Gamecocks Travel to Lexington to Face UK at Rupp
Tim Cowie/South Carolina Athletics
Carolina seeking just its third win all-time at Rupp Arena since joining the SEC in 1992
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (7-7, 0-1 SEC) hits the road for another mid-week conference clash at Kentucky (10-5, 1-2 SEC) on Tuesday. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Rupp Arena on ESPN2 with Karl Ravech (pxp) and Jimmy Dykes (analyst) on the call for the broadcast.
The Gamecocks have won just twice all-time at Rupp. The team’s last win there was Jan. 31, 2009, a 78-77 victory in which Zam Fredrick had 24 points and Devan Downey had 23.
Carolina’s first win in Lexington all-time came on March 2, 1997, an 84-79 victory over the 3rd-ranked Wildcats (Gamecocks were ranked 6th). The win gave South Carolina the outright SEC title and it was UK’s first home loss on Senior Day in 33 years. All-time leading scorer BJ McKie scored 22 and Larry Davis had 20. The Gamecocks also went 33-of-44 at the free throw line in the game.
Matchup: South Carolina at Kentucky (UK leads, 54-13)
Time: Jan. 10 at 7:00 PM
Venue: Rupp Arena (20,545)
Radio: 107.5 The Game
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
SC Game Notes: click here
UK Game Notes: click here
Tickets: click here
> A New Chapter of Gamecock Men’s Basketball is underway with first-year head coach Lamont Paris this season.
> Paris, who has been a part of nine NCAA Division I Tournaments and 17 twenty-win seasons as a college head and assistant coach, was named the University of South Carolina’s 33rd head coach by Director of Athletics Ray Tanner on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
> This new-look Gamecock squad features eight new players (four transfers and four freshman) headlined by standout freshman forward Gregory “GG” Jackson II, the highest rated recruit in program history (recruit rankings started in early 2000s). He joined former Carolina standout PJ Dozier (2015-17) as the only five-star signees in program history.
> Jackson II is currently one of two freshmen in the country averaging at least 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Alabama’s Brandon Miller (19.1 points, 8.5 rebounds) is the only other player on the list. Jackson’s 15.7 points per game average is sixth-most nationally amongst freshmen behind only Miller (through games played Jan. 8).
> Kentucky enters the game off a tough road trip at No. 7/7 Alabama on Saturday. The Wildcats have played a tough schedule and picked up a hard-fought 74-71 win over LSU last Tuesday (Jan. 3) for the team’s first league victory.
> UK averages 76.9 points per game, good for the third highest output in the SEC.
> The Wildcats rebound it well, averaging 39.8 boards per contest (27th nationally, 3rd SEC). They rank fifth in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (14.1).
> They also rank in the top-20 nationally in assists per game at 19th with 17.1.
> All-American Oscar Tshiebwe leads the nation averaging 13.2 rebounds per game.
> Sahvir Wheeler leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally averaging 6.6 assists per game.
> UK is the top 3-point shooting team in the SEC at 38.1 percent.
FREE THROWS FREE THROWS FREE THROWS FREE THROWS
> Vanderbilt took a hard-fought game over the Gamecocks on SEC opening night (Jan. 3), 84-79 in overtime at Memorial Gym. Hayden Brown forced OT with a made alley-op with .03 seconds remaining. In OT, the Commodores went 13-of-14 at the free throw line, nearly shooting as many free throws as Carolina did the entire game (15). Chico Carter Jr. led the Gamecocks with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists. It was Carter’s first career 20-point game in SEC play.
REAL RECOGNIZE REAL
> GG Jackson was named the CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week for the second time this season on Tuesday, Jan. 3, fresh off a game in which he scored a career-high 24 points in the non-conference finale vs. Eastern Michigan (Dec. 30), squaring off against the Eagles’ Emoni Bates. Jackson had a game-high nine rebounds and also made a career-best four 3s in the contest.
GG WAS HITTIN’ FROM THREE
> GG Jackson scored a career-high 24 points in the team’s 74-64 win over Emoni Bates and Eastern Michigan in the non-conference finale. He made a career-high four 3s and also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Carolina had its best first half of the season, scoring 40 points while shooting 54.8 percent (17-of-31) in building a double-digit advantage over the Eagles. The Gamecocks were dominate on the glass again with a 46-30 advantage. Chico Carter Jr. has 15 points and was an efficient 6-of-7 from the floor. Meechie Johnson had 10 to extend his double-figure scoring streak to six games. Carloina finished the non-conference slate a perfect 6-0 at CLA.
MEECHIE ON THE NICE LIST
> Meechie Johnson scored a career-high 25 points, going 6-of-11 from downtown, in a 65-58 victory over Western Kentucky (Dec. 22) right before Christmas. He had 15 points in the first half after going 5-of-8 from behind the arc. GG Jackson pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds (most by a Gamecock since Chris Silva had 17 at A&M on 3/5/19) and added 12 points for his second double-double of the season. The Gamecocks pulled down a season-high 51 rebounds and also limited the Hilltoppers to just 36.4 percent shooting and 20 made field goals, both season lows for opponents. WKU came into the game fourth in the nation in 3-point shooting at 42.1 percent. The Gamecocks limited the Hilltoppers to just 13.6 percent (3-of-22) from distance.
GRINDIN’ IT OUT
> After trailing by three, 44-41, with just over 12 minutes to go, South Carolina took control thanks to a 14-0 run over a 6-minute stretch to defeat Presbyterian, 68-57, on Sunday, Dec. 11. The Gamecocks moved to 4-0 at home with the win. Freshman GG Jackson led the way again with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Junior Meechie Johnson added 16 points while graduate transfer Hayden Brown had 14 points. The Gamecocks are 2-0 when the trio scores in double figures. Junior big Josh Gray added valuable minutes off the bench with a team-high seven rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
> Carolina bounced back from a tough road loss to start its two-game D.C. road swing with a 74-71 overtime victory at Georgetown (Dec. 3). Meechie Johnson made the go-ahead, 3-point basket with 25 seconds to go. He had a career day with 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds – all career highs. GG Jackson scored a team-high 22 points (9-for-19 FGs), all coming in the second half after going 0-for-5 the first 20 minutes. The Gamecocks trailed by 11 at the half. In the second half and overtime, South Carolina combined to shoot 20-of-37 (54.1 percent) from the field. The Gamecocks were 15-for-21 (71.4 percent) on 2-point shots in the second half and overtime combined. It was the team’s first true road win and first win away from Colonial Life Arena this season.
HOME SWEET HOME
> The Gamecocks snapped a three-game skid with a big comeback victory at home, 68-53, over USC Upstate on Black Friday (Nov. 25). Trailing by three at halftime, Carolina dominated the final 20 minutes, outscoring the Spartans 40-22 in the second half. The Gamecocks shot 58.1 percent (18-for-31) in half two. Freshman sensation Gregory “GG” Jackson II scored a career-high 22 points with an efficient 8-for-14 shooting day, including 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Carolina was shorthanded, missing two starters in Chico Carter Jr. and Meechie Johnson. Sophomore Jacobi Wright and freshman Zachary Davis started in their place. Wright had 10 points and Davis had seven points and four rebounds. Davis and Jackson in the starting five marked the first time since Nov. 30, 2018 two freshmen cracked the starting lineup (Keyshawn Bryant and AJ Lawson) for Carolina.
TOUGH TRIP TO THE LOWCOUNTRY
> South Carolina was handed three tough losses to a trio of good teams in the Charleston Classic vs. Colorado State (Nov. 17), Davidson (Nov. 18) and Furman (Nov. 20). Turnovers and poor shooting plagued the Gamecocks at TD Arena. Freshman GG Jackson continued his strong start, averaging 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 46.7 percent (21-for-45). Chico Carter Jr. had a pair of strong performances with 26 points vs. Davidson and 17 points vs. Furman. He was 10-for-16 from behind the arc in the tournament (62.5 percent).
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT HIM – JACKSON II EARNS SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
> Forward Gregory “GG” Jackson II was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday, Nov. 14, after leading the Gamecocks to a pair of wins the first week of the season. He averaged 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.
WATCH LIST SZN
> GG Jackson was one of 20 players in the country to be named to the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Watch List on Oct. 27, 2022. He joined former Gamecock Chris Silva (2015-19) as the only Carolina players on the watch list in the nine-year history of the award.
BY THE NUMBERS
6-0 – Carolina finished the non-conference slate a perfect 6-0 at CLA.
50.0% – Chico Carter Jr. is 33-of-66 from behind the arc, good for a team-leading 50.0 percent field goal percentage from distance.
24 – GG Jackson scored a career-high 24 points in a 74-64 win vs. Eastern Michigan (Dec. 30). He knocked down a career-high four 3s.
51 – The Gamecocks had a season-high 51 rebounds vs. WKU (Dec. 22). It’s the second time the team has had 50-plus rebounds this season.
16 – GG Jackson pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds in a win over WKU (Dec. 22). It was the most rebounds in a game by a Gamecock since Chris Silva had 17 boards on March 5, 2019 in a victory at Texas A&M. Jackson added 12 points in the game for his team leading second double-double.
4-0 – South Carolina is 4-0 this season in games with 10 or fewer turnovers.
20 – Gregory “GG” Jackson II has five 20-point performances on his resume so far this season. He’s scored in double-figures in 14 of 15 games this season and has led the team in scoring seven times.
3.5 – Meechie Johnson is currently averaging 3.5 assists per game (13th in the SEC). The last Gamecock to average 4.0 or more assists per game was Devan Downey (4.5) during the 2008-09 season.
50 – South Carolina had 50 rebounds vs. Clemson (Nov. 11), the first 50+ rebound game for the Gamecocks vs. a Power Five opponent since pulling down 52 vs. Alabama (Feb. 7, 2017), a game that went four overtime periods.
6 & 7 – Gregory “GG” Jackson II, a Columbia native, steps on campus ranked No. 6 in the final 247Sports and No. 7 in the final On3 player rankings for the 2022 class after reclassifying from 2023 over the summer.
18 & 10 – Jackson got his career going in emphatic fashion with 18 points and 10 rebounds in his debut as a Gamecock, an 80-77 win over SC State (Nov. 8) in the opener at CLA.
1,402 – Graduate transfer Hayden Brown scored 1,402 career points for The Citadel over five seasons, which is the seventh-most in program history.
2 – Brown is one of two players in The Citadel’s history to score 1,400 points and collect 700 rebounds in his career. A 6-5, 234-pound forward, he averaged 18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in 2021-22.
.691 – New head coach Lamont Paris spent the past five seasons as head coach at Chattanooga. He led the team to a 65-29 record the last three seasons and a berth in the 2022 NCAA Tournament after winning the SoCon Tournament Championship.
12 – Paris was an assistant for 17 seasons prior to becoming a head coach in 2017-18. He was a part of 12 NCAA Tournament appearances as an assistant (NCAA Division I and II), including a pair of Final Fours at Wisconsin in 2014 and 2015.
17 – In 22 seasons as a head or assistant coach in college, Paris has been a part of 17 teams that have won 20-or-more games in a season.
8 – Carolina’s roster features eight new players, including four transfers: Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (Illinois), Hayden Brown (The Citadel), Ebrima Dibba (Coastal Carolina) and Meechie Johnson (Ohio State).
> South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena to face Texas A&M (10-5, 2-0 SEC) on Saturday at 6 p.m. (ET). Courtney Lyle (pxp) and Joe Kleine (analyst) will be on the call for the SEC Network broadcast.