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Jan. 23, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina concludes a two-game homestand when top-ranked Kentucky visits Colonial Life Arena on Saturday. South Carolina won the most previous meeting between the two schools, posting a 72-67 win over the No. 17/15 Wildcats in Columbia on March 1, 2014. Saturday’s matchup will be broadcast on ESPN at Noon. Mark Jones (pxp), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Kaylee Hartung (sideline) will be on the call.

Game Date: Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015
Game Time: 12 p.m. ET
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Broadcast: ESPN/WatchESPN
Talent: Mark Jones (pxp), Dick Vitale (analyst), Kaylee Hartung (sideline)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: 91; XM: 91
Tickets: Sold out
Series: Kentucky leads 47-11
Last Meeting: 72-67 South Carolina win, March 1, 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 battled back from a double-digit deficit in the second half, but a 3 from Justin McKie that would have tied the contest just missed with 16 seconds to go, and makes from the foul line sealed a 66-62 win for Tennessee on Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena. Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell posted an SEC season high 17 points in the contest, while sophomore forward Demetrius Henry added 12 points, eight rebounds and one block. Tennessee hit a Gamecock opponent high 57.5% (23-40) from the field, including 55.6% (10-18) from 3-point range in the game.
– The Gamecocks are 1-10 all-time against opponents ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. Their lone victory came in a 68-62 home win over Kentucky on Jan. 26, 2010.
– Saturday’s contest vs. Kentucky is sold out. It is the sixth sellout in Colonial Life Arena history for a South Carolina men’s basketball game, and the first since hosting Kentucky on Jan. 22, 2011.
– The South Carolina football team will be recognized at halftime of the game vs. Kentucky on Saturday. Head football coach Steve Spurrier and several players from the 2014 Duck Commander Independence Bowl championship squad are expected to be on hand, with the Head Ball Coach slated to address the crowd.
– Despite battling back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the contest midway through the second half, South Carolina suffered a 71-68 setback at Auburn on Jan. 13, falling to 1-3 in SEC play. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, as the squad hit 50% from the field. Sophomore guard Duane Notice paced Carolina with 16 points, marking his sixth game this season with 15 or more points. Senior guard Ty Johnson added 13, sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell chipped in 13 as well, and junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius posted his first-ever SEC double-double with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
– Johnson has posted double-figures in four of five SEC games to date, and leads Carolina with 13.0 points per game in league play. He leads the league in SEC games with a 90.0% mark at the free throw line, having hit 18-of-20 thus far.
– South Carolina is averaging 74.5 points per game in home contests this season, holding a +14.1 scoring margin over its opponents in those contests.

The Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And SneakersTM Awareness Week (January 19-25, 2015) is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise awareness about the fight against cancer, and promote the American Cancer Society as a place for help and support. While coaching games during the week, coaches wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing one’s cancer risk. Frank Martin and his staff will wear sneakers on the sideline vs. both Tennessee and Kentucky this week.

Kentucky enters Saturday’s game with an 18-0 mark, which includes a perfect 5-0 mark in league games. The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents by 24.7 points per game, which leads the nation. UK is holding its opponents to a nation-leading 32.2 percent from the field and Wildcat opponents hit an average of just 17.9 field goals per outing. Sophomore guard Aaron Harrison leads the team with 11.5 points per game, and rookie Devin Booker is the only other Wildcat in double figures with 10.4 points per outing. Junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein paces the squad on the boards with 6.9 per game. Seven different Wildcats average at least 7.4 points per game. Kentucky is playing just its fourth road game of the season on Saturday. Head coach John Calipari is in his sixth season leading Kentucky.

Kentucky holds a 47-11 all-time lead in the series with South Carolina, including an 18-7 mark in games played in Columbia. The Gamecocks won the most recent meeting between the two schools, a 72-67 decision in Columbia on March 1, 2014. UK had won the previous six meetings between the two schools. The Gamecocks won three-straight over the Wildcats in 2009 and 2010, with that 2010 win over UK when the `Cats were ranked No. 1.

South Carolina is 1-10 all-time vs. the AP No. 1.

12/8 – After not scoring in the Jan. 13 game at Auburn, sophomore forward Demetrius Henry responded with a 12-point, eight-rebound performance vs. Tennessee. Henry provides 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for Carolina this season.
1 vs. 8 – Saturday will feature two of the top defenses in the country, as Kentucky opponents hit a nation-leading 32.2% from the floor this season, and the Gamecocks rank eighth in the category allowing opponents to hist just 36.6% from the field.
17 – Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell scored an SEC season high 17 points vs. Tennessee on Tuesday. Thornwell hit just 4-of-14 from the field, but he was near flawless at the charity stripe, hitting 8-of-9 attempts.
33.5 – South Carolina is averaging 33.8 points in the paint this season, and has out-scored its opponents 16 times this season in points in the paint, holding a 10-6 record in those contests.
6 – Sophomore guard Duane Notice has led or tied for the team lead in scoring a team-best six times this season, including his 16-point effort at Auburn. Notice paces the Gamecocks with 11.9 points per game in overall games this season.
4th – South Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC in average home attendance, as an average of 10,797 fans attend Carolina home games this season.
4th – South Carolina ranks fourth in scoring defense in the SEC, as opponents average just 61.0 points per game.
4th – The Gamecocks rank fourth in the SEC in free throw percent, hitting 73.0 percent at the charity stripe this season.
2nd – South Carolina ranks second in the SEC in rebounding margin with a mark of +6.4 for the year. The Gamecocks are 9-4 this season when they out-rebound their opponent.

South Carolina travels to LSU on Wednesday, Jan. 28 for a 7 p.m. ET matchup vs. the Tigers. That contest will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Mike Morgan and Dane Bradshaw on the call. South Carolina holds a 15-14 advantage in the all-time series with LSU. The Gamecocks won the last meeting in Baton Rouge, 82-73, on Jan. 16, 2013, in overtime for Frank Martin’s first SEC victory