Gamecock Gameday: Carolina Hosts Texas A&M In SEC Home Opener Saturday
Jan. 6, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina looks to begin the SEC campaign with two straight wins on Saturday when Texas A&M visits Columbia for a 1:30 p.m. ET matchup on CBS. The meeting is just the sixth all-time between the two schools and first in Columbia since the 2015 conference season. South Carolina looks for consecutive wins vs. the Aggies, after posting an 81-78 upset win over then-No. 8 A&M last season in College Station.
Due to forecasted winter weather in the Columbia area on Saturday please note the following parking alert. Should temperatures and weather conditions result in freezing rain, snow or other inclement conditions, the second and third floors of the DOT garage will be closed. Season parking pass holders should park in Lot A, Lot B or in the Discovery Garage (Park St. entrance only). The Athletics Department urges you to exercise caution on your way to the Colonial Life Arena for Saturday’s men’s hoops matchup vs. Texas A&M.
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 now 10-16 all-time in SEC openers after posting a 67-61 road win at Georgia to begin the league campaign on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. The win snapped a four-game UGA win streak in the series, and was just the third Gamecock win in the last 10 at Stegeman. Sophomore guard PJ Dozier connected on 9-of-17 attempts for a game high 24 points, it was his sixth 20-point performance of the season, while senior guard Sindarius Thornwell filled up the stat sheet in his return with 19 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth career double-double, while he also blocked three shots and had six of Carolina’s seven steals. The Gamecocks held J.J. Frazier to just 3-of-10 from the field and 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
– South Carolina is 8-1 at home this season, averaging 75.2 points per game and hitting 45.6% from the field.
– Carolina was 7-2 in SEC home games last season.
– 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 77-78 (.496) all-time in conference games.
– South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 156-253 (.381) all-time in SEC games.
– The Gamecocks currently rank 41st in the NCAA RPI (games through Jan. 4), which is fourth in the SEC behind Florida (3rd), Kentucky (4th) and Arkansas (28th).
– South Carolina currently ranks first in the country (NCAA stats games through Jan. 4) in 3-point field goal percentage defense, as opponents are hitting just 26.3 percent (63-240) from beyond the arc this season.
– South Carolina ranks second nationally in field goal percentage defense (games through Jan. 4), allowing opponents to hit just 35.9% from the floor this season. That mark leads the SEC as well.
– South Carolina head coach Frank Martin has 198 career wins entering Saturday’s matchup vs. the Aggies.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M
– The Aggies are 8-5 this season and enter Saturday’s matchup 0-2 to start the league season with a home loss to Tennessee and most recently a road loss at No. 6 Kentucky.
– A&M is led by head coach Billy Kennedy in his sixth season. He led the Aggies to a 28-9 overall record last season and the team advanced to the Sweet 16 before suffering a loss to former Big 12 foe Oklahoma.
– Texas A&M is 0-1 in road games this season, that loss coming at Kentucky on Tuesday evening.
– The Aggies rank 15th nationally in blocks per game, posting 5.9 blocks per outing. Robert Williams paces the squad with 2.5 per game.
– A&M’s five losses this season have come against Southern Cal, UCLA, Arizona, Tennessee and UK.
– Four average double-figure points for the Aggies entering Saturday’s matchup, led by sophomore forward/center Tyler Davis with 14.2. He also paces the team with 7.3 rebounds per outing, which ranks seventh in the SEC.
– Sophomore guard Admon Gilder paces the team with 4.3 assists per outing. His 31.9 minutes per game are also a team high.
– Following Saturday’s contest, A&M continues SEC action with a home matchup vs. LSU on Jan. 11.
South Carolina’s 3-point field goal percentage defense currently leads the SEC and the nation, as opponents are hitting just 26.3% from beyond the arc this season. Carolina has held its last five opponents to a combined 19-of-70 (27.1%) from beyond the arc. The Gamecocks were ranked 242nd in the nation at the conclusion of last season in the category, as opponents hit 35.6% (287-806).
TEXAS A&M SERIES
Saturday’s meeting marks just the sixth all-time between the Gamecocks and Aggies and the third in Columbia. The series is tied at one win each at Colonial Life Arena. Carolina posted a thrilling 81-78 upset win over then-No. 8 A&M in College Station last season. Twenty-five points, six rebounds and nine assists from then-junior guard Sindarius Thornwell fueled the Gamecock victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
2.3 – PJ Dozier’s 2.3 steals per game leads the Gamecocks and ranks first in the SEC and 15th nationally. Dozier has five games this season with at least three steals, and collected a season high four steals vs. FIU.
2.982 – The Gamecocks excelled in the classroom during the fall semester, as the team posted a cumulative GPA of 2.982.
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.
25 – Dozier’s 25 made 3s this season are 15 more than his total of 10 from his rookie campaign. 30-2 – Over the course of the last two seasons, the Gamecocks are 30-2 in games when leading at the half. Carolina was 20-1 last season when leading at the half, and 10-1 this season when holding the edge at the break.
South Carolina will travel to Tennessee next Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. ET matchup vs. the Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena. That contest will be televised on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (pxp) and Chris Spatola (analyst) on the call.