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Jan. 6, 2015


COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina hosts Florida on Wednesday in the 2015 SEC opener for both schools. The Gamecocks ride a seven-game win streak into the matchup with the Gators, while Florida has lost two straight. The game marks the fourth time, and the second-straight season, that the two schools have met in an SEC lidlifter. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. ET, with Dave Neal (pxp) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call.

Game Date: Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Broadcast: SEC Network
Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Jon Sundvold (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: 93; XM: 190
Series: Florida leads 42-22
Last Meeting: 72-46 Florida win, March 4, 2014, 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 enters Wednesday’s matchup vs. Florida receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Top 25 Polls. It marks the first time that Carolina has received votes in the AP Poll since Jan. 2009, and the first time with votes in the Coaches Poll since March 2006.
– South Carolina upset No. 9/9 Iowa State on Jan. 3 in a neutral site matchup vs. the Cyclones at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Sophomore guard Duane Notice led three Gamecocks in double figures with 15 points, while senior guard Ty Johnson and sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell posted 13 apiece. Thornwell notched six of those points in the final two minutes of the game, also collecting his lone steal of the contest to seal the win for Carolina.
– The Gamecocks, ranked fourth in the nation in opponent field goal percentage, held Iowa State to just 35.1 percent (20-57) from the field, which was 15 points below their average entering the game at 50.6 percent.
– Carolina and Iowa State combined for just three made 3s in the contest at the Barclays Center, with the Cyclones hitting just one – well below their season average of 8.7 made 3s per game entering the matchup.
– South Carolina is 8-15 (.347) all-time in SEC openers, including a 1-3 mark in lidlifters vs. Florida. The teams also met last season in the first conference game of the year in Gainesville, with the Gators posting a 74-58 win.
– The Gamecocks enter their 24th season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2015. Carolina owns a 138-234 (.370) all-time record in SEC play.
– In the Jan. 5 NCAA RPI rankings, the Gamecocks rank 86.
– South Carolina posted its sixth-straight win with a deciding 91-54 victory over visiting North Carolina A&T on Dec. 30 at Colonial Life Arena. Six Gamecocks scored in double figures, including all five starters, with Mindaugas Kacinas posting a team high 16 off the bench. South Carolina held the Aggies to just 16 points in the first half, and NC A&T hit just 32.7% (18-55) from the field for the game.

The highly entertaining Harlem Globetrotters will bring their spectacular show to Colonial Life Arena for two shows this Saturday! As a preview, a very special guest from the world famous team will take the court at halftime on Wednesday as men’s masketball takes on Florida. In 2011 she became the first woman to don the red, white and blue since 1993 – now she’s bringing her ball handling talents to Colonial Life Arena. Don’t miss the chance to see Harlem Globetrotters’ star TNT MADDOX this Wednesday at halftime!

South Carolina is receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Top 25 Polls this week after their 9-3 non-conference record, capped by an upset win over No. 9/9 Iowa State last Saturday. The Gamecocks appear in the AP poll votes for the first time since Jan. 2009, and in the Coaches poll votes for the first time since March 2006.

South Carolina’s win vs. ninth-ranked Iowa State was the Gamecocks’ first win over a top-10 opponent since Jan. 26, 2010, when Carolina defeated top-ranked Kentucky. It was also the Gamecocks’ first neutral site win over a ranked opponent since defeating 14th-ranked Tennessee in the 2006 SEC Tournament. The win propelled South Carolina’s RPI 43 points, from 129 to 86, and gave the Gamecocks a 9-3 record for non-conference play this season.

The Gators enter conference play having lost their last two games, most recently suffering a 63-59 loss at home to UCONN. Florida holds a record of 7-6 and their RPI stands at 144. Junior guard Michael Frazier II leads the squad in scoring with 14.1 points per game, and junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith is just behind at 13.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per outing. The Gators have played a tough non-conference schedule, with games against Miami (Fla.), Georgetown, North Carolina, road contests at Kansas and Florida State and last Saturday’s game vs. the Huskies. Gator opponents are posting just 56.8 points per game, which ranks 17th nationally, and UF’s 8.2 steals per game rank 46th. The Gators are led by head coach Billy Donovan in his 19th season in Gainesville.

Florida holds a 42-22 upperhand in the all-time series between the Gamecocks and Gators, and UF has won six-straight meetings entering Wednesday’s contest. Florida holds a 20-13 upperhand in games played in Columbia.

Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell was named SEC Player of the Week on Jan. 5 after averaging 12 points, 6.5 rebounds and two assists as the Gamecocks downed North Carolina A&T and No. 9 Iowa State. It is the first conference player of the week honor for the Lancaster, S.C., native. He earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors three times last season. Thornwell opened the week posting 11 points, five rebounds and two steals, while matching a season high with four assists, and a career high with two blocks vs. North Carolina A&T. He followed that up with 13 points and eight rebounds against No. 9 Iowa State in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Of those 13 points, ten would come in the second half, including six points in the final two minutes and a key steal to seal the win with 12 seconds left and the Cyclones looking to tie the game down 63-60. The win was Carolina’s first over a top-10 opponent since 2010.

22 – South Carolina ranks 22nd in the nation in scoring margin, having defeated six of their last seven opponents by double figures, the exception being the four-point win vs. Iowa State.
17.1 – Sophomore guard Duane Notice has hit double figures in each of Carolina’s last eight games, averaging 17.1 points per contest during the stretch. He has led the Gamecocks in scoring in five of those games.
3 – Notice matched a career high with three steals vs. Iowa State.
8-1 – South Carolina is 8-1 this season when leading at the half.
5 – South Carolina’s win vs. Iowa State was its first in a game this season when the scoring margin is five points or less.
11 – The Gamecocks have lost three games this season by a combined 11 points.
35.4 – South Carolina has out-scored all 12 of its opponents in 2014-15 in points in the paint, averaging 35.4 points in the paint per game.
600 – Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell is eight points away from scoring 600 for his career.
4.3 – Rookie guard Marcus Stroman ranks seventh in the SEC with a team high 4.3 assists per outing.

Freshman forward Shamiek Sheppard made his collegiate debut on Dec. 30 vs. North Carolina A&T, after missing the first 10 games of the season due to a knee injury suffered this summer which required surgery. Sheppard battled through the rehab process and was nearly a month ahead of his projected schedule for return. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native played in his second collegiate game at the Barclays Center in Carolina’s upset win over No. 9/9 Iowa State on Jan. 3, scoring two points and collecting two rebounds.

South Carolina travels to Ole Miss on Saturday to take on the Rebels in SEC play. Ole Miss holds a 17-15 upperhand in the all-time series between the two schools. Carolina last won in Oxford on Feb. 2, 2008.