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Gamecocks Host Houston On Sunday At Noon
Men's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Host Houston On Sunday At Noon

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (6-3) returns to Colonial Life Arena on Sunday to host Houston (4-2) in a non-conference matchup at Noon ET.  The Gamecocks will wear their recently unveiled throwback uniforms for the first time this season vs. the Cougars.  The matchup will be broadcast on ESPNU with Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Daymeon Fishback (analyst) on the call, while Derek Scott (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (analyst) will have the call for the Gamecock Radio Network.

> South Carolina and Houston will meet on Sunday in the sixth meeting all-time between the two schools and the first since the 1990-91 campaign.
> An 84-80 win at UMass marked the first road victory of the season for the Gamecocks earlier this week in Amherst.  Sophomore forward Keyshawn Bryant made his season debut, scoring 13 points, and guard Jermaine Couisnard matched his season high with 16 points, as the duo provided a spark on both ends of the court off the bench in the win.
> Sophomore guard AJ Lawson posted his fourth 20-point game of the season with a game-high 24 on eight bade baskets and six made free throws in the win at UMass.  Lawson enters action vs. Houston pacing Carolina with 16.6 points per game this season, a mark which ranks eighth in the SEC.
> Sunday’s contest vs. Houston marks the start of a two-week stretch for Carolina that features matchups vs. the Cougars, and then on the road at Clemson and at Virginia.  All three of those teams advanced to the postseason a year ago, with Houston advancing to the Sweet 16, and Virginia capturing the national championship.

> South Carolina will wear its recently unveiled throwback jerseys for the first time this season on Sunday vs. Houston.  Fans can visit the official online store at to purchase the full line of throwback gear.  
> The uniforms are inspired by the look of the uniforms from the 1970’s era of Gamecock basketball. 

> Senior forward Maik Kotsar has played great basketball to start the season.  Kotsar is such a strong component for the Gamecocks on the defensive end, but of late, his offense and rebounding have been key.  Kotsar scored in double figures in all three games last week (vs. Wichita State/UNI/George Washington), extending his career-best streak to five straight games with 10 or more points. Kotsar led the Gamecocks with 12 points, three assists, two blocks and three steals, while also pulling down seven rebounds vs. Wichita State (Nov. 26), and he was strong again vs. UNI (Nov. 27), scoring 12 with two blocks, en route to Cancun Challenge All-Tournament Team honors.  Kotsar returned to Columbia to pace Carolina with 17 points, nine rebounds and another two-block performance in the home win over George Washington.  He was near perfect from the field, hitting 8-of-9 attempts from the floor, and he also collected Carolina’s only steal in the game vs. the Colonials.  Kotsar also led the Gamecocks with 36.7 minutes per game during the stretch.  Kotsar snapped his double-figure streak at UMass, however, he scored nine points, pulled down a team high nine rebounds, dished five assists and had three steals in 27 minutes of action.  

> Sophomore guard AJ Lawson is really heating up on the offensive end of the floor of late.  Over the course of the last three games, Lawson has hit 56.8% (21-37) from the field and is averaging 19.3 points per game in 29.0 minutes per outing.  Over the stretch he is also 11-of-14 at the free throw line and has five 3-pointers, which paces the team over the last three games.

> Four are averaging double-figures over the course of the two-game win streak, led by Lawson’s 19.0 points per game
> Lawson has hit 9-of-11 from the foul line (81.8%)
> Couisnard is averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 assists per game over the stretch
> As a team, the Gamecocks have hit 63-of-117 from the field – 53.8 percent
> Nine different Gamecocks are averaging at least 11.0 minutes per game during the stretch
> Opponents have hit just 39.0 percent from the field
> Carolina is averaging 19.0 assists per game

> Houston is 4-2 this season and has won two straight and three of its last four entering Sunday’s contest vs. Carolina.
> The Cougars, who won 33 games a year ago and advanced to the Sweet 16 before suffering a loss to Kentucky, are led by head coach Kelvin Sampson in his sixth season at UH.
> Houston is averaging 83.0 points per contest this season, while holding opponents to 71.3 points per game.  The Cougars are hitting 46.6 percent from the floor and 73.0 percent at the free throw line.
> In UH’s most recent win, a 68-60 victory over Texas State, Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes led the squad with 21 points and three assists, while Fabian White Jr. added 15 points.  
> Houston is also strong on the glass, holding a +11.7 rebound margin over its opponents, which leads the American and ranks sixth nationally.
> Another strong stat for the Cougars is turnovers, UH is averaging only 11.2 per contest, which ranks second in the American and 20th nationally.

> South Carolina is led by eighth-year head coach Frank Martin.  Martin, the 2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, owns a 250-163 record in his 13th season as a head coach, and a 133-109 record in his eighth season at Carolina.
> Joining Martin on the sidelines is a veteran staff, including assistant coaches Perry Clark (seventh season), Chuck Martin (third season) and Bruce Shingler (fourth season), director of basketball operations Andy Assaley (eighth season) and strength and conditioning coach Scott Greenawalt (eighth season), and several support staff members.
> South Carolina returns a core group from last season’s squad, while welcoming seven newcomers to Columbia, including five freshmen – Trey Anderson, Jalyn McCreary, Trae Hannibal, Wildens Leveque and Mike Green, transfer Seventh Woods (North Carolina/not eligible this season due to NCAA transfer rules) and graduate transfer Micaiah Henry (Tennessee Tech/immediately eligible).
> Carolina’s top returning scorer, and 2019 SEC All-Freshman Team honoree, is sophomore guard AJ Lawson, who scored 13.4 points per outing last season, while dishing 2.9 assists per game.  Over the summer, Lawson competed for Team Canada at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece, leading the Canadians with 16.7 points per outing, including an event-high 31 points vs. Senegal.
> R-junior guard Jair Bolden, who was unable to play last season due to NCAA transfer rules (transferred in the summer of 2018 after playing two seasons at George Washington), will bring veteran leadership and proven scoring ability to the court this season for Carolina, as the Brooklyn, N.Y., native averaged 11.2 points per game as a sophomore for the Colonials, while also pacing the team with 98 assists on the season.
> In SEC action, the Gamecocks open league play on Jan. 7 at Colonial Life Arena against No. 6/6 Florida, while also hosting No. 2/2 Kentucky, No. 22/24 LSU, and No. -/25 Tennessee in conference play (rankings listed are preseason).
> South Carolina returns 43.9 percent of scoring from a year ago, 48.3 percent of its made field goals, and 45.7 percent of its rebounding, following the graduation of All-SEC forward Chris Silva, who led the Gamecocks with 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and 150 made field goals last season.
> Sophomore guard AJ Lawson is Carolina’s top returning scorer after contributing 13.4 points per outing last season.  Lawson, who was named to the Jerry West Award Watch List last month, posted 18 double-figure scoring games last season, including six 20-point performances.
> South Carolina improved to 83-29 all-time in season openers, and a perfect 8-0 under the direction of Frank Martin in season lidlifters, when the Gamecocks posted a 77-55 win over North Alabama Nov. 6 at Colonial Life Arena.  Redshirt-sophomore forward Justin Minaya (17) and r-junior guard Jair Bolden (14) scored in double figures.
> R-freshman guard Jermaine Couisnard made his college debut vs. North Alabama, putting together a strong showing with nine points, four rebounds, two assists and a block in 22 minutes of action.  Couisnard missed the exhibition vs. CIU on Oct. 30 due to illness.
> Carolina improved to 2-0 on the young season when it posted a 66-32 victory over Wyoming at Colonial Life Arena on Nov. 10.  Four were in double figures for the Gamecocks, but the story of the game was the Carolina defense, which held Wyoming to just nine made field goals in the contest.
> Sophomore guard AJ Lawson and r-freshman guard Jermaine Couisnard each tallied 12 points to pace the Gamecocks in the win over the Cowboys.  Sophomore forward Alanzo Frink netted a then-career best 10 points, and r-junior guard Jair Bolden added 11.
> Sophomore guard AJ Lawson hit seven buckets, including a pair of 3s, and was a career best 12-of-13 at the foul line to post a new career high 28 points in leading the Gamecocks over Cleveland State on Nov. 15 at Colonial Life Arena.  Classmate Alanzo Frink posted the first double-double of his career as well, scoring 11 with 10 boards, including eight on the offensive glass.
> Despite three Gamecocks in double-figures, including a game-high 22 points from sophomore guard AJ Lawson, Boston U posted a 78-70 win over Carolina on Nov. 19 at Colonial Life Arena.  The Terriers connected on nine made 3-pointers, and hit an opponent season high 42.2% (27-64) from the floor.
> The Gamecocks rebounded from their first loss of the season to post a 74-69 hard-fought win over visiting Gardner-Webb Nov. 22 at Colonial Life Arena.  Five were in double-figures for the Gamecocks, led by rookie guard Jermaine Couisnard and sophomore guard AJ Lawson’s 16 points each.  Senior forward Maik Kotsar (11), junior Jair Bolden (10) and sophomore Alanzo Frink (10) were also in double figures.  It was the first time this season that five Gamecocks have reached double figures in a game.
> South Carolina suffered a 70-47 loss to Wichita State in its opening neutral-site game at the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 26 at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Senior forward Maik Kotsar was the only player in double figures for Carolina, finishing with 12 points. He also had seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks in a team-high 36 minutes.
> Senior forward Maik Kotsar was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Cancun Challenge, after scoring 12 points in each matchup at the event.  Kotsar also led Carolina in the game vs. Wichita State, collecting seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and three steals in 36 minutes of action.
> Sophomore guard AJ Lawson scored 20 points, his third 20+ outing of the season, against UNI (Nov. 27).  Lawson connected on his first four shot attempts in the game, and finished with eight made field goals, matching his career high.  
> Carolina snapped its two-game losing streak when it posted a 74-65 victory over George Washington on Dec. 1 in Columbia.  Senior forward Maik Kotsar continued his stretch of strong play, leading the Gamecocks with 17 points and 9 rebounds, pushing his double-figure scoring streak to five-straight games, the longest such stretch of his career.  

12.67 – Carolina is pulling down an average of 13.0 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks third in the SEC and 54th nationally.
27th – Led by Kotsar’s 11 blocks on the year, Carolina is 27th nationally with 45 blocks through the first nine games.
250 – South Carolina head coach Frank Martin captured the 250th win of his celebrated career in the win over Gardner-Webb on Nov. 22.  Martin’s team won 117 games at Kansas State, and his Gamecocks have captured 134 victories.
53.8% – In its last two contests, Carolina has hit 63-of-117 from the floor for an average of 53.8 percent from the field.  Lawson’s 13 made baskets during the stretch are a team high.
13 – Sophomore guard Keyshawn Bryant made his season debut for the Gamecocks in the road victory at UMass.  He was a key component to the game, making an impact on both ends of the court.  Bryant hit 5-of-9 attempts from the field, and finished with 13 points and two assists in 22 minutes of action.
14.0/5.0 – Jermaine Couisnard hit double-figures for the fourth time this season, and was in double-figures in consecutive games for the first time in his career when he scored 12 points in the win vs. GW, before matching a season high with 16 points in the road win at UMass.  Couisnard was also Carolina’s top assist maker vs. the Colonials, matching a season high with six.  Over the last two games, Couisnard is averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 assists in 27.5 minutes per game.

> Following Sunday’s game vs. Houston, the Gamecocks prepare for a pair of road contests against ACC opponents, first, at Clemson (Dec. 15/ESPN2), before traveling to face Virginia (Dec. 22/ABC).  Carolina’s next home contest is Dec. 30 when it hosts Stetson at 3 p.m. ET (SEC Network+)