Aug. 30, 2016
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Tuesday his team’s non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2016-17 campaign, Martin’s fifth season in Columbia. The slate features 14 games, with 10 home contests, including one exhibition. Highlighting the non-conference portion of the schedule is the Gamecocks’ participation in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational, as well as a matchup versus Seton Hall in the Under Armour “Reunion” doubleheader at Madison Square Garden in mid-December. The Gamecocks will face eight teams that advanced to the postseason a year ago, with four of those NCAA Tournament participants, including Syracuse, which advanced to the Final Four.
“Putting together a great non-conference schedule is a big part of our jobs every year,” Martin said. “Once again we have challenged our guys by playing difficult away games and continuing to excite our fans with some great home matchups. We’re fortunate that we continue to play Clemson on a year-in, year-out basis, so this year Clemson comes to us. We are also excited about bringing the University of Michigan into our building along with some other teams that were all in the postseason this past year in La Tech, Holy Cross, Monmouth, SC State and Vermont and Lander. Coupled with that, we’ve got games at Memphis and South Florida and we have Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden and Syracuse at the Barclays Center – great opportunities to take our team into other programs’ home courts along with exposing us to the national media of New York City in playing in two of the great basketball venues in our country.”
South Carolina opens its 109th season of varsity basketball hosting Newberry in an exhibition contest set for Nov. 6. The Wolves posted an 18-12 overall record last season, and return South Atlantic All-Freshman Team member D.J. Copeland to the hardwood this fall. Regular-season action begins when Louisiana Tech visits Columbia on Nov. 11. The Bulldogs posted a 23-10 overall record last season and advanced to their fourth-straight postseason with a bid in the Inaugural Vegas 16.
Three straight home matchups that are part of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational dot the schedule next, as Holy Cross (Nov. 13), Monmouth (Nov. 15) and South Carolina State (Nov. 18) will all visit Colonial Life Arena in mid-November. The reigning Patriot League Champions, Holy Cross returns four starters from last season’s NCAA Tournament squad, while Monmouth returns 15 members of its NIT team from a season ago. The Hawks are led by longtime Vanderbilt assistant, King Rice, who earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year accolades last season. SC State visits Columbia under the direction of 2015-16 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Murray Garvin. The Bulldogs posted a 19-14 overall record last season and advanced to the postseason with a spot in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Michigan travels to Columbia on Nov. 23, marking just the fifth meeting all-time between the Wolverines and Gamecocks and the first since the 2005-06 campaign when Carolina posted a 76-64 victory over UM at Madison Square Garden to clinch its second-straight Postseason NIT title. The Wolverines posted a 23-13 overall record last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament First Round. Next up on the schedule is Final Four participant Syracuse in the final matchup of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 26. The Orange return two starters from last season’s 23-14 squad, and return 12 letterwinners overall.
Vermont, a College Basketball Invitational participant last season, travels to Columbia on Dec. 1, before the Gamecocks host FIU on Dec. 4. Carolina travels back to the Big Apple to face Seton Hall in the “Reunion” on Dec. 12 at Madison Square Garden. It’s Carolina’s first contest in the venue since the above mentioned NIT victory over Michigan. The Pirates posted a 25-9 overall record last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Carolina travels to USF on Dec 17, before hosting intrastate rival Clemson at Colonial Life Arena on Dec. 21. The Tigers are led by senior forward Jaron Blossomgame, a First-Team All-ACC honoree last season. Carolina will host Lander (Dec. 27), an NCAA Tournament team (D-II) from last season and the reigning Peach Belt Conference champs, before concluding the non-conference portion of its schedule with a road matchup at Memphis on Dec. 30. The Tigers are led by former Gamecock assistant and longtime Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith in his first season. Memphis posted a 19-15 overall record and advanced to the American Athletic Conference title game last spring.
Season ticket prices for the upcoming season remain unchanged, with full season packages starting at $90. Like last season, fans can purchase lower level season tickets for $260 (Gamecock Club membership required for sections 104-106, 113-115), the Coke Family Sections are available for $600 (four tickets) and upper level tickets are available for $200 (no Gamecock Club membership required). End zone seating in the upper level is priced at four seats for $360. University Faculty/Staff members receive a 20% discount on lower level and upper level ticket prices.
2016-17 South Carolina Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
Nov. 6 — Newberry (exhibition)
Nov. 11 — Louisiana Tech
Nov. 13 — Holy Cross #
Nov. 15 — Monmouth #
Nov. 18 — SC State #
Nov. 23 — Michigan
Nov. 26 — vs. Syracuse @
Dec. 1 — Vermont
Dec. 4 — FIU
Dec. 12 — vs. Seton Hall ^
Dec. 17 — at USF
Dec. 21 — Clemson
Dec. 27 — Lander
Dec. 30 — at Memphis
Home games in bold
# – Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational (Columbia, S.C.)
@ – Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational (Barclays Center/Brooklyn, N.Y.)
^ – Under Armour “Reunion” (Madison Square Garden/New York, N.Y.)
Newberry finished last season with an 18-12 overall record and a 12-10 mark in South Atlantic Conference Play. The Wolves return guards Gerald Evans and D.J. Copeland who were named All-SAC Honorable Mention and to the All-Freshman team, respectively. Evans led the SAC last season in steals, averaging 3.12 per game. Copeland averaged 6.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in his first year.
The Bulldogs advanced to their fourth-straight postseason in 2015-16 with a spot in the Inaugural Vegas 16. The squad is led by top returning scorer, senior forward Eric McCree who paced the squad with 16.2 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game to earn Second-Team All-Conference USA honors last spring. Head coach Eric Konkol enters his second season leading La Tech. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs will be the second all-time and the first since the 1960-61 campaign.
Head coach Bill Carmody enters his second season leading the Crusaders, who return four starters and 12 letterwinners from last season’s NCAA Tournament squad. The team posted a 15-20 overall record last season, but was an automatic qualifier for the postseason event after winning the Patriot League Tournament. The Gamecocks have faced Holy Cross just once before, posting an 89-59 victory over the Crusaders in Columbia on Feb. 19, 1983.
Led by longtime Vanderbilt assistant coach King Rice, Monmouth had one of the top records in the country last season, posting a 28-8 overall mark, which earned the squad a No. 1 seed in the Postseason NIT alongside the Gamecocks. Rice returns 15 of 16 players from last season’s team, a squad that won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season. The team returns MAAC Player of the Year Justin Robinson and conference Rookie of the Year Micah Seaborn. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Hawks will be just the second all-time.
The Bulldogs posted a 19-14 overall record last season and finished in a tie for second place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings with a 12-4 mark. Head coach Murray Garvin was named the MEAC Coach of the Year and top returning scorer Eric Eaves earned All-MEAC Second-Team honors last season after posting 17.3 points per game. SC State advanced to the postseason last spring, participating in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Gamecocks have won all 20 previous meetings between the two schools.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin will be reunited with Wolverine head coach John Beilein when the two teams meet in Columbia in late November. The two coaches were part of Davidson head coach Bob McKillop’s staff with USA Basketball for the 2013 World University Games in Russia. Michigan advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season with a 23-13 overall record. The team returns one of its top scorers in Zak Irvin (11.8 ppg last season), who was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team, and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honoree Derrick Walton Jr., who led the team in rebounds last season (5.4 rpg). The all-time series between the Gamecocks and Wolverines is tied at 2-2.
Led by longtime head coach Jim Boeheim, Syracuse posted a 23-14 overall record last season and advanced to the Final Four for the second time in four seasons and the sixth time in program history. The squad returns 12 letterwinners overall, including starting seniors Tyler Roberson and DaJuan Coleman. Syracuse lost its top three scorers from a year ago. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Orange marks the fifth all-time, as Syracuse leads the series 3-1.
Vermont posted a 23-14 overall record last season and participated in the College Basketball Invitational, advancing to the semifinals. Led by head coach John Becker in his sixth season, the team advanced to the America East title game. Senior guard Kurt Steidl is the team’s top returning scorer after posting 11.2 points per game. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Catamounts is the second all-time and the first since the 1979-80 campaign.
Head coach Anthony Evans enters his fourth season leading the Panthers this fall. His squad posted a 13-17 overall record last season. The team’s top returning scorer is senior guard Donte McGill, who posted 16.0 points per game last season. Former Alabama forward Michael Kessens is a graduate transfer with the Panthers this season. The Gamecocks own a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools.
The Pirates won the 2016 Big East Tournament Title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament First Round, finishing the season with a 25-9 overall record. Head coach Kevin Willard was named the Big East Co-Coach of the Year last spring, and his team is perennially ranked as one of the top defensive teams in the country. Junior guard Khadeen Carrington is the team’s top returning scorer after posting 14.1 points per game last season.
The Bulls are led by longtime Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua in his third season. Leading the team is last year’s top scorer, now a sophomore guard, Jahmal McMurray, who earned American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team accolades after pacing the team with 15.2 points per game. McMurray scored 11 points last season when the Bulls faced the Gamecocks in Columbia. South Carolina leads the all-time series between the two schools 3-1.
The Tigers are led by senior forward Jaron Blossomgame, a 2016 All-ACC First-Team honoree after he averaged 18.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season. Blossomgame declared for the NBA Draft, but opted to return to school. The Tigers are led by head coach Brad Brownell in his seventh season. The Gamecocks have won two straight games in the series, which Carolina leads 90-76.
Lander, an NCAA Division II squad, is the reigning Peach Belt Conference champions. The squad posted a 22-10 record under head coach Steve Roberts in his first season in 2015-16 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Returning to the court is the team’s top scorer JR Washington, who averaged 19.6 points per game last season and earned All-Peach Belt Second-Team honors. The meeting is the second all-time between the two schools and the first since the 1988-89 campaign.
The Tigers are led by head coach Tubby Smith in his first season. Smith was an assistant coach for the Gamecocks from 1987-89, and then went on to spend 10 years as the head coach at Kentucky. The Tigers posted a 19-15 overall record last season under former head coach Josh Pastner. The squad played in the American Athletic Conference title game. Smith’s squad returns the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in Dedric Lawson, who averaged 15.8 points per game last season. Memphis owns an 18-6 all-time record against the Gamecocks.