Gamecock Gameday: Carolina Hosts Lander On Tuesday
Dec. 26, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina will host Lander on Tuesday in its first contest following the break for the holidays. The meeting marks just the second all-time between the two schools and the first since the 1988-89 season. South Carolina will host the Bearcats on Tuesday, before traveling to face Memphis on Friday at the FedEx Forum.
– 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 receiving votes in this week’s AP poll and are 25th in the USA Today Coaches Poll after a loss to Clemson last week. The Gamecocks have risen to as high as 15th in the AP poll this season, which was the highest rank for Carolina since the Gamecocks were ranked 14th in the final poll of the 1997-98 campaign. The Gamecocks high mark in the Coaches poll this season was at No. 15.
– South Carolina suffered a loss to intrastate rival Clemson last Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena despite a career high 26 points from sophomore guard PJ Dozier. Dozier has now recorded at least 20 points in five straight games. Sophomore forward Chris Silva recorded a career high 14 as well, but Clemson connected on 41 percent of its attempts from the floor, and was 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final minute to close the two-point victory.
– Carolina hit just 35.5 percent from the floor vs. the Tigers, which was the Gamecocks’ second-lowest percentage of the season.
– The Gamecocks rebounded from their first loss of the season with an 11-point road win at USF on Dec. 17. Trailing by six at halftime, the duo of senior guard Duane Notice and sophomore guard PJ Dozier recorded 28 of Carolina’s 46 second-half points to help the Gamecocks earn the road win. Carolina committed a season low seven turnovers in the contest, forcing 17 by the Bulls, and collecting nine steals and posting 16 points off of turnovers.
– Rookie guard Rakym Felder had one of his top performances of the season at USF, scoring a season high 11 points, hitting three 3s, dishing five assists and playing a season high 26 minutes.
– South Carolina suffered its first loss of the season on Dec. 12 in a 67-64 decision to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden in the Under Armour Reunion. Carolina held the Pirates to just 34.5% from the floor, but Seton Hall was solid at the free throw line, hitting 26-of-36 attempts on the night, while also holding a 49-35 upperhand on the boards in the win.
– South Carolina ranks 30th in the NCAA RPI (games through Dec. 25), which is fourth in the SEC behind Florida (5th), Kentucky (10th) and Arkansas (19th).
– The Bearcats are led by head coach Steve Roberts in his second season at Lander and fifth overall.
– Lander is the reigning Peach Belt Conference champions. The squad posted a 22-10 record 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.
– Washington’s 18.9 points per game pace the squad this season, while he also leads the team with 7.0 rebounds per game.
The Gamecocks and Lander have met just once before, a 96-54 Carolina win on Nov. 26, 1988, in Columbia. That game was the season opener for Carolina, a contest which saw the home team hit 69.4 percent from the field, a mark that holds today as the second-highest field goal percentage in Gamecock history. Barry Manning was the high scorer for Carolina in the game, hitting 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field and a 3-of-5 performance at the free throw line.
OVER THE COURSE OF THE LAST FIVE GAMES…
– Sophomore guard PJ Dozier is averaging 22.0 points per game, hitting 50.6% (44-87) from the field and 43.5% (10-23) from 3-point range.
– Rookie forward Maik Kotsar is averaging 8.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game
– Sophomore forward Chris Silva is averaging 2.4 blocks per game, while also posting 10.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest.
– Carolina has dished 67 assists compared to just 29 by its opponents during the stretch.
– Carolina has committed just 56 turnovers compared to 90 by its opponents.
South Carolina concludes the non-conference portion of its regular season when it travels to face Memphis on Friday at the FedEx Forum. The meeting marks the 35th all-time between the two schools and the ninth road game in the series for Carolina. Richard Cross (pxp) and Mark Wise (analyst) will have the call for the 9 p.m. ET tip off on ESPNU.
BY THE NUMBERS
168 – South Carolina is 168-80 all-time at Colonial Life Arena, including a 7-1 mark this season.
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.
46.1% – Sophomore guard PJ Dozier is currently averaging 46.1% from the floor this season. He hit just 38.1% from the floor during his rookie season.
18 – Dozier’s 18 made 3s this season are eight more than his total of 10 from his rookie campaign.
2.0 – Sophomore forward Chris Silva is averaging 2.0 blocks per game this season, which ranks fifth in the SEC and 44th nationally.
13 – South Carolina’s 13 steals vs. FIU on Dec. 4 marked a season high in the category, surpassing the previous high of 12 vs. Syracuse.
23 – The 23 turnovers by FIU marked a season high for Gamecock opponents.
2.5 – PJ Dozier’s 2.5 steals per game leads the Gamecocks and ranks first in the SEC and 12th nationally. Dozier has five games this season with at least three steals, and collected a season high four steals vs. FIU.