an 89-75 victory over UNC Asheville on Nov. 26, at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks posted solid offensive numbers in the game, hitting 31-of-60 attempts from the floor for a season high 51.7 percent. Chatkevicius led five Gamecocks in double-figures with a career high 17 points. Asheville hit just 36.5 percent from the floor, but guard Andrew Rowsey tallied 30 points, hitting 10 attempts, including six 3s.
– Chatkevicius posted his first-career double-double vs. the Bulldogs on Dec. 1, leading the Gamecocks in points (17), rebounds (13) and also in blocks (3). Hit point and rebound totals were both career highs, and his blocks matched a career high.
– South Carolina ranks 35th in the nation in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 36.4 percent from the field. The Gamecocks rank 62nd in rebounds margin (+6.9), and 47th in steals per game (8.6).

The Cowboys enter Saturday’s matchup receiving votes in both the Associated Press and coaches top 25 polls this week with their perfect 7-0 start on the season. Oklahoma State most recently posted an 87-61 win over North Texas in Stillwater on Wednesday night. The Cowboys also have wins over SE Louisiana, Prairie View A&M, NW Oklahoma State, Milwaukee, Oregon State and Tulsa. Saturday’s matchup will be OK State’s first true road contest of the season, as their wins over Oregon State and Tulsa were at the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas in late November. Junior guard Phil Forte paces the Cowboys with 19.3 points per game after scoring a career-high 32 points – which included five 3s – in the win over North Texas. Senior forward Le’Bryan Nash is the team’s top rebounder at 6.7 per game, but he did not play vs. North Texas due to disciplinary reasons. Former LSU point guard Anthony Hickey is now at OSU, averaging 3.4 assists per game. Oklahoma State is led by Kentucky grad Travis Ford in his seventh season.

With the Cowboys posting a 79-52 victory on their home court on a blustry and chilly day in Stillwater last December, the series is now tied at 1-1. South Carolina won the first-ever matchup between the two schools 70-61 in Columbia on Dec. 23, 1975. Gamecock great Alex English posted a double-double with 22 points and a team high 12 rebounds in that game, while Mike Dunleavy led all scorers with 24 points. Both English and Dunleavy played all 40 minutes of that contest.

12 – Sophomore guard Justin McKie has led the Gamecocks in bench points vs. both Asheville (8) and Marshall (12). His 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting vs. the Thundering Herd marked a career high, and his first-career double-figure scoring game. McKie is averaging 6.2 points per game, and has hit 10-of-19 (52.6) attempts, including 5-of-11 (45.5) from 3-point range.
4 – Junior forward Mindaguas Kacinas posted a career high with four steals at Marshall.
43-39 – Marshall held a 43-39 rebounding advantage over the Gamecocks on Dec. 1, marking the first time this season Carolina hasn’t won the battle of the boards. Marshall’s 18 offensive boards were an opponent season high.
+18 – South Carolina’s 18-point win at Marshall was its biggest win in a true road contest since posting an 84-58 victory at Princeton on Dec. 2, 2008.
10 – Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell struggled from the floor at Marshall, hitting just 4-of-12 attempts – however – he led the Gamecocks in several hustle play categories, including rebounds (10) and blocks (2), while also posting three steals and three assists. Thornwell averages 13.0 points per game this season to lead Carolina.
2.6 – Thornwell’s 2.6 steals per game rank second in the SEC and 27th in the nation.
41 – The Gamecocks have posted two games with 40+ points in the paint this season. South Carolina hit a season high 42 in the opener vs. North Florida, and posted 41 at Marshall.
13 – South Carolina’s 13 steals at Marshall marked the most-ever in a game under the direction of Frank Martin. South Carolina bested the mark of 12, which it hit against Asheville on Nov. 26.

South Carolina will not have a game until Dec. 19, as the squad will take the annual break from competition for final exams. The Gamecocks will host Upstate rival Clemson on the 19th, with that game set to tip at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. The meeting vs. the Tigers will be the 165th all-time, with the Gamecocks entering that matchup with an 88-76 lead in the all-time series. Clemson has won the last two contests.

“Not one of our cleanest performances, but to know where we were at as a program a couple years ago and fast-forward a couple years and to be able to go on the road and play a Conference-USA opponent and be able to win was a step in the right direction for us. When you go on the road, you find out a lot about your players. They’re not in the confines of your gym and you find out who’s ready to go for you and obviously Duane [Notice] did that for us today.” – South Carolina head coach Frank Martin’s opening statment following his team’s win on the road at Marshall on Dec. 1

The NABC and Allstate Insurance announced on Dec. 3, its nominees for the NABC Good Works Team. The community service based award recognizes a distinguished group of student-athletes who have demonstrated a commitment to enriching the lives of others and contributing to the great good in their communities. During his time at South Carolina, Carrera has participated in numerous community outreach events, including visiting the Ronald McDonald House, several events with the South Carolina Special Olympics, volunteering at Harvest Hope food bank, visiting with Boy Scout troops, and he participated in a wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among his many other service events.