Gamecock Gameday: Carolina Opens SEC Play At Georgia Wednesday
Jan. 3, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina begins the 2017 Southeastern Conference season on Wednesday when it travels to face Georgia in Athens. The Gamecocks aim to snap a four-game UGA win streak in the series. The meeting marks the 50th all-time between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs in Athens.
– 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 9-16 all-time in SEC openers, which includes a 3-10 mark in league openers on the road. Carolina has only faced Georgia once in an SEC opener, that game was played in Athens, with the Bulldogs winning 80-56 on Jan. 10, 2007. South Carolina posted an 81-69 road win in last season’s opener at Auburn paced by 22 points and seven assists from then-junior guard Sindarius Thornwell.
– Foul trouble plagued Carolina in a 70-54 loss at Memphis to close the non-conference campaign on Dec. 30. Two Gamecock starters fouled out with several minutes remaining in the second half, as sophomore forward Chris Silva collected his fifth foul with 6:11 remaining, and sophomore guard PJ Dozier fouled out with 4:19 on the clock. The Gamecocks hit a season low 31.6 percent from the field, while Memphis hit 46.5 percent, which was an opponent high for the season. Dozier’s 13 points led Carolina, while rookie guard Rakym Felder hit three 3s and scored 10 points for his second-straight double-figure scoring contest.
– South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is 76-78 (.493) all-time in conference games.
– South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 155-253 (.379) all-time in SEC games.
– The Gamecocks currently rank 51st in the NCAA RPI (games through Jan. 1), which is sixth in the SEC behind Florida (2nd), Kentucky (6th), Georgia (37th), Arkansas (39th) and Ole Miss (48th).
– University of South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell has been reinstated to full playing status and will be available for Carolina’s SEC opener at Georgia on Wednesday, Jan. 4, Gamecock head coach Frank Martin announced on Monday. Thornwell was suspended on Dec. 4, 2016, as a result of a violation of athletic department policy.
– South Carolina currently ranks first in the country (NCAA stats games through Jan. 1) in 3-point field goal percentage defense, as opponents are hitting just 26.0 percent (59-227) from beyond the arc this season.
– South Carolina played four games away from home during non-conference play – vs. Syracuse (Brooklyn), vs. Seton Hall (MSG), at USF and at Memphis.
– Rookie guard Rakym Felder was 8-14 from 3-point range combined last week vs. Lander and at Memphis. He scored a season high 20 vs. Lander and 10 vs. the Tigers.
– Georgia enters Wednesday’s matchup with a 9-4 overall record, which includes a 1-0 mark in league games after the Bulldogs came from behind to post a 96-84 road win at Auburn last Thursday in the league opener for both schools.
– UGA is led by head coach Mark Fox in his eighth season. Fox is 12-4 all-time vs. Carolina as a head coach.
– Junior forward Yante Maten paces the Bulldogs and ranks second in the SEC, scoring 20.6 points per game, while his 8.2 rebounds per game are a team best and rank third in the league.
– Maten was the team leader in Georgia’s win over Auburn. He tallied his third 30-point game of the season with a season-high 31 points and added eight rebounds. He was 10-for-19 from the floor and he converted 9-for-9 from the foul line.
– Maten collected SEC co-player of the week honors on Monday for his performance last week in the win over Auburn.
– Senior guard J.J. Frazier also provides double digit points per game this season with 16.0 per outing. His 91.2 percent from the foul line is second in the SEC and ranks 18th nationally. Frazier averaged 17.3 points per game in three games vs. Carolina last season.
– Georgia is among SEC leaders in free throw percent (5th, 74.2%), rebound margin (4th, +5.4), assists (4th, 15.2) and assist to turnover ratio (4th, 1.1).
– Individually, Maten is fourth in the SEC in field goal percentage (56.4%), Frazier is tied for fifth in assists per game (4.4) and is second in free throw percent (91.2), and tied for fourth in steals per game (1.8).
– Georgia is 6-1 in home games this season, their only loss at Stegeman an 89-79 decision vs. Marquette on Dec. 4.
A LOOK BACK AT THE NON-CONFERENCE
South Carolina faced a tough non-conference slate in 2016-17, highlighted by four contests away from home, including two neutral site and two true away games. Carolina posted an 8-1 record at home during non-league action, with wins over La Tech, Holy Cross, Monmouth, SC State, Michigan, Vermont, FIU and Lander. Carolina posted a strong 64-50 neutral site win over Syracuse at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and also captured a road win at USF. Carolina’s losses came in a three-point decision vs. Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden and a two-point home loss to Clemson before the break for the holiday. The final non-conference game of the regular season saw former Metro Conference foe Memphis post a 16-point win over Carolina at FedExForum. The Gamecocks conluded the non-conference slate at No. 50 in the NCAA RPI.
Georgia holds a 58-50 lead in the all-time series vs. South Carolina, including a 33-16 upperhand in games played in Athens. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs have met three times in both of the last two seasons, with UGA winning four of the six meetings, including four straight. UGA posted a 69-56 win in last season’s meeting at Stegeman.
BY THE NUMBERS
169 – South Carolina is 169-80 all-time at Colonial Life Arena, including an 8-1 mark this season.
300 – Senior guard Duane Notice collected the 300th assist of his career last Friday 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.
45.8% – Sophomore guard PJ Dozier is currently averaging 45.8% from the floor this season. He hit just 38.1% from the floor during his rookie season.
23 – Dozier’s 23 made 3s this season are 13 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 sixth in the SEC and 44th nationally.
31.3 – Senior guard Duane Notice ranks seventh in the SEC with 31.3 minutes 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.
South Carolina continues SEC play when it hosts Texas A&M this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET in the league home opener at Colonial Life Arena. The contest will be just the sixth all-time between the two schools and the third in Columbia. Spero Dedes (pxp) and Clark Kellogg (analyst) will handle the call on the nationally-televised broadcast on CBS.