Gamecock Gameday: #21/19 Men's Hoops Begins Two-Game Road Swing At Vanderbilt On Saturday
Feb. 17, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina looks for its fourth-straight SEC road victory on Saturday when it travels to Vanderbilt in the first of a two-game road swing that finishes next Tuesday at No. 15/13 Florida. South Carolina looks to rebound after suffering an 83-76 home loss to Arkansas on Wednesday.
– 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. 21 in the AP poll and No. 19 in the Coaches Poll. South Carolina has been ranked in the AP poll for nine weeks this season and in the Coaches Poll for 10.
– South Carolina captured its 20th win of the season last Saturday in Starkville. It marked the first time the Gamecocks have had back-to-back 20-wins seasons (25-9 during 2015-16 campaign) since the 2003-04 (23-11), the 2004-05 (20-13) and the 2005-06 (23-15) seasons when the Gamecocks posted three-straight 20-win campaigns.
– The Gamecocks posted their 10th SEC win of the season in Starkville as well, marking just the fifth double-digit win total in SEC play for Carolina in its 26-seasons in the league. It’s also just the second time that Carolina has had back-to-back seasons with double-digit league wins, as the Gamecocks posted 11 last season. (15 SEC wins in 1997, 11 in 1998).
– Carolina aims for its 11th SEC win of the campaign on Saturday at Vanderbilt. It would mark the second-straight season with 11 league wins, and it would tie for the second-most all-time (15 in 1997).
– South Carolina suffered its second-consecutive home loss on Wednesday, falling to Arkansas 83-76. The Razorbacks hit 53.6% from the floor, which included a 7-of-14 mark from 3-point range, in the win. Carolina hit 43.1 percent of its attempts, but Arkansas would lead the entire second half to pull away for the victory.
– SEC Player of the Year candidate Sindarius Thornwell continued his outstanding season on Wednesday vs. Arkansas. He scored a game high 27, hitting 10-of-19 from the floor with a pair of 3s. He was also a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe, while dishing three assists, blocking two shots and collecting a steal.
– For his play last week vs. Alabama and Miss. State, Thornwell was named the SEC’s Player of the Week on Monday. He average 36.0 points and 12.5 rebounds to earn the honor.
– Thornwell has been named to the Naismith Trophy Top 30 list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Feb. 9. The list is comprised of the nation’s top players who are in consideration for the 2017 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year award.
– Thornwell has accounted for 32.9% of the team’s scoring over the course of the last five games.
– In league play, Carolina opponents are averaging 18.8 turnovers per contest. Most recently, Arkansas committed 13 turnovers on Feb. 15.
– Through 26 games this season, South Carolina has held the opposing team’s top scorer to below his season average in 21 of those games.
– South Carolina has forced at least 15 turnovers in every SEC game this season except the Arkansas game. Texas A&M’s 25 marked an opponent season high in the category, and Alabama was just behind with 24 giveaways.
– South Carolina currently leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 28.1 percent from beyond the arc this season.
– South Carolina leads the SEC in several defensive categories entering Saturday’s matchup at Vanderbilt. In overall games, Carolina is tops in scoring defense (63.8), FG% defense (39.3%) and 3-point FG% defense (28.1%), and is second in steals (8.0 per game). In strictly league games, Carolina is fourth in FG% defense (42.5%), first in 3-point FG% defense (30.2%) and second in steals (8.0 per game).
– Individually in the SEC statistics (overall games), Thornwell is second in scoring (21.2), fourth in rebounds (7.4), first in steals (2.2) and fifth in offensive rebounds per game (2.8). Dozier is sixth with 1.7 steals per outing.
– According to the NCAA statistics for games through Feb. 16, senior guard Sindarius Thornwell is the only guard in the nation to average at least 20 points and seven rebounds per game (based on positions listed on the NCAA website). He is one of just nine players overall to average 20 points and seven rebounds per game.
– The Commodores are 13-13 overall and hold a 6-7 record in league games after posting a 72-67 win over Texas A&M on Thursday night.
– Vandy is led by head coach Bryce Drew in his first season. He was previously the head coach at Valparaiso for five seasons.
– Vanderbilt ranks 57th in the most recent NCAA RPI (games through Feb. 16) and has six wins over RPI Top 100 teams.
– Four average double-figure points for the Commodores, led by junior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis’ 15.2 per outing. He also leads the squad in league play with 14.7 points per game.
– Senior center Luke Kornet adds 13.5 points per outing, Jeff Roberson adds 10.7 per game and Riley LaChance provides 10.0 points per outing and dishes a team high 4.0 assists per game.
– Vanderbilt is historically one of the top 3-point shooting team’s in the SEC and the country. The Commodores lead the SEC with a 38.3 field goal percent from 3-point range, and Fisher-Davis is fourth in the league at 39.6 percent.
– Kornet is fourth in the SEC with 1.9 blocks per game. He most recently blocked five shots in Thursday’s win over A&M.
– The Commodores are 8-5 in homes games this season, including a 2-4 mark in SEC home contests.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 29-26, which includes a 16-10 upperhand in games played in Nashville. The team’s have met just once in each of the last three seasons, and the Gamecocks have won two of those three outings. Prior to that stretch, the Commodores had won five-straight in the series. Carolina’s last win in Nashville came in a 77-73 win on March 6, 2010.
South Carolina continues its road swing at No. 15/13 Florida on Tuesday evening. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN with Joe Tessitore (pxp) and Sean Farnham (analyst) on the call. The Gamecocks won the first meeting between the two schools this season, posting a 57-53 win in Columbia on Jan. 18.
BY THE NUMBERS
13 – Senior guard Justin McKie scored a career high 13 points in the win over Auburn on Jan. 24. He hit 5-of-7 from the floor, including a career best 3-of-4 from range.
14-15 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell set then-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, and has matched the mark three times in league play, most recently vs. Arkansas on Feb. 15.
17.3 – South Carolina leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally with 17.3 forced turnovers per game.
21.2 – Thornwell’s 21.2 points per game in overall games this season ranks second in the SEC and 16th nationally. Thornwell has scored in double-figures in every game this season and has scored 15 or more 18 times.
23 – South Carolina dished a season high 23 assists in the Jan. 24 win over Auburn. It is the third-most ever during the Frank Martin era.
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.