Gamecock Gameday: Carolina Travels To Face Memphis Friday Night
Dec. 28, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina concludes the non-conference portion of its regular season when it travels to face Memphis on Friday at FedExForum. The meeting marks the 25th all-time between the two schools, and just the second regular season meeting since the 1990-91 campaign. South Carolina looks for its first-ever road win in the series against the Tigers on Friday night.
– 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.
– Carolina rebounded from a two-point loss to Clemson with a 28-point victory over instate foe Lander on Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena. Rookie guard Rakym Felder erupted for a season high 20 points, hitting six baskets, including a 5-of-7 effort from 3-point range. Fellow freshman, Maik Kotsar, notched his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the winning effort. The Gamecocks hit 51.5% from the floor, converting on a season high 35-of-68 shot attempts in the game.
– Sophomore guard PJ Dozier snapped a streak of five-straight games scoring 20 or more points when he tallied 15 vs. Lander on Tuesday. His stretch of five straight over 20 marked the longest streak of its kind since mid-season during the 2009-10 campaign when Devan Downey hit 20 or more in nine consecutive games.
– Memphis head coach Tubby Smith, a former assistant coach at South Carolina who was part of the 1989 NCAA Tournament team, will be facing South Carolina for the 31st time in his head coaching career. The majority of those past matchups came while he was the head coach at Kentucky from 1997-2007.
– The Gamecocks currently rank 31st in the NCAA RPI (games through Dec. 27), which is fourth in the SEC behind Florida (fifth), Kentucky (ninth) and Arkansas (23rd).
– South Carolina currently ranks first in the country (NCAA stats games through Dec. 27) in 3-point field goal percentage defense, as opponents are hitting just 26.4 percent (58-220) from beyond the arc this season.
– The Gamecocks are 0-8 all-time in games played in Memphis vs. the Tigers. The last away meeting in the series was a 60-52 Memphis win on Jan. 26, 1991.
– South Carolina suffered a loss to intrastate rival Clemson on Dec. 21 at Colonial Life Arena despite a career high 26 points from sophomore guard PJ Dozier. Dozier 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.
– South Carolina head coach Frank Martin has 197 career wins entering Friday’s matchup at Memphis. – South Carolina’s two losses this season have come by a combined five points, suffering a three-point loss to Seton Hall and just a two-point loss vs. Clemson.
– The Tigers are led by head coach Tubby Smith in his first season. Smith, a former assistant coach at South Carolina who was part of the 1989 NCAA Tournament team, will be facing South Carolina for the 31st time in his head coaching career. The majority of those past matchups came while he was the head coach at Kentucky from 1997-2007.
– The Tigers are 9-4 this season, which includes an 0-1 mark in American games after suffering a loss to visiting SMU on Tuesday evening.
– Sophomore forward Dedric Lawson paces the team with 20.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. He leads the American in points per outing, while his rebounds per game rank second.
– Lawson’s brother, KJ, adds 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game from the guard position.
– Markel Crawford (13.5) and Jeremiah Martin (10.4) also contribute double-figure points per game.
– The Tigers rank sixth nationally in assist to turnover ratio (1.68), 14th in assists per game (18.5) and 18th in blocked shots per game (5.8), behind Dedric Lawson’s 2.8 blocks per outing (15th nationally).
– The Tigers are 7-2 in homes games this season with losses to Ole Miss and Monmouth.
South Carolina sophomore guard PJ Dozier has tallied double-digit points in nine games this season, including in seven straight, scoring at least 15 points each game during the stretch. His field goal percentage of 47.3 percent (71-150) is nearly 10 percentage points higher than last season’s number of 38.1 percent (91-239) during his rookie campaign. Most notably is his accuracy from beyond the arc. Dozier connected on 10-of-47 attempts last season (21.3%), and has already surpassed his mark of made 3s just 12 games into this season, hitting 21-of-47 attempts at 44.7 percent. He is also making a mark on the defensive end, leading the team and the SEC with 30 steals, 2.5 per game, which ranks 13th nationally.
Memphis leads the all-time series vs. South Carolina, 18-6, which includes an 8-0 upperhand in games played in Memphis. Friday’s meeting marks the first time the Gamecocks have faced the Tigers at the Forum, and will be the first meeting in Memphis between the two squads since the 1990-91 season.
South Carolina begins SEC play when it travels to face Georgia next Wednesday in Athens. That game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Carolina returns to Columbia the following Saturday for a matchup with Texas A&M. Tip time will be either 1:30 or 4:30 on CBS vs. the Aggies.
BY THE NUMBERS
299 – Senior guard Duane Notice has 299 career assists entering Friday’s game at Memphis.
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.
47.3% – Sophomore guard PJ Dozier is currently averaging 47.3% from the floor this season, which ranks ninth in the SEC. He hit just 38.1% from the floor during his rookie season.
21 – Dozier’s 21 made 3s this season are 11 more than his total of 10 from his rookie campaign.
2.1 – Sophomore forward Chris Silva is averaging 2.1 blocks per game this season, which ranks fifth in the SEC and 42nd nationally.
31.9 – Senior guard Duane Notice ranks fourth in the SEC with 31.9 minutes player per outing.
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 13th nationally. Dozier has five games this season with at least three steals, and collected a season high four steals vs. FIU.
144 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell now ranks in the top 10 in career steals at Carolina with 144, including 11 this season.