Nov. 15, 2015
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina continues non-conference action when it hosts Oral Roberts on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game is the second in a stretch of five games in 10 days for the Gamecocks. The meeting is the third all-time between the two schools, and the first since the 1988-89 campaign.
– South Carolina is in its 108th season of varsity basketball in 2015-16.
– Carolina is led by fourth-year head coach Frank Martin. Alongside him are associate head coach Matt Figger, assistant coaches Perry Clark and Lamont Evans and director of men’s hoops operations, Andy Assaley.
– Beginning with the Norfolk State contest, the Gamecocks will play a stretch of five games in 10 days – NSU, Oral Roberts and then three games at the Paradise Jam beginning on Friday.
– The Gamecocks return at least 72 percent of their stats in all major categories, including returning five of their top six scorers, with junior guard Duane Notice’s 11.7 points per outing in 2014-15 leading the pack.
– Four seniors don the Garnet and Black this season in Michael Carrera, Laimonas Chatkevicius, Mindaugas Kacinas and Brian Steele. Due to recurring knee issues, Steele will serve as a student assistant coach this season.
– South Carolina earned an 84-69 victory over Norfolk State in its season opener on Saturday. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by junior guards Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice with 14 apiece. Senior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius added 13 points and freshman forward Chris Silva posted 12 with a game high nine rebounds.
– South Carolina held the Spartans to just 33.9% from the field, that marks the 19th opponent in the last 34 games that Carolina has held below 40% from the field.
– Freshman guard TeMarcus Blanton saw limited action in the opener vs. Norfolk State, but it marked his return from a severe hip injury suffered during the 2014-15 preseason.
– Following Saturday’s win vs. Norfolk State, Carolina owns a 79-29 (.731) all-time record in season openers, including a perfect 10-0 record in the last 10 seasons. The last season-opening loss for the Gamecocks came against the Ohio Valley’s Tennessee Tech during the 2000-01 season, as the Golden Eagles edged the Gamecocks, 73-67. The Gamecocks earned an 81-56 victory over North Florida in last season’s lidlifter.
– Carolina returns eight letterwinners, including four starters from last season’s squad.
– Seven newcomers join those eight returning letterwinners, including freshmen guards PJ Dozier, Jamall Gregory and John Ragin, rookie forwards, Raymond Doby, Chris Silva and Eric Cobb and R-sophomore transfer Jarrell Holliman.
– PJ Dozier was named to the 2015 McDonald’s All-American squad, earning the start in the contest. Dozier is the fourth McDonald’s All-American in Gamecock history, the others include PJ’s uncle, Terry Dozier, South Carolina’s all-time leading scorer BJ McKie and Rolando Howell.
SCOUTING ORAL ROBERTS
The Golden Eagles posted an 80-65 win over Missouri State in their opener on Friday, after defeating Rogers State and Central Oklahoma in exhibition games. ORU was picked to finish third in the Summit League preseason poll and senior guard Obi Emegano was tabbed as the preseason player of the year. Jalen Bradley led ORU vs. Missouri State with 16 points and four assists, while Albert Owens added 14 points and three blocks. Emegano was held to 15 points after averaging 18.3 a season ago. The Golden Eagles are led by head coach Scott Sutton in his 17th season.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – Junior guard Sindarius Thornwell collected three steals vs. Norfolk State. Thornwell ranked 10th in the SEC last season with 1.3 steals per game.
42 – The 42 free throws attempted vs. Norfolk State marked the most by a Carolina team under the direction of Frank Martin. The previous high was 41 vs. Arkansas on March 13, 2014.
38 – The Gamecock bench provided 38 points in the contest vs. Norfolk State, paced by Notice’s 14. Carolina averaged 16.8 bench points per game last season.
54.1% – Forward Mindaugas Kacinas currently ranks eighth in Carolina history with a career field goal percent of 54.1. Kacinas has led the team in the category the past two seasons.
12.6 – Keep an eye on senior forward Michael Carrera. The three-year starter finished last season posting 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over the course of the final five games of the campaign.
South Carolina travels to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands for the 2015 Paradise Jam, which begins Friday when the Gamecocks take on DePaul. It marks Carolina’s first-ever trip to the event. Friday’s matchup will be televised on CBS Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET. The Gamecocks will play either Florida State or Hofstra in the second round.