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Jan. 1, 2016

Game Information

Date: Sat., Jan. 2, 2016

Tipoff: 6 p.m.

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)

Tickets: GamecocksOnline.com

Broadcast: ESPNU

Radio: 107.5 (in Columbia)/Listen!

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Nationally-ranked South Carolina welcomes former Metro Conference foe, Memphis, to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday, in its final regular-season non-conference matchup. The Tigers own an 18-5 upperhand in the all-time series, and the meeting is the first between the two schools since the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

GAME STORYLINES

– 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.
– South Carolina enters Saturday’s contest ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, and Carolina moved up three spots from last week to No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll. Carolina remains the only undefeated team in the SEC and one of just three unbeaten teams nationally (games through Dec. 31).
– Behind a season high 13 points from rookie forward Chris Silva, the Gamecocks kept their unbeaten streak alive with a 78-56 win vs. visiting Francis Marion at Colonial Life Arena on Dec. 30. Fellow freshman Eric Cobb would pull down a team high seven rebounds, and rookie point guard PJ Dozier collected a season high five steals. The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Patriots 47-42 and scored 29 points off of 22 FMU turnovers.
– Following Saturday’s final non-conference matchup of the regular season, the Gamecocks open SEC play at Auburn on Tuesday evening. The Gamecocks are 8-16 all-time in SEC openers. Carolina’s last road victory in an SEC opener came in a win at Auburn on Jan. 9, 2010.
– South Carolina posted a 75-61 win over St. John’s on Dec. 22 before the holiday break at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The win was Carolina’s first over St. John’s in five tries, and improved the Gamecocks’ record to 11-0. Junior guard Duane Notice hit the 20-point mark for the first time this season and the fifth time of his career, and senior forward Michael Carrera posted the seventh double-double of his career with 16 points and a game high 12 rebounds in the win. The Gamecocks hit 53.8 percent from 3-point range, in comparison, holding the Red Storm to just 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.
– South Carolina hit the 10-0 mark for the first time in over 80 years on Dec. 18, posting a 65-59 road victory at Clemson behind four Gamecocks in double-figures led by senior forward Michael Carrera’s 14 points. The Gamecocks used a 24-1 run in the middle portion of the first half to hold a 41-25 lead at the break. Despite a comeback by the Tigers, which saw them pull within four late in the game, Carolina withstood the run and closed the six-point win. Carrera hit a pair of 3s during the first-half run that sparked the Carolina offense, but his most crucial points in the game came with 22 seconds on the clock when the senior hit two from the free throw line to clinch the win.

GAMECOCKS IN THE POLLS

The Gamecocks continue to be ranked in both of the Top 25 Polls this week, checking in at No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll and No. 24 in the Associated Press Polls.

UP NEXT

South Carolina begins SEC play at Auburn on Tuesday in a 7 p.m. ET matchup vs. the Tigers. It’s Carolina’s first SEC opener on the road since the 2014 campaign at Florida. Dave Neal (pxp) and Daymeon Fishback (analyst) will have the call on the SEC Network. Auburn posted a 71-68 win vs. the Gamecocks last season on its home court.

SCOUTING MEMPHIS

The Tigers enter Saturday’s contest vs. South Carolina with a 9-3 overall record, which includes a 1-0 mark in American Athletic Conference games after a 77-65 win over Tulane on Dec. 29. Four Memphis players average double-figures, led by freshman guard Dedric Lawson’s 15.5 per game. Former Alabama standout, senior guard Ricky Tarrant Jr., also provides double-digit points with 13.7 points per game, while his 3.8 assists per game also lead the team. Memphis averages 79.0 points per game this season, holding opponents to just 66.4 per outing. The Tigers are among the top shot-blocking teams in the country, ranking second in the category behind senior forward Shaq Goodwin’s 2.3 per game. Saturday’s contest will be the first true road game for the Tigers this season, having played all but one game at home thus far. The team is led by head coach Josh Pastner in his seventh season.

BY THE NUMBERS

3rd – South Carolina currently ranks third in the SEC in average attendance this season at 10,057 fans per game.
4th – After collecting a season high five steals vs. Francis Marion, rookie guard PJ Dozier ranks tied for fourth in the SEC with 1.7 assists per game.
13 – 13 different Gamecocks scored in Wednesday’s win vs. Francis Marion, led by rookie forward Chris Silva’s 13 points off the bench.
7 – Freshman forward Eric Cobb pulled down a team high seven rebounds in the win vs. Francis Marion, which also marked a season high for him.
27 – South Carolina ranks 27th in the most recent ESPN BPI (Jan. 1), which accounts for the final score, pace of play, site, strength of opponent and absence of key players in every Division I men’s game.
3 – Junior guard Duane Notice hit three 3s in the Dec. 30 win vs. Francis Marion. It marked the 14th time in his career that he has hit at least three from beyond the arc in a game.
13 – 13 opposing players have fouled out through Carolina’s first 12 games, and opponents are averaging 24.0 fouls committed this season. A deep bench has helped the Gamecocks avoid any DQs so far this season, with an average of 19.4 fouls per game.

SERIES VS. MEMPHIS

The series vs. Memphis dates back to the 1961-62 campaign at the Gulf Coast Tournament in Shreveport, La. The Gamecocks won that contest, however, the Tigers went on to win seven of the next eight meetings in the series. The majority of the matchups between the two schools game in Metro Conference regular-season play, however, the most recent meeting came in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

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