Gamecock Gameday: Carolina Meets Baylor In Sweet 16 Matchup Friday
March 22, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Seventh-seeded South Carolina scored 65 second-half points in an upset win over the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils last Sunday to advance to its first Sweet 16 (current Tournament format) with an 88-81 victory. Carolina was led by five players in double figures, with senior guard Sindarius Thornwell once again leading the way with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists. Sophomore forward Chris Silva tallied a career high 17 points, and notched his fourth double-double of the season also grabbing a team high 10 rebounds. It was South Carolina’s first win over its old ACC foe since Dec. 12, 1970.
GAMECOCKS POST FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT WIN SINCE 1973
Led by a 29-point, 11-rebound performance by SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina posted its first NCAA Tournament win since 1973 last Friday with a 93-73 victory over 10th-seeded Marquette in the event’s opening round at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. South Carolina used a huge second half to clinch the win, out-scoring the Golden Eagles 54-33 in the second stanza, including a 21-6 run over the final 7:43. Gamecock sophomore guard PJ Dozier was also big for Carolina in the win, scoring 21 points, including 13 in the second half, while adding four assists and two steals. The stifling Gamecock defense played to its strength, forcing 18 Marquette turnovers, which turned into 25 Carolina points. South Carolina committed just nine turnovers in the win, and hit 52.2 percent (35-67) from the floor, including a 20-of-36 (55.6%) mark in the second half.
GAMECOCK QUICK HITS
– 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 head coach Frank Martin is now 8-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament games following Sunday’s upset win over No. 2 seed Duke. Martin’s first six wins in the postseason event came while he was the head coach at Kansas State. Martin led his 2009-10 K-State squad to an Elite Eight appearance, while each season that Martin’s team have advanced to the NCAA Tournament it has won at least one game.
– With the Gamecocks selection to the NCAA Tournament this season it marks the first time that South Carolina has had back-to-back postseason bids (NIT in 2016) since Carolina advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and then the NIT in 2005 and 2006.
– South Carolina is 3-2 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, a loss on March 10 to Alabama in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals in Nashville, and the NCAA Tourney wins over Marquette and Duke.
– South Carolina faced Seton Hall earlier this season at Madison Square Garden, with the Pirates winning the contest, 67-64, on Dec. 12.
– Rookie guard Rakym Felder’s hometown is Brooklyn, he played high schools hoops at Lincoln High, where he averaged 16.0 points and six assists per game as a senior.
– Did you know? Frank Martin’s sister and her family live in Brooklyn and own several restaurants in the area.
– Since Frank Martin has taken over as head coach at Carolina, the Gamecocks are 3-1 in games played in New York City with wins over Manhattan, Iowa State and Syracuse at the Barclays Center, and the loss to Seton Hall in December at Madison Square Garden.
– With a win over Baylor, South Carolina will tie for the most wins in school history with its 25th win of the season. The Gamecocks also won 25 during the 1969-70 and 2015-16 seasons.
Baylor is coached by Scott Drew, who is the school’s all-time wins leader. He is in his 14th season, and has a record of 277-179 at the school.
– The Bears have a 19-6 record in postseason tournaments over the last eight seasons.
– Baylor began the year with a 15-game win streak, and is 27-7 overall entering the Sweet 16.
– As a team, the Bears are shooting 47.6 percent from the field through 34 games.
– The team’s defense holds the opposition to an average of 63.5 points per game, 21st in the country.
– Johnathan Motley leads the team in points 17.3 and rebounds 9.9 per game. The junior is a Naismith Trophy semifinalist, on the Wooden Award National Ballot and a Karl Malone Award finalist. He’s a 2nd Team All-American by USBWA, Sporting News and NBC.
– Miami (Fla.) transfer Manu Lecomte ranks second on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game and won Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
– Led by Motley, the Bears have a +9.1 rebounding margin. That ranks second in the country.
– One weakness the team has shown this season is a habit of turning the ball over. Baylor has a -2.1 turnover margin, putting it 306th in the country, and ranks 286th in the country for steals per game.
– The team’s lone senior, guard Ishmail Wainwright, has a packed stat line for the Bears. He averages 5.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and a team-high 1.7 steals per game.
Journey through the Tourney
Defeated 14-seed New Mexico State in Round 1, 91-73
Defeated 11-seed Southern Cal in Round 2, 82-78
SERIES INFO: Baylor leads the all-time series with South Carolina 4-2 … The team’s have never met on a neutral court before … The last meeting between the two schools was on Nov. 18, 2014 in ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon in Columbia … Kenny Cherry led the Bears in that 2014 contest with 20 points, while current Baylor starter Johnathan Motley tallied 17 points and pulled down five rebounds … Frank Martin is 4-6 all-time vs. Baylor, with the majority of those contests coming while he was the head coach at Kansas State.
BY THE NUMBERS
17.3 – South Carolina leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally with 17.3 forced turnovers per game.
20+ – Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell’s 17 20-point games this season mark the most 20-point games in a campaign since Devan Downey had 19 20-point efforts during the 2009-10 season.
21.4 – Thornwell’s 21.4 points per game in overall games this season leads the SEC and ranks 15th nationally. Thornwell has scored in double-figures in every game this season and has scored 15 or more 25 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.
34 – Freshman guard Rakym Felder’s 34 3s on the year mark the most by a Carolina freshman since Sindarius Thornwell had 37 during his rookie campaign in 2013-14.
The winner of Friday’s Sweet 16 matchup will advance to Sunday’s Elite Eight to play the winner of the fourth-seeded Florida vs. No. 8 seed Wisconsin contest, which tips following the Gamecock matchup vs. Baylor.