Jan. 29, 2016
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina hosts Alabama on Saturday in Columbia, marking the second meeting between the two schools this season. Alabama won on its home court just over two weeks ago to give the Gamecocks their first loss of the season. The game is South Carolina’s second at home this week, as the Gamecocks posted an 84-74 win versus Mississippi State on Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena.
SUITS AND SNEAKERS
The week of Jan. 25-31 is the NABC’s Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Week, a nationwide event when basketball coaches across the country unite for a common cause — saving lives from cancer! Coaches and their staff are encouraged to wear sneakers with their suits while coaching games to raise awareness about the fight against cancer and to share the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing one’s risk of the disease, and to promote the American Cancer Society as a place for people facing cancer to turn for free information, help, and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition this season, coaches and teams will wear special laces in honor of Lacey Holsworth, an avid basketball fan. The laces can be purchased at Shoe Carnival, and will help in the fight against cancer, and to raise awareness about the disease.
– 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 receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll, while Carolina is No. 22 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Gamecocks have been ranked for the past six weeks in the Coaches Poll, rising to as high as 15th, and were ranked for five straight weeks in the AP poll before falling out of the Top 25 this week.
– South Carolina responded after just its second loss of the season with a solid performance at home versus Mississippi State on Tuesday. Led by a career night from senior forward Michael Carrera, who tallied a career high 34 points, and matched a career high with 15 rebounds, Carolina earned the 84-74 win. Junior guard Sindarius Thornwell was also in double-figures at 15 points on the night, while junior guard Duane Notice added 13 points, and senior forward Mindaugas Kacinas pulled down 10 rebounds.
– Carrera became the first Carolina player since the Gamecocks joined the SEC to score at least 30 points and collect 10 rebounds in a game.
– South Carolina is 26th in the most recent NCAA RPI (Jan. 29).
– The Gamecocks are in their 25th season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2016. Carolina owns a 149-248 (.375) all-time record in SEC play.
GAMECOCKS IN THE POLLS
South Carolina is receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll, while Carolina is No. 22 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Gamecocks have been ranked for the past six weeks in the Coaches Poll, rising to as high as 15th, and were ranked for five straight weeks in the AP poll before falling out of the Top 25 this week.
South Carolina is hosting its annual Legends Weekend this weekend in Columbia. The event begins on Friday with an evening reception at the Frank McGuire Club at Colonial Life Arena, and continues on Saturday morning with a Tip-Off Club brunch, followed by an opportunity for Legends to attend the team’s shoot around in advance of that night’s matchup versus Alabama. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., legends will be signing autographs on the concourse at the Arena before tip off versus the Crimson Tide at 6 p.m. Some of the Legends scheduled to attend include Alex English, Jamel Bradley, Jimmy Collins, Nate Davis, Chuck Eidson, Zam Fredrick, Hank Martin and Bryce Sheldon.
The Crimson Tide are 11-8 on the season and 2-5 in SEC games, with their league wins coming against South Carolina on Jan. 13, and in their most recent contest, a 63-57 comback win versus Tennessee on Tuesday. Just two average double-figures for the Tide, in senior guard Retin Obasohan at 15.2 points per game and junior forward Shannon Hale at 11.0 per outing. In league games, four average double-figures, led again by Obasohan at 18.1 per game. The Crimson Tide used a 16-2 run over the final four minutes of the contest versus Tennessee on Tuesday for the comeback victory. Obasohan led the charge with 22 points, while Hale matched a season high with 20 in the win. Alabama is led by first-year head coach Avery Johnson.
South Carolina hits the road for two-straight games next week, beginning with a Tuesday-night matchup at Georgia. The Gamecocks tallied two wins vs. the Bulldogs last season, including at Stegeman Coliseum, but UGA won the final meeting in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals. Following its contest at Georgia, Carolina travels to face SEC leader No. 5/5 Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday. The Aggies have posted wins in both of their home games versus Carolina since joining the SEC for the 2013 campaign.
BY THE NUMBERS
7th – South Carolina ranks seventh nationally in total rebounds with 598 (42.3 per game) this season.
34 – Senior forward Michael Carrera’s 34 points against Mississippi State were the most scored by a Gamecock since Brenton Williams tallied 32 in a road contest at Missouri on Jan. 25, 2014.
19.2 – Carrera has led the Gamecocks in scoring in four of the last five games, during that stretch he is averaging a team best 19.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
30-35 – Over the course of the last five games, Carrera has hit 30-of-35 free throw attempts.
18 – Sophomore point guard Marcus Stroman played 18 minutes in the second half vs. Mississippi State, dishing two assists.
81.3 – In 11 home games this season, the Gamecocks average 81.3 points per game.
10 – Senior forward Mindaugas Kacinas pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with seven points in the win vs. MSU. It marked Kacinas’ 15th career game with double-figure rebounds and his third of the season.