Gamecocks Host No. 16/15 Auburn Tuesday Night
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (9-8, 4-1 SEC) is back in action at Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday night when it hosts No. 16/15 Auburn (13-4, 2-2 SEC) for a 6:30 p.m. matchup. Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Andy Kennedy (analyst) will handle the call for the SEC Network.
> The Gamecocks look to rebound on Tuesday against Auburn after most recently suffering their first SEC loss of the season on Saturday at league-leading LSU. The Gamecocks were down early, and were unable to overcome a 20-point halftime deficit in the loss.
> Rookie guard A.J. Lawson led the Gamecocks with 18 points at LSU in 38 minutes of action. Lawson was 15-of-29, 51.7 percent, from the floor in a pair of road games last week, pacing the Gamecocks in each of those games (also a team high 24 at Vanderbilt). Lawson leads Carolina this season (overall games) with 13.6 points per outing.
> Foul trouble has plagued Carolina’s senior forward Chris Silva in the two most recent matchups. He was held to just 13 minutes and two points in the win at Vanderbilt, before playing just eight minutes (7 points) in the loss at LSU.
> Last season against Auburn in Columbia, the Gamecocks snapped a six-game losing streak with an 84-75 win over the 10th-ranked Tigers. Graduate student guard Frank Booker scored 19 points behind four 3s, and Silva added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Key to the win, holding Auburn sharp shooter Bryce Brown to just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
> What was key to the recent five-game win streak? Carolina’s offense. The Gamecocks averaged 82.8 points per game during the stretch, with four averaging double-figures. Gravett (14.8), Lawson (13.8), Silva (13.2) and rookie forward Keyshawn Bryant (12.4) averaged double-figures, and as a team, the Gamecocks hit 45.1 percent (134-297) from the field. To compare, through the first 11 games of the season, Carolina was 4-7, scoring 72.0 points per game and hitting just 41.4 percent overall.
COACHES VS. CANCER SUITS AND SNEAKERS WEEK
> It’s Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Week! Suits and Sneakers Week is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise funds and awareness about the fight against cancer, and promotes the American Cancer Society as a source of inspiration and hope for those facing cancer. While coaching games this week, Frank Martin and his staff will wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of fighting cancer.
THROUGH 17 GAMES…
> Carolina is 6-4 in home games, 2-3 on the road and 1-1 in neutral-site contests.
> Three average double-figures (overall games), led by rookie guard A.J. Lawson’s 13.6 points per outing. Silva (11.9) and Gravett (11.5) also average double figures.
> Six active Gamecocks average at least 7.0 points per game, and seven average at least 20 minutes per outing.
> In the SEC stats (overall games), Carolina is seventh in free throw percent (72.0%), and in SEC games, Carolina’s 73.8 percent at the line is tied for fifth.
> Carolina’s 16.2 forced turnovers per game is ranked 36th nationally.
> Sophomore forward Felip Haase paces the Gamecocks at the free throw line, as he has hit 41-of-46 attempts – 89.1 percent.
> South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is in his seventh season leading the Gamecocks and 12th season overall as a head coach in 2018-19. Martin, the 2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year (CollegeInsider.com), led South Carolina to its first Final Four and a school record 26 wins in 2016-17. In his 11 complete seasons as a head coach, Martin has led his teams to at least 21 wins seven times. Martin is a native of Miami, Fla., and a graduate of FIU.
> Prior to his time on the sidelines in the college ranks, Martin spent 15 years in high school coaching in Miami, Fla., including the last seven as a head coach. He was part of five state championships as an assistant at Miami Senior High School (1985-93), before earning two titles as the program’s head coach (1995-98). Highlighting Martin’s stint as the head coach of the program were consecutive 30-win seasons and consecutive Florida 6A State Championships in 1996 and 1997, with his 1997 squad earning a 36-1 overall record and ranking No. 4 in the USA Today Top 25 Poll. He also served as the head coach at North Miami Senior High School (1993-95) and one season at Booker T. Washington High School (1999-2000).
> Among active Division I head coaches, South Carolina’s Frank Martin holds the seventh-highest (tied with Michigan’s John Beilein) NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.667) behind only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
> Martin led team’s are 99-96 (.507) all-time in league play.
> South Carolina is in its 111th season of varsity basketball in 2018-19.
> Gamecock head coach Frank Martin is joined on the sidelines by assistant coaches Perry Clark (6th season), Bruce Shingler (3rd season) and Chuck Martin (2nd season). Andy Assaley is in his seventh season as the director of operations.
> South Carolina is one of 13 DI schools nationally that have two or more former DI coaches serving as an assistant coach. Perry Clark served as the head coach at Tulane, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, while Chuck Martin was the head coach at Marist for five campaigns.
> South Carolina advanced to its first Final Four in 2016-17, which included posting its first NCAA Tounament win since the 1973 campaign when it talied a 93-73 win over Marquette in the First Round.
> The Gamecocks are 24-14 (.631) in neutral-site contests under the direction of head coach Frank Martin, including a 3-3 mark last season.
> Carolina was 15-18 (.454) over the course of the last three seasons in away contests (2015-16, 16-17, 17-18).
> Martin is 30-40 (.428) 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.
> Senior forward Chris Silva was named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team by both the media and coaches; and also named to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, the Naismith Trophy Watch List and the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List. He was also named a Senior CLASS Award Candidate.
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
> Carolina is 9-8 overall and 4-1 in SEC contests.
> The Gamecocks look for their fourth straight win at home on Tuesday vs. Auburn.
> During the current home win streak – vs. North Greenville, Mississippi State and Missouri – Carolina is averaging 46.2 percent from the field (90-195), 34.8 percent from 3-point range (23-66) and 82.5 percent from the free throw line (66-80). Silva also has 11 blocks during the stretch, an average of 3.7 per game.
> Carolina averages 11.76 offensive rebounds per game (overall games) this season, which is sixth in the SEC and 69th nationally.
> Senior guard Hassani Gravett hit a trio of 3s in both of Carolina’s game last week. He has hit two or more 3s in 10 games this season, and three or more in six games.
> Rookie guard A.J. Lawson paced the Gamecocks in scoring at Vanderbilt and at LSU. He has led or shared the team lead in scoring a team high seven times in 2018-19.
> South Carolina returns seven letterwinners from last season’s 17-16 squad, including senior guard Hassani Gravett and senior forward Chris Silva.
> Carolina welcomes nine newcomers to its roster this season, including transfers and six freshmen student-athletes. Jair Bolden (transfer/George Washington/guard), redshirt-junior Raymond “Quad” Borup (r-junior/forward), graduate transfer Tre Campbell (transfer/Georgetown/guard), Keyshawn Bryant (freshman/guard), Jermaine Couisnard (freshman/guard), Alanzo Frink (freshman/forward), A.J. Lawson (freshman/guard), T.J. Moss (freshman/guard) and Nathan Nelson (freshman/forward).
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
> Auburn is 13-4 overall this season, and 2-2 in SEC contests.
> The Tigers are led by head coach Bruce Pearl in his fifth season.
> AU’s SEC wins have come against Georgia and at Texas A&M, with their losses at Ole Miss and most recently vs. Kentucky on Saturday.
> Three average double-figures for the Tigers, led by Bryce Brown’s 16.9 per game. He also paces the team in 3-point field goal percent (40.0%), having hit 60-of-155 from beyond the arc.
> Point guard Jared Harper adds 15.2 points per game, and is averaging an SEC high 6.6 assists per game, which ranks 11th nationally. He also takes care of the ball, as he ranks 23rd nationally in assist to turnover ratio (3.0).
> In the SEC stats, Auburn ranks second in scoring offense (84.2 ppg), fourth in scoring defense (67.4 ppg), fifth in 3-point field goal percent (36.3%), second in blocked shots per game (6.0), third in assists (16.5) and second in steals (9.7).
COMING UP NEXT
Carolina travels to face Oklahoma State on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge in Stillwater. The Cowboys are coached by Gamecock great, Mike Boynton Jr. Tip time for the matchup is set for 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU with Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Robbie Hummel (analyst) on the call.