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Feb. 27, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina will play two of its final three regular season contests at home, beginning with Saturday’s matchup vs. Mississippi State. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs will be meeting for the first time this season, and it will be the first meeting in Columbia since 2013. Tom Hart (pxp), Jon Sundvold (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sideline) will handle the call for the SEC Network.

Game Date: Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015
Game Time: 6 p.m. ET
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Broadcast: SEC Network/WatchESPN
Talent: Tom Hart (pxp), Jon Sundvold (analyst), Maria Taylor (sideline)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Sirius: 93; XM: 190
Series: Mississippi State leads 18-10
Last Meeting: 74-62 Carolina win, March 8, 2014, in Starkville, Miss.

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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 suffered a 59-51 loss on the road at Alabama on Tuesday, despite a career high 18 points and nine rebounds from junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius. Sophomore guard Duane Notice added 16 points, including four 3s, but a late 10-3 run from the Crimson Tide secured the Alabama victory.
– Freshman guard Marcus Stroman returned for the Gamecocks at Alabama after missing the previous four games due to a throat infection. Stroman saw 14 minutes of action vs. the Crimson Tide, dishing two assists and collecting one steal.
– Over the course of the last three games, South Carolina has collected an assist on 62% of its made baskets, 35 assists on 56 field goals.
– Following Saturday’s contest, South Carolina welcomes No. 18/16 Arkansas to Colonial Life Arena on March 5 for Senior Night. That contest will be broadcast on ESPN2/WatchESPN.
– Texas A&M led wire-to-wire in a 62-52 win over the Gamecocks in Columbia on Feb. 21. South Carolina hit just 27.1 percent (16-59) from the field in the contest. Junior forward Michael Carrera posted his highest scoring output of the season with 17 points, while he also collected nine rebounds. Notice dished a team high five assists, also collecting three steals in a career high 40 minutes played.
– South Carolina used stellar shooting and nine made 3s in the contest, to post a 64-58 road win at Georgia on Feb. 17. It was Carolina’s first SEC road win of the season. Notice and senior guard Tyrone Johnson led the Gamecocks with 17 points each, with Johnson posting four 3s and Notice three. South Carolina hit 58.3 percent in the opening half to hold a 41-23 lead at halftime.
– South Carolina’s nine made 3s at Georgia marked a season high in the category.
– South Carolina has four victories this season over teams in the top 30 of the RPI (Feb. 27) in Iowa State (12), Oklahoma State (27) and Georgia (29, twice).
– The Gamecocks are in their 24th season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2015. Carolina owns a 142-245 (.366) all-time record in SEC play.
– Frank Martin owns a 63-70 (.473) all-time record in conference games.

The Bulldogs own a 12-16 overall record, including a 5-10 mark in SEC games entering Saturday’s matchup vs. the Gamecocks. Mississippi State is aiming to snap a three-game losing streak, all of which came at home – against Ole Miss, Arkansas and Kentucky. MSU lost to Ole Miss by just six points, and to Arkansas by just four. MSU has won two of its last three SEC road games, with wins at Mizzou and Tennessee. Junior forward Gavin Ware paces the team with 10.2 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per outing, but in league games, junior guard Craig Sword leads the squad with 13.2 points per outing. Ware ranks fifth in the SEC in league games with a team high 8.6 rebounds per game. As a team, the Bulldogs rank third in the league (overall games) with a +3.9 rebound margin. Head coach Rick Ray is in his third season with Mississippi State.

Mississippi State owns an 18-10 upperhand in the all-time series with South Carolina, which includes a 7-5 upperhand in games played in Columbia. The Bulldogs have won three of the last five meetings between the two schools, but South Carolina won last season’s matchup in Starkville, 74-62, behind a 20-point, 11-rebound effort from then-rookie guard Sindarius Thornwell.

74.1% – South Carolina ranks second in the SEC (overall games), hitting 74.1% from the free throw line this season. That number currently ranks second all-time in Carolina history. The 1971 squad holds the school record, as it hit 74.3% (635-855) from the charity stripe.
22 – South Carolina pulled down 17 offensive rebounds at Alabama, scoring a season high 22 second-chance points. The previous high was 21, also against Alabama, on Jan. 13.
69.4 – South Carolina is averaging 69.4 points per game in home games this season, including 60.7 points per game in SEC home contests.
18 – Junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius posted a career high 18 points at Alabama on Tuesday. He hit 7-of-12 attempts from the floor and was a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line. Chatkevicius also collected nine rebounds, including five offensive.
8.3 – Chatkevicius is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game over the course of the last three games. He collected five at Georgia, 11 vs. A&M and nine at Alabama on Tuesday.
3.5 – Among freshmen in the SEC, Marcus Stroman ranks fourth in overall games with 3.5 assists per outing. In strictly league games, he ranks third with 2.6 per outing.
10-8 – The Gamecocks are 10-8 this season when out-rebounding their opponent.
4th – South Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC in average home attendance, as an average of 11,445 fans attend Carolina home games this season.
3rd – South Carolina ranks third in scoring defense in the SEC (overall games), as opponents average just 61.7 points per game. 74.1% – The Gamecocks rank second in the SEC (overall games) in free throw percent, hitting 74.1 percent at the charity stripe this season.
90.7% – Senior guard Tyrone Johnson leads the SEC in strictly league games at the free throw line, as he has hit 90.7% (39-43) from the charity stripe.
34 – According to ESPN’s BPI (Feb. 27), South Carolina’s strength of schedule ranks 34th in the nation this season.

South Carolina will host No. 18/16 Arkansas on Thursday, March 5, on Senior Night. The Gamecocks will honor senior guard Tyrone Johnson, junior guard Austin Constable, and senior manager Reggie Gallant prior to the matchup vs. the Razorbacks. The meeting vs. Arkansas will be the second 2015 matchup between the two schools. The Razorbacks posted a 75-55 win at Bud Walton Arena on Feb. 3. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN2.