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Gamecocks Face Ole Miss In SEC Tournament Thursday Night
Men's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Face Ole Miss In SEC Tournament Thursday Night

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (6-14, 4-12 SEC) opens SEC Tournament action on Thursday versus Ole Miss (15-10, 10-8 SEC) at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.  Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network broadcast, while Derek Scott (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (analyst) will have the call over the air on the Gamecock Radio Network. 

Arena: Bridgestone Arena (19,395)
Broadcast: SEC Network
  Play-By-Play: Tom Hart
  Analyst: Dane Bradshaw
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
  In Columbia: 107.5 The Game
  Play-By-Play: Derek Scott
  Analyst: Casey Manning
  Sirius: TBA | XM: TBA | Internet: TBA
Watch: WatchESPN/ESPN App
Live Stats:
  Series: Ole Miss leads 22-20
  At Neutral Sites: Carolina leads 6-4
  Series Trend: The Rebels have won two straight
  Last Meeting: 81-74 Ole Miss win on Feb. 13, 2021, in Columbia

> South Carolina opens up action at the SEC Tournament on Thursday evening vs. Ole Miss at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network) at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.  The meeting is the 10th all-time between the two schools in the SEC Tournament, and the first since 2018.  Carolina owns a 5-4 advantage in Tournament matchups vs. the Rebels.
> Should Carolina win on Thursday, the Gamecocks would advance to face No. 3 seed LSU, again at approximately 9:30 PM ET (SEC Network) on Friday in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals.  Carolina suffered an 85-80 loss to the Tigers in Baton Rouge in mid-January.
> Carolina is 21-28 (.428) all-time in SEC Tournament games entering the 2021 event.  Carolina’s last Tournament win came in 2018, posting an 85-84 win over Ole Miss in the opening round.  
> South Carolina concluded the regular season at Kentucky last Saturday, suffering a 92-64 loss to the Wildcats.  Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant led the Gamecocks with 16 points in the loss.
> The Gamecocks suffered a 101-73 loss to No. 12 Arkansas in their home finale last Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena.  The Razorbacks hit 55.2 percent (37-67) from the field, and had three score 20+ led by freshman guard Moses Moody’s 28.  Junior guard AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks with 18 points, connecting on four attempts from 3-point range.
> South Carolina snapped its six-game losing streak with a 91-70 road win at Georgia on Feb. 27, marking the 10th straight Gamecock win over the Bulldogs, and Carolina’s fifth consecutive in Athens.  Four Gamecocks were in double figures, led by R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard’s season high 23.  
> Sophomore guard Trae Hannibal continued his hot streak on the offensive end.  The Hartsville, S.C., native was 6-of-8 from the field at UGA, en route to matching his career high of 15 points.  He also dished out a team high five assists, pulled down a team high eight rebounds and collected a career high four steals in the Carolina win.  
> Rookie forward Tre-Vaughn Minott earned the first start of his career at Georgia.  The Montreal native began the game 3-of-3 from the floor, and finished with a season high six points and three rebounds in the Carolina win.

> Junior guard AJ Lawson was honored with SEC postseason accolades from the league’s coaches, as the Toronto, Canada, native was named Second Team All-SEC.  It is the second-career postseason honor for Lawson, who was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2019.  Lawson’s selection to the Second Team marks the sixth straight season that Carolina has had a member of the coaches First or Second Team.  
> Lawson enters SEC Tournament action this week averaging a team high 16.9 points per game, while also collecting 4.1 rebounds, dishing out 1.3 assists and collecting 1.5 steals per game.  His points per game rank fourth in the SEC (overall games), and his steals per outing is tied for 10th in the league.  Lawson has made his mark beyond the arc this season, as his 35.6 percent from range is second in the league, and his 163 career 3-pointers ranks eighth in Carolina history.  He has 16 games this season with multiple makes from 3-point range, with 13 games with three or more from beyond the arc, and he ranks 23rd in the nation this season with 2.90 made 3s per game.

> Ole Miss is 15-10 overall this season and finished SEC play with a 10-8 mark.  
> The Rebels have won two straight, both home wins (vs. Kentucky, vs. Vanderbilt), entering action this week in Nashville.
> Ole Miss is led by All-SEC guard Devontae Shuler.  He paces the team with 15.6 points per game, and his 3.3 assists per game are also a team high.
> Romello White (11.0) and Jarkel Joiner (10.8) also average double figures for the Rebels, and Luis Rodriguez’s 6.1 rebounds per game are a team best.
> Thursday’s meeting with South Carolina will be Ole Miss’ first game at a neutral site this season.
> Ole Miss is second in the SEC and 24th in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 63.1 points per game this season.
> The Rebels are also among conference leaders in forced turnovers, as opponents average 15.96 turnovers per game vs. Ole Miss this season, which is fourth in the SEC and 27th nationally.

> Head coach Frank Martin is in his ninth season leading the Gamecocks in 2020-21.  He is joined by assistant coaches Will Bailey, Chuck Martin and Bruce Shingler, while Andy Assaley is the director of operations for the squad.
> Martin is 34-51 (.400) 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.
> The Gamecocks have hit double-digit conference victories in four of the last five seasons (11 in 2016, 12 in 2017, 11 in 2019, and 10 in 2020).
> A pair of Gamecocks collected preseason honors from both the media and SEC coaches during the preseason.  Junior guard AJ Lawson earned preseason All-SEC Second-Team accolades from the media, while Lawson (First Team) and Couisnard (Second Team) were honored by the SEC coaches on the preseason teams.
> Junior guard AJ Lawson is Carolina’s top returning scorer after pacing the team with 13.4 points per game last season.  
> Five who started the majority of SEC games last season return to the court for Carolina.  Lawson, sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard, who paced the team in league play at 12.1 points per game, junior forward Keyshawn Bryant, junior forward Justin Minaya (missed nine SEC games due to injury last season) and junior forward Alanzo Frink.  
> From last season, the biggest absence from the lineup will be graduated four-year starter Maik Kotsar.  Kotsar had a career year, averaging 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while also leading the Gamecocks in blocks (1.1 per game) and steals at 1.5 per outing in 2019-20.  Kotsar, who was a starter during his rookie season on Carolina’s 2017 Final Four squad, also played a team high 30.4 minutes per game a year ago.
> R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard led Carolina with 20 points in the win vs. Tulsa (Nov. 29).  It marked the third 20-point outing of his career.  
> Junior guard AJ Lawson was named to the Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament Team after a pair of double-figure scoring outings at the event.  Lawson led the Gamecocks with 12 vs. Liberty (Jan. 28), before a 17-point outing behind four 3s in the win over Tulsa.  On the weekend, Lawson was 6-of-13 (46.2%) from range, while also dishing out three assists and collecting three steals.
> The Gamecocks held a halftime lead on the road at No. 10 Houston (Dec. 5), however, the Cougars battled back in the second half and closed a 77-67 win.  Junior forward Justin Minaya hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and led Carolina with 13 points in the loss.  
> South Carolina returned to the court for the first time since Dec. 5 when it hosted Florida A&M on Jan. 2.  The contest marked the Gamecocks’ first game in 28 days due to a combination of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the South Carolina program.
> The Gamecocks posted a 78-71 win over Florida A&M on Jan. 2 in their home opener, using a 9-2 run over the final five minutes to secure the win.  Junior guard AJ Lawson’s then-career high nine made field goals saw him post a team best 25 points in the win, sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard added 15, and junior forward Justin Minaya posted his first double-double of the season with 10 points and a team high 10 rebounds.  The Gamecocks had nine players available for the contest.  
> Carolina opened SEC play on Jan. 6 with a 78-54 win over visiting Texas A&M at Colonial Life Arena.  Junior guard AJ Lawson scored a career high 30 points in the win, R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard added 15 points and sophomore forward Wildens Leveque scored a season high 10 points for the Gamecocks.
> Carolina held a four-point lead at halftime of its matchup at LSU behind 18 first-half points from junior guard AJ Lawson, but, the Tigers out-scored the Gamecocks 51-42 in the second half to close the home win on Jan. 16.  Lawson finished with 22, his third-straight game with 20+, and junior forward Keyshawn Bryant scored a career high 26 in the loss.
> Due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, assistant coach Chuck Martin, and Doug Edwards, who handles student-athlete development for the team, did not travel with the team to Baton Rouge on Jan. 16.  Assistant coach Bruce Shingler was the acting head coach for the matchup vs. the Tigers, along with assistant coach Will Bailey, video coordinator Brian Steele, and special assistant to the head coach John Reynolds.
> Missouri jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first three minutes of the Jan. 19 contest, and the Gamecocks weren’t able to overcome the early deficit in the 11-point loss to the 19th-ranked Tigers.  Missouri hit 58.3% from the field in the 81-70 win.
> Sophomore forward Trey Anderson had a breakout performance at Mizzou.  The San Diego native played a career high 25 minutes off the bench, hitting 7-of-9 from the floor, including a pair of 3s, en route to a career high 17 points.  His five rebounds were also a career best.
> Carolina and Auburn traded points early in the matchup at Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 23, but Auburn used an 11-1 run to take a double-digit lead midway through the first half, and out-scored the Gamecocks the rest of the way in the win.  Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant continued his hot streak on the offensive end, leading Carolina with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field.  Classmate AJ Lawson matched his career high with six made 3-pointers vs. the Tigers, and r-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard dished out a season high six assists.
> Anchored by a 19 point, 10 rebound double-double from junior forward Keyshawn Bryant, Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak with an 83-59 win over Georgia at Colonial Life Arena on Jan. 27.  Jermaine Couisnard added an SEC season high 18 points, and sophomore guard Trae Hannibal dished out a career best six assists in the win.  
> The Gamecock defense was locked in from the start vs. Georgia, and held the Bulldogs to opponent season lows of 31.8 percent (21-66) from the floor, and 15.4 percent (4-26) from beyond the arc.  The Gamecock defense also forced 20 Georgia turnovers.
> Vanderbilt jumped out to an early lead, and led for all but 57 seconds of the contest against South Carolina on Jan. 30 in Nashville in the 93-81 Commodore win.  The Gamecocks hit 50% of their attempts from the field, including 10 from beyond the arc, but Vandy responded with 13 made 3s, and a 22-of-27 mark at the free throw line.
> Junior guard AJ Lawson led Carolina with 21 points at Vandy, his fifth game this season with 20+, and he was also 3-of-9 from 3-point range, marking his seventh contest this season with three or more makes from beyond the arc.  
> South Carolina held Florida without a field goal for the final 6:37 of the contest, and used a 13-1 run during that final stretch to post a come-from-behind upset road win over the No. 22/23 ranked Gators on Feb. 3 in Gainesville.  Junior guard AJ Lawson scored 22 to pace the Gamecocks, and his eight rebounds were also a team best.  It was Carolina’s third-straight win in Gainesville.  
> Carolina out-scored Florida 50-30 in the paint, marking its highest point in the paint total of the season.  Senior guard Seventh Woods played a huge roll in that total, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor, with several of those made baskets in the lane.  His 12 points marked a season high.
> South Carolina suffered a 75-59 loss to Mississippi State on Feb. 6 at Colonial Life Arena.  The Gamecocks hit just 31.1 percent of their attempts from the floor (19-61), and the Bulldogs connected on 46.4 percent (26-56) in the win.  Carolina was also out-rebounded, as MSU held a 46-30 advantage on the glass.
> South Carolina jumped out to an early lead on No. 11/11 Alabama (Feb. 9), but the Crimson Tide battled back to take a three-point lead into the halftime break.  The contest featured five lead changes and seven ties, but the Crimson Tide clinched the win with a pair of free throws from James Rojas with two seconds to play.
> The Gamecock defense forced 22 Alabama turnovers, and held the Crimson Tide to just 38.2 percent from the field, but Alabama hit 12 3s, compared to Carolina’s six, and UA added 17 at the free throw line.
> The Gamecocks pulled to within five of the Rebel lead with 17 seconds to play, but Ole Miss guard Devontae Shuler blocked a Gamecock shot attempt, and then sealed the win with a pair of free throws at the opposite end, as the Rebels posted an 81-74 win at Colonial Life Arena on Feb. 13.  
> Junior guard AJ Lawson scored 22 vs. Ole Miss, his seventh 20-point performance in SEC play this season.  He connected on four 3-pointers, his ninth game this season (overall games) with three or more makes from beyond the arc.
> Carolina suffered a 93-73 loss at No. 19/20 Tennessee in mid-week action on Feb. 17.  Junior guard AJ Lawson posted his eighth 20-point performance of SEC play with a team high 20 points, and Keyshawn Bryant and TJ Moss each added 15, but the Vols hit 54.2 percent from the field, and were fueled by a 29-point effort by Victor Bailey Jr. in the home win.  
> Junior guard AJ Lawson poured in another 20-point performance with a game high 22, and sophomore guard Trae Hannibal and junior forward Keyshawn Bryant each added 15, but the Gamecocks suffered a 93-78 loss to No. 20/19 Missouri at Colonial Life Arena (Feb. 20).  The Tigers hit 57.6 percent from the field and held a 16-point halftime advantage in the win.
> Hannibal was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor, with a pair of 3s, and also a 1-1 mark at the free throw line vs. the Tigers.
> The Gamecocks suffered a 69-48 road loss at Mississippi State on Feb. 23.  Carolina hit a season low 29.0% from the field, and 19.0% from 3-point range, in the loss.  Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant’s 14 points marked a team high, and TJ Moss dished out a team best four assists.

> R-junior forward Justin Minaya paces the Gamecocks with 6.4 rebounds per contest, which is +1.1 rebounds per game over his career average.  He has three double-doubles on the year, and also paces the Gamecocks with 2.40 offensive rebounds per game, which is fifth in the SEC.
> In strictly SEC games, Minaya’s 6.2 boards per game ranked tied for 10th in the conference.  He had two double-doubles in league games, and pulled down a season best 11 rebounds at No. 19 Mizzou (Jan. 19).

33.2 – The South Carolina duo of AJ Lawson (17.4) and Keyshawn Bryant (15.8) averaged a combined 33.2 points per SEC game this season, which was the third-ranked scoring tandem in league play behind LSU’s Cameron Thomas and Trendon Watford (39.0) and Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu (35.4).
2.9 – Junior guard AJ Lawson has made multiple 3s in 16 contests this season, and has made three or more in 13 of those.  He paces the SEC with 2.9 made 3’s per outing, which ranks 23rd nationally.
16.85 – The Gamecocks are forcing 16.85 opponent turnovers per game (overall games), which is an SEC best, and 12th nationally. 
15 – South Carolina’s 15 steals in the win at Georgia marked the first time the Gamecocks had 15 steals in a game since an 89-79 win over Vanderbilt in Columbia on Jan. 16, 2010, when Carolina also had 15.
3/6 – Junior forward Keyshawn Bryant is just three assists away from reaching 100 for his career and sophomore guard TJ Moss is just six away from reaching the mark.  They would join four other Gamecocks who have 100+ in Seventh Woods (175), AJ Lawson (167), Jermaine Couisnard (149) and Justin Minaya (133).  

> Tre-Vaughn Minott, a freshman center from Montreal, has joined the Gamecocks and is immediately eligible for competition.  Minott has been at the NBA Academy Latin America since Sept. 2019.  During his time at the Academy, his squad competed at the National Prep School Invitational in Rhode Island and at The Skill Factory Tournament of Champions in Atlanta in 2020.  

> South Carolina junior forward Alanzo Frink was named to the 2021 SEC Men’s Basketball Community Service Team, the conference announced on Thursday, March 4, in advance of this week’s SEC Tournament in Nashville.  Frink has participated in numerous community outreach initiatives during his time in the Garnet and Black. He has joined his teammates for the 8K Community Outreach Campaign during the summer months, including participating in events at the Palmetto Children’s Hospital, with Curing Kids Cancer, and he has also visited the Ronald McDonald House. During the annual community outreach campaign, Alanzo spent time at Sowing Seeds, helping with a gardening project, and he also volunteered at a summer camp for kids at the YMCA. At the Ronald McDonald House, he and his teammates hosted a luau for families, while Alanzo also spent time visiting with veterans and their families at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. Trips to Meadowfield Elementary School and Transitions also highlight Alanzo’s impact in the community.  This marks the 23rd year for the SEC Community Service Team for men’s basketball as well as for women’s basketball. All 21 league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men’s and women’s sports being chosen from 1999-2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.

> The winner of Thursday’s matchup between the Gamecocks and Rebels will advance to the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals and will face third-seeded LSU in the late game on Friday.  Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network broadcast.