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Gamecock Gameday: No. 20 South Carolina Hosts FIU On Sunday
Men's Basketball  . 

Gamecock Gameday: No. 20 South Carolina Hosts FIU On Sunday

Dec. 2, 2016

Game Information

Date: Sun., Dec. 4, 2016

Tipoff: 2 p.m. ET

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)

Tickets: Click To Purchase

Broadcast: SEC Network+

Radio: 107.5 (in Columbia)/Listen!

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Gamecocks finish a two-game home stand when FIU visits Columbia on Sunday. The matchup is the second for Carolina head coach Frank Martin versus his alma mater during his time in Columbia. The Gamecocks look to extend their winning streak to eight games to start the 2016-17 campaign and aim for their seventh-straight at home.


– South Carolina is in its 109th season of varsity basketball in 2016-17.
– On the sidelines, Frank Martin is joined by associate head coach Matt Figger, assistant coaches Perry Clark and Bruce Shingler, and director of operations Andy Assaley.
– The Gamecocks are in the national rankings this week for the first time this season after posting wins over two ranked opponents last week in No. 25/24 Michigan and No. 18/16 Syracuse. The Gamecocks check in at No. 20 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll.
– South Carolina enters Sunday’s matchup ranked in the top five in the country in both scoring defense (4th, 55.7) and field goal percentage defense (2nd, 32.7%) (NCAA stats games through Dec. 1).
– A career night from sophomore guard PJ Dozier led the Gamecocks to a 68-50 win over visiting Vermont on Thursday. Dozier was 9-of-15 from the field, which included three 3s, en route to a career high 21 points on the night. He also collected six rebounds and three steals to match teammate Sindarius Thornwell for the team high in both categories. The South Carolina defense continued to play strong, holding the Catamounts to just 35.3% from the field, with 18 made baskets.
– The Gamecocks were credited for 18 assists in the win over Vermont, with senior guard Sindarius Thornwell matching his career high with nine.
– Carolina opponents are averaging just 26.6 points per game in the second half this season.
– The Gamecocks posted their second-straight win over a ranked opponent when they defeated No. 18/16 Syracuse Nov. 26 at the Barclays Center in the final game of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. Carolina held Syracuse to just 31.8 percent from the floor, while out-scoring the Orange 30-8 in points in the paint. Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell and freshman big Maik Kotsar paced the Gamecock offense with 16 points each, while sophomore guard PJ Dozier picked up the first double-double of his career with 15 points and a career high 10 rebounds.
– For his play in the wins vs. Michigan and Syraucse, senior guard Sindarius Thornwell was named the Nov. 28 SEC Player of the Week. It was the second Player of the Week honor of his career.


– The Panthers are led by head coach Anthony Evans in his fourth season.
– FIU is 3-5 on the year, with wins over Florida Memorial, Ave Maria and Binghamton.
– The Panthers most recently suffered an 84-81 overtime loss at Elon, marking FIU’s third OT loss this season.
– Sunday’s matchup marks FIU’s fourth true road game of the season.
– Graduate forward Michael Kessens, a transfer from Alabama, is averaging 14.9 points and a team high 12.1 rebounds per outing. He recently collected an FIU single-game record 23 rebounds in the loss at Elon.
– Senior guard Donte McGill averages a team high 19.1 points per game.
– The Panthers hold a +9.9 rebound margin over opponents, which ranks 17th nationally (games through Dec. 1).
– Eight different FIU players average at least 15 minutes per game, led by McGill’s 34.2 minutes per outing.


108 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell currently ranks tied for fourth all-time with 108 career games started in the Garnet and Black. He has started every game of his Carolina career. He is three starts away from tying Alex English for third all-time with 111 career starts.
12 – South Carolina’s 12 steals in the win vs. Syracuse marked a season high in the category.
144 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell now ranks in the top 10 in career steals at Carolina with 144, including 11 this season.
73.8% – Rookie forward Maik Kotsar has hit 73.8 percent of his shot attempts through the first seven games of the campaign, connecting on 31-of-42 attempts.
2,506 – Senior guards Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell have combined to score 2,506 points during their time in the Garnet and Black.
511 – Sindarius Thornwell ranks third among active players in the SEC with 511 career rebounds.
1,409 – Entering Sunday’s matchup vs. FIU, senior guard Sindarius Thornwell ranks 15th all-time at Carolina with 1,409 career points. He needs 16 points to pass Melvin Watson (1,424) for 14th all-time. Thornwell is just the fourth Gamecock to score at least 1,400 points since the turn of the century.
1,097 – Senior guard Duane Notice ranks 34th all-time at Carolina with 1,095 points entering Sunday’s matchup vs. FIU. He is eight points away from surpassing Ray Pericola for 33rd all-time.
27-1 – Over the course of the last two seasons, the Gamecocks are 27-1 in games when leading at the half. Carolina was 20-1 last season when leading at the half, and 7-0 this season when holding the edge at the break.


South Carolina is making headlines this season for its tenacious defense, which has held six of seven opponents to below 40% from the floor. The Gamecocks have ranked among the top 25 in the nation in field goal percentage defense at the conclusion of the last two seasons – 13th in 2014-15 when opponents hit 38.7%, and 25th in 2015-16 when opponents hit 39.7% – while Carolina currently ranks second nationally (opponent field goal percent of 32.7%) in the category this season.


South Carolina will take the next week off from game action due to final exams, before two straight away from Columbia. The Gamecocks will travel back to New York City to face Seton Hall (9 p.m./FS1) at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12, in the Under Armour Reunion, before an away matchup at USF (1 p.m./CBS Sports Network) on Dec. 17, in Tampa.