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Dec. 29, 2014

Coach Martin
Tyrone Johnson and Duane Notice

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina returns from the holiday break to host North Carolina A&T on Tuesday in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. South Carolina rides a five-game win streak into the matchup, having most recently posted a 26-point win over Coker College on Dec. 21. Tuesday’s contest will be broadcast on SEC Network+ with Andy Demetra and Hall of Famer Alex English on the call.

Game Date: Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Broadcast: SEC Network+
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Alex English (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Derek Scott (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: N/A; XM: N/A
Series: First Meeting

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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 have won five straight after posting a 26-point win versus visiting Coker College on Dec. 21 with a final score of 78-52. Four Gamecocks scored in double-figures, led by sophomore guard Duane Notice’s team-best 19 points. Junior forward Michael Carrera pulled down a team high eight rebounds in his second contest back after missing three games due to a concussion.
– In the Dec. 29 NCAA RPI rankings, the Gamecocks rank 95.
– In its first game in nearly two weeks due to the break for final exams, South Carolina extended its win streak to four games, and snapped a two-game losing streak to instate rival Clemson with a 68-45 victory over the Tigers at Colonial Life Arena on Dec. 19. In front of 11,992 boistrous fans, sophomore guard Duane Notice dropped 19 points, including a career-best five 3s, and senior point guard Ty Johnson dished a career high nine assists, to pace the Gamecocks to victory. The Gamecocks’ win over Clemson was their biggest over the Tigers since the 1971 campaign, and the biggest point spread in the series since 1994.
– South Carolina held Clemson to just 29.8 percent from the field, as the Tigers hit just 17-of-57 attempts. It marked the third-straight game that the Gamecocks held their opponent under 30% from the field.
– South Carolina extended its then-season-long win streak to three games on Dec. 6 with a 26-point victory over visiting Oklahoma State, defeating the Cowboys 75-49. Sophomore guard Duane Notice posted 20 points to lead three Gamecocks in double figures (Thornwell and Johnson with 13 apiece), hitting the 20-point plateau in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Notice hit 3-of-6 from the 3-point line, while also collecting four rebounds.
– Junior forward Mindaugas Kacinas led the Gamecocks on the glass with 12 rebounds vs. Oklahoma State, marking his third double-figure rebounding game of the season and just two shy of matching his career high. Kacinas leads the Gamecocks with 6.8 rebounds per contest, which ranks seventh in the SEC. His 3.2 offensive boards per game rank fourth in the league and 49th nationally.

North Carolina A&T is 2-12 on the season after most recently snapping a 12-game losing skid with a 58-54 victory over NC Wesleyan on Sunday. The game vs. NC Wesleyan was A&T’s first at home since Nov. 17. Junior forward Bruce Beckford leads the team with 15.3 points per game, and also collects a team best 7.9 rebounds per outing. Rookie point guard Austin Williams dishes 3.7 assists per game to lead the squad. The duo were the stars in the victory over NC Wesleyan, with Beckford posting a game best 18 points, and Williams dishing three assists and collecting four steals. North Carolina A&T is led by head coach Cy Alexander in his third season. Alexander was a long time coach at SC State and also at Tennessee State before his time with the Aggies.

Tuesday’s matchup vs. NC A&T marks the first-ever between the two schools.

21 – South Carolina dished 21 assists on 31 made baskets vs. Coker, with rookie point guard Marcus Stroman’s eight helpers leading the way. Senior guard Ty Johnson dished five, and sophomore guard Duane Notice collected three assists. The Gamecocks rank fifth in the SEC, dishing 16.0 assists per game this season.
2.0 – Stroman ranks 10th in the SEC with an assist to turnover ratio of 2.0.
5th – South Carolina’s opponents have hit just 33.8 percent from the floor this season, ranking the Gamecocks fifth nationally in field goal percentage defense. 23.3 – The Gamecocks have defeated their last four opponents by an average of 23.3 points per game.
47.0% – In six home games this season, Carolina has hit 47.0 percent of its attempts from the field, and is scoring 76.0 points per game. The Gamecocks have won five at home, with the only loss coming against Baylor on Nov. 18.
54.2% – In six home games this season, Duane Notice has been stellar from beyond the arc, hitting 54.2 percent (13-24). He is contributing 13.0 points per game in home contests.
16 – Sophomore forward Demetrius Henry scored a career high 16 points vs. Coker. Henry was 6-of-8 from the field, and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. He also blocked a team-best three shots.

South Carolina travels to New York City to play No. 12/12 Iowa State on Jan. 3, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The meeting will be the first-ever between the Gamecocks and Cyclones. During his time in the Big 12, Frank Martin amassed a record of 7-3 vs. Iowa State.

“We obviously didn’t play very well offensively to start the game. We had turnovers, bad cuts, lazy cuts and bad passes. I think we had eight turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game. What never suffered was our defense. At least we were able to stay consistent and not lose steam. We weren’t great defensively, but we didn’t just break down and eventually we had some guys play the game the right way. That led to some baskets and we were able to create some separation.” – South Carolina head coach Frank Martin’s on his team’s second-half performance vs. Coker on Dec. 21.