Nov. 29, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Gamecocks host Western Carolina on Monday, continuing a four-game homestand. The Gamecocks look to extend their win streak to seven games vs. the Catamounts. Monday’s matchup marks the first between the two schools since the 2011-12 season, and the ninth overall in the series.
– 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.
– For the third-straight game South Carolina hit over 50% from the field and ran away with a 92-76 win vs. visiting Lipscomb last Friday in an afternoon matinee. Six Gamecocks hit double-figures, led by senior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius’ 17. Junior guard Sindarius Thornwell struggled from the floor, but he posted six assists, leading four Gamecocks with at least five helpers in the contest.
– The Gamecocks captured the 2015 Paradise Jam championship on Nov. 23 after defeating Tulsa 83-75 in the finale. For the second straight game, five Gamecocks registered double-figures, led by senior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius’ game-best 17. Fellow senior forward Michael Carrera was just one rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine boards.
– South Carolina’s 6-0 start to the season is the best start since the 2003-04 Gamecocks began the year 8-0.
– South Carolina senior forward Mindaugas Kacinas and junior guard Sindarius Thornwell were both named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament Team. Thornwell was named the event’s MPV after averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and just 1.7 turnovers per game. Thornwell also collected 2.3 steals per outing, including a season high five vs. Tulsa.
SCOUTING WESTERN CAROLINA
Led by head coach Larry Hunter in his 11th season, Western Carolina enters Monday’s matchup with a 2-3 record, having most recently lost to former Southern Conference foe, College of Charleston by just one at 57-56 last Friday. The Catamounts have wins this season vs. UNC Asheville and Hiwassee, with their other losses to High Point and Cincinnati. Four players average double-figures for WCU, led by senior guard Mike Brown’s 19.2 per game. Brown, the Nov. 17 SoCon Player of the Week for his 23 points vs. Cincinnati and career-best 29 points vs. UNCA, was selected to the league’s preseason all-conference team earlier this fall. Senior forward Torrion Brummitt leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per outing and Brown’s 3.0 assists per game are a team best. The Catamounts attempt 25.6 3s per game, and rank 67th nationally in the category. WCU opponents have hit just 24.7 percent from beyond the arc this season, a number that puts the Catamounts among national leaders at 14th in the most recent NCAA stats.
South Carolina has scored at least 83 points in five of six games this season, capped by its 92-point effort vs. Lipscomb. Last season, Carolina eclipsed the 80-point mark just four total times. Below is a quick look at where the Gamecocks rank in the SEC in a selection of offensive categories (through Nov. 27 games):
Scoring: 2nd, 85.5 points per game (Auburn 1st with 92.5 per game)
FG Percentage: 6th, 45.8 percent (Texas A&M 1st with 51.5 percent)
3-point FG Percentage: 4th, 38.8 percent (Auburn 1st with 43.4 percent)
Rebounding Offense: 2nd, 41.8 per game (Florida 1st with 44.2 per game)
Offensive Rebounds: 2nd, 15.0 per game (Florida 1st with 16.0 per game)
BY THE NUMBERS
6-0 – The 6-0 start to the season marks the first time that a Frank Martin-led team has began the season with a perfect mark through its first six games.
500 – Senior foward Mindaugas Kacinas collected the 500th rebound of his career when he pulled down six rebounds vs. Lipscomb. His 6.8 per game lead the Gamecocks and rank tied for 16th in the SEC.
59.4% – Senior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius ranks fourth in the SEC with a 59.4 field goal percentage this season.
888 – Junior guard Sindarius Thornwell has 888 career points entering the matchup vs. Western Carolina.
50% + – The Gamecocks have hit at least 50% from the floor in three-straight games for the first time since hitting the mark in seven-straight during the 2004-05 campaign.
41.7 – The senior trio of Mindaugas Kacinas, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Michael Carrera average 41.7 points per game this season for Carolina.
South Carolina hosts USF on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. The meeting will be the fifth all-time between the two schools and the first since the 2009-10 campaign. Carolina holds an all-time mark of 3-1 vs. the Bulls.