Gamecock Gameday: Carolina Begins SEC Tournament Play On Friday
March 8, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina finished the SEC season in a tie for third place in the standings with Arkansas, as the Gamecocks posted a 12-6 record, marking the second-most SEC wins in a season for Carolina in its 26 seasons in the league. With the Razorbacks winning the regular-season meeting against the Gamecocks, South Carolina will be the No. 4 seed in the 2017 SEC Tournament, and will face Alabama, LSU or Mississippi State in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon in Nashville.
SEC COACHES POSTSEASON AWARDS
South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell was named the 2017 SEC Player of the Year, while he also garnered First Team All-SEC honors, as well as All-Defensive Team accolades from the league’s coaches. Thornwell’s distinction as the Player of the Year marks the first Gamecock to ever earn the honor. His First-Team honors mark the first All-SEC award of his career, while he was named to the All-Defensive team for the second straight season. Thornwell led the SEC in scoring in league games this season with 22.1 points per game, while he was sixth with 7.5 rebounds per league game and first with 2.4 steals. He posted 11 20-point games during league action, which included a 34-point outing at Kentucky, and an historic 44-point performance against Alabama. During his career in the Garnet and Black, Thornwell has earned SEC All-Freshman Team (2014), First Team All-SEC (2016), All-Defensive Team (2016, 2017) accolades and the 2017 SEC Player of the Year award.
– 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 is receiving votes in the Coaches Top 25 Poll this week. South Carolina has been ranked in the AP poll for nine weeks this season and in the Coaches Poll for 10.
– Sindarius Thornwell would score 25 points with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals, but a furious second-half comeback by South Carolina would fall short at Ole Miss in the regular-season finale, as the Rebels posted a 75-70 victory in Oxford on March 4. Thornwell would score 11 of his points at the foul line and connected on four of Carolina’s nine 3s in the contest. The Gamecocks trailed by as many as 21 in the second half, and pulled to within four late in the game.
– South Carolina is 1-1 in neutral site contests this season, as the Gamecocks upset then-No. 18/16 Syracuse at the Barclays Center on Nov. 26, before suffering a three-point loss to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12.
– Over the course of the last two seasons, Carolina is 5-2 in neutral site games.
– South Carolina is 20-25 (.444) all-time in the SEC Tournament and 4-4 under the direction of head coach Frank Martin. The Gamecocks won their first two games at both the 2014 and 2015 events, and suffered a loss in the quarterfinals in 2016 after earning a double-bye.
– Frank Martin led teams are 6-9 all-time in conference tournament games.
– The Gamecocks are 2-1 this season in games played on a Friday.
– Sindarius Thornwell averages 13.6 points per game over his seven career SEC Tournament games. He led the Gamecocks in last season’s quarterfinal matchup vs. Georgia with 23 points.
– Thornwell earned USBWA All-District III (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland) honors on Tuesday for his outstanding play this season.
– South Carolina captured its 20th win of the season on Feb. 11 in Starkville over Mississippi State. 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).
– Thornwell was 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 30.9% of the team’s scoring over the course of the last five games. Overall this season, he accounts for 23.4% of Carolina’s scoring. In league play, that number jumped to 30.2%. Only one other player in the last 18 SEC seasons has accounted for more of his team’s scoring in SEC games and had winning SEC seasons than Thornwell. UT’s Ron Slay accounted for 31.3% of the Vols scoring during the 2003 league campaign.
– In league play, Carolina opponents averaged 18.4 turnovers per contest. Two straight opponents near the end of the season – Tennessee (Feb. 25) and Mississippi State (Feb. 28) – both committed 20 turnovers. It marked the sixth and seventh SEC opponents that committed at least 20 turnovers.
– Through 31 games this season, South Carolina has held the opposing team’s top scorer to below his season average in 23 of those games.
– South Carolina forced at least 15 turnovers in every SEC game this season except the Arkansas game (the Razorbacks had 13). Texas A&M’s 25 marked an opponent season high in the category, and Alabama was just behind with 24 giveaways.
– South Carolina currently ranks second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 29.2 percent from beyond the arc this season. Carolina has held eight opponents to below 20% from 3-point range this season and 17 opponents below 30%.
DOZIER NAMED TO SEC COMMUNITY SERVICE TEAM
South Carolina sophomore guard PJ Dozier was named to the 2017 SEC Community Service Team on March 2. This season marks the 19th that the SEC has named its Community Service Team in men’s basketball. Dozier has done outstanding work in community outreach during his time at Carolina, reading to local schools, helping with Meals on Wheels and the annual 8K In 8 Days campaign to name a few.
CREMINS NAMED SEC LEGEND
The Southeastern Conference released its 2017 AllstateÂ® SEC Basketball Legends on Jan. 20, and it was announced that Gamecock great Bobby Cremins has been selected as South Carolina’s representative this season. Cremins was the starting point guard for Carolina where he played from 1967-1970. He was captain of the 1969-70 team that went 25-3 and captured the ACC regular-season title with an undefeated 14-0 mark in league games. Cremins was an assistant at South Carolina for legendary head coach Frank McGuire following his playing career, before he became a college head coach at Georgia Tech, Appalachian State and College of Charleston. Cremins led his teams to 18 post-season appearances, including 11 NCAA Tournament berths.
BY THE NUMBERS
34 – South Carolina scored a season high 34 points off of 22 LSU turnovers in the win at the Maravich Center on Feb. 1.
48 – South Carolina has out-scored its opponent in points in the paint in 48 of the last 64 games dating back to last season. The Gamecocks are 39-8 in those games, including a 15-6 mark this season when scoring more points in the paint than its opponent.
51.7% – South Carolina collects an assist on 51.7 percent of its made baskets this season (398/769). Carolina dished 15 assists in the home win vs. Tennessee, led by PJ Dozier’s four helpers.
60+ – Three different Gamecocks have registered at least 60 assists this season. Sophomore guard PJ Dozier’s 87 are a team high, while senior guards Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell have dished 71 and 73, respectively, this season.
64.5 – South Carolina ranks 30th in the country and leads the SEC in scoring defense, as opponents are averaging just 64.5 points per game this season.
62 – The senior trio of Sindarius Thornwell (22), Duane Notice (27) and Justin McKie (13) accounted for 62 points in the Carolina win over Auburn on Jan. 24.
98 – South Carolina’s 98 points scored vs. Auburn marked the third-most every scored in an SEC game and the most ever scored during the Frank Martin era.
126 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell is the career leader at Carolina with 126 starts.
1,355 – Senior guard Duane Notice ranks 19th all-time at Carolina with 1,355 points. Notice is just six points away from surpassing Mike Doyle (1,360) for 18th all-time.
1,807 – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell ranks fifth all-time at Carolina with 1,807 career points. Thornwell is 97 points away from passing Devan Downey (1,901) for fourth place all-time. Thornwell is just the fifth Gamecock to score at least 1,800 points during his career.
3,162 – Senior guards Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell have combined to score 3,162 points during their time in the Garnet and Black.
outh Carolina is making headlines this season for its tenacious defense, check out a few key stats on the Gamecock D:
– Carolina has held 16 opponents this season to below 40% from the floor.
– The Gamecocks have ranked among the top 25 in the nation in field goal percentage defense at the conclusion of the last two seasons – 13th in 2014-15 when opponents hit 38.7%, and 25th in 2015-16 when opponents hit 39.7% – while Carolina currently ranks 18th nationally (opponent field goal percent of 39.6%) in the category this season.
– The Gamecocks have scored double-digit points off of turnovers in all but one game this season, including a season high 34 points off of turnovers in the win at LSU on Feb. 1.
– Carolina leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally with 17.4 opponent turnovers per game. Only West Virginia (21.2), Fordham (17.6), Fordham (17.7) and The Citadel (17.6) force more turnovers per contest.
– The Gamecocks lead the SEC and rank 29th nationally in steals per game with 7.9 per contest.