Gamecock Gameday: #23/24 Men's Hoops Hosts Auburn Tuesday Night
Jan. 23, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina looks to rebound after suffering its first SEC loss of the season at Kentucky last Saturday when it hosts Auburn at Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday night. The Tigers ride a two-game win streak entering the matchup, which will be the first between the two schools in Columbia since the 2014 SEC campaign.
– 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.
– South Carolina remains in the national rankings this week, checking in at No. 23 the AP poll and No. 24 in the Coaches Poll. The Gamecocks jumped in to the national rankings on Nov. 28 for the first time this season after posting wins over two ranked opponents the previous week in No. 25/24 Michigan and No. 18/16 Syracuse. The Gamecocks checked in at No. 20 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. 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.
– Despite a career high 34 points from senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, the Gamecocks couldn’t overcome an early deficit and suffered their first loss of the SEC campaign last Saturday at No. 5/5 Kentucky, 85-69. The Wildcats hit 58.3 percent of their attempts from the floor, and connected on eight 3s in the win. Carolina was also without sophomore guard PJ Dozier, who was unavailable for the game due to back spasms.
– R-sophomore guard TeMarcus Blanton scored a career high 12 points at UK. It was the first double-figure game of his career.
– UK’s eight 3s in the game were the most by a Carolina opponent since Texas A&M connected on 11 on Jan. 7, and the second-most by an opponent this season.
– In league play, Carolina opponents are averaging 19.5 turnovers per contest.
– South Carolina currently leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 27.2 percent from beyond the arc this season.
– South Carolina leads the SEC in several defensive categories entering Tuesday’s game vs. Auburn. In overall games, Carolina is tops in scoring defense (60.7), FG% defense (37.4%) and 3-point FG% defense (27.2%), and is tied for first in steals (8.3 per game). In stricly league games, Carolina is first in scoring defense (63.8), second in FG% defense (40.7%) and first in steals (9.0 per game).
– South Carolina is 11-1 at home this season, averaging 73.3 points per game and hitting 43.2% from the field.
– The Gamecocks are 3-2 in away games this season (2-1 in SEC games), and average 67.4 points per game and have hit 40.1% from the field.
– South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is 81-79 (.506) all-time in conference games.
– Martin is 23-32 (.418) against ranked opponents as a head coach. His teams have four wins over opponents ranked in the top five, and two wins over opponents who are ranked No. 1.
– South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 160-254 (.386) all-time in SEC games.
– The Gamecocks currently rank 21st in the NCAA RPI (games through Jan. 21), which is third in the SEC behind Kentucky (3rd) and Florida (11th).
– Nine different Gamecocks average at least 12 minutes per game, and six different players provide at least five points per outing.
– The Gamecock defense is forcing 17.1 opponent turnovers per game (11th nationally). In league games, that number rises to 19.5 opponent turnovers per outing.
– Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell is averaging 20.2 points per game in league games, which is second in the standings to UK’s Malik Monk who has 22.1 per outing in SEC action.
SUITS AND SNEAKERS
The Gamecock coaching staff will be wearing sneakers with their suits for #SuitsAndSneakers on Tuesday vs. Auburn, the NABC’s initiative for cancer awareness. Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Week is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise awareness about the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission, and promote the American Cancer Society as a place for help and support. While coaching games during the week, coaches wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing cancer risk.
– Auburn enters Tuesday’s matchup with a 13-6 overall record, including a 3-4 mark in league games.
– The Tigers are led by head coach Bruce Pearl in his third season.
– Auburn has won two straight and three of its last four games.
– Most recently the Tigers posted a 20-point win over Alabama in the rivalry game.
– Three average double-figure points for Auburn, led by freshman guard Mustapha Heron’s 15.6 per game. His 15.1 per game in league contests is also a team high. Heron scored 15 in the most recent game vs. Alabama.
– Danjel Purifoy (13.1) and Jared Harper (12.4) also provide double-figure points per game for the Tigers.
– Freshman center Austin Wiley was named the SEC Freshman of the Week this week after scoring season highs with 19 points and nine rebounds in the win over Alabama. He also had 10 points in the win over LSU earlier last week.
– In the SEC stats, AU is third in scoring offense (79.1 ppg), fifth in 3-point field goal percent (35.4%), fourth in blocked shots (5.2 per game) and fourth in steals (7.7).
– In the national stats, the Tigers are top 50 in turnovers forced (16.2 per game/27th), blocks (5.2 per game/36th) and steals (7.7 per game/50th).
– Auburn’s NCAA RPI is 70.
– Auburn is 3-2 in away games this season, including a win at Missouri in league action.
The Tigers lead the all-time series vs. South Carolina, 23-16, including an 11-5 advantage in games played in Columbia. Tuesday’s meeting marks the first in Columbia since the 2014 SEC campaign. The Gamecocks have won two of the last three, but Auburn had a streak of five-straight wins before that dating back to the 2011 SEC season.
BY THE NUMBERS
14-15 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell set new career highs when he hit 14 free throws on 15 attempts at Kentucky on Jan. 21. Thornwell missed his first free throw of the game, and went on to finish 14-14 from the line the rest of the way.
16 – Sophomore forward Chris Silva scored a career high 16 points in Carolina’s win vs. Ole Miss on Jan. 14.
25 – The 25 turnovers by Texas A&M were an opponent high this season. It was the most turnovers in a game by a Carolina opponent since SE Louisiana committed 26 turnovers on Dec. 21, 2011.
28 – Dozier’s 28 made 3s this season are 18 more than his total of 10 from his rookie campaign.
32-2 – Over the course of the last two seasons, the Gamecocks are 32-2 in games when leading at the half. Carolina was 20-1 last season when leading at the half, and 12-1 this season when holding the edge at the break.
34 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell scored a career high 34 points in the contest at Kentucky on Jan. 21. It marked the first 30-point game of his career.
42 – South Carolina has out-scored its opponent in points in the paint in 42 of the last 53 games dating back to last season. The Gamecocks are 37-5 in those games, including a 13-2 mark this season when scoring more points in the paint than its opponent.
60.7 – South Carolina ranks eighth in the country and leads the SEC in scoring defense, as opponents are averaging just 60.7 points per game this season.
114 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell currently ranks third all-time in career games started in the Garnet and Black at 114. Thornwell is two starts away from tying Melvin Watson and BJ McKie for first all-time in the category (116).
164 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell now ranks in the top 10 in career steals at Carolina with 164, including 31 this season.
172 – South Carolina is 172-80 all-time at Colonial Life Arena, including an 11-1 mark this season.
300 – Senior guard Duane Notice collected the 300th assist of his career at Memphis on Dec. 30.
552 – Sindarius Thornwell ranks fourth among active players in the SEC with 552 career rebounds.
South Carolina will be on the road for the next two games, beginning on Saturday with an 8:30 p.m. ET matchup at Missouri on the SEC Network. Carolina continues road action at LSU the following Wednesday (Feb. 1) with a 9 p.m. ET tip vs. the Tigers.