Jan. 15, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday to host Missouri in SEC action. The Gamecocks look to rebound after suffering their first loss of the season on Tuesday at Alabama.
– 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 is ranked No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll, it’s highest ranking since 1998, while Carolina jumped to No. 15 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll.
– Alabama jumped out to an early 10-2 advantage behind the hot shooting hand of sophomore Riley Norris, and the Gamecocks never recovered from the run, falling 73-50, in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, marking Carolina’s first loss of the season. Senior forward Michael Carrera was the lone Gamecock in double figures with 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds for his ninth-career double-double and third of the season.
– For the third game in a row, junior guard Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks in scoring, posting 19 to pace Carolina in a comeback win versus Vanderbilt at Colonial Life Arena last Saturday. En route to his 19, Thornwell tallied the 1,000th point of his career, becoming the 42nd member of the Carolina 1,000-point club. Senior forward Mindaugas Kacinas also tallied double-figures with 13. The star of the game was the Gamecock defense, holding the Commodores to just 32.8 percent from the floor (Vandy came into the matchup averaging 47.7 percent from the field.)
GAMECOCKS IN THE POLLS
South Carolina ranks No. 19 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll after opening SEC play with a pair of wins, while the Gamecocks jumped five spots to No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
South Carolina will play two SEC road games next week, the first at Ole Miss on Tuesday, before traveling to Knoxville for a mid-day Saturday matchup vs. the Vols. Carolina suffered a loss in the 2015 regular-season meeting with the Rebels, but posted a 60-58 victory on three last-second free throws from senior guard Tyrone Johnson in the SEC Tournament last March. Carolina only faced Tennessee once in 2015, but it was a Gamecock win in Knoxville, the first road win in the series for Carolina since 2002.
SERIES VS. MISSOURI
South Carolina and Missouri have met just five times with the Tigers holding a slight 3-2 upperhand in the series. Four of the games have come in the SEC regular season, but the most recent matchup was a 63-54 Carolina win the opening round of the 2015 SEC Tournament.
GAME BALL PRESENTATION
Prior to Saturday’s matchup vs. Missouri, head coach Frank Martin will present junior guard Sindarius Thornwell with a game ball, commemorating his 1,000th career point, which he scored in last Saturday’s contest versus Vanderbilt. Thornwell became the 42nd member of the Carolina 1,000 point club.
COACH MUSCHAMP TO SPEAK AT HALFTIME
Gamecock head football coach Will Muschamp will address the crowd at Colonial Life Arena during halftime of Saturday’s game versus Missouri. Coach Muschamp will also introduce his staff to the crowd.
South Carolina men’s basketball student-athletes and coaches will be wearing a gold ribbon during warmups and during Saturday’s game to help bring awareness to pediatric cancer research in support of Missouri assistant coach Brad Loos’ five-year old daughter, Rhyan, who was diagnosed with cancer last fall.