Gamecocks face Temple Owls in New York Thursday

BY: TYRIA GOINES

South Carolina forward Chris Silva, right, celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina travels to New York City on Thursday to face Temple in the Second Annual Under Armour Reunion event at Madison Square Garden. The contest will mark Carolina’s first in the historic venue since posting a 77-70 win over Florida in the Elite Eight last March to advance to the Final Four.

The South Carolina starting five had a strong outing in Monday’s matchup win at FIU, scoring 74 of Carolina’s 78 points, let by Silva’s game high and career best, 26 points. At least four have scored in double figures in all five Gamecock wins this season.

Junior forward Chris Silva’s 14.0 points per game lead three Carolina players averaging double-figure points, as grad transfer guard Frank Booker and sophomore forward Maik Kotsar each average 11.0 per game. Booker has been on an absolute tear from beyond the arc through the first six games, connecting on 17-of-42 attempts (40.5%) from 3-point range, including a season high 4-of-8 attempts at FIU. His 2.8 made 3s per game is tied for sixth in the SEC. Junior guard Hassani Gravett dished seven assists in Monday’s win over FIU. He is averaging 5.3 per game, which is second in the SEC and is 53rd nationally. He has at least five assists in each of the last four games.

South Carolina is holding opponents to just 60.7 points per game, which leads the SEC (games through Nov. 27) and ranks 26th nationally.

Temple is led by head coach Fran Dunphy – one of 25 active coaches with at least 500 wins – in his 12th season with the Owls. Prior to his time at Temple, Dunphy was the head coach at Penn.

The Owls began the season 3-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign, before suffering a loss at La Salle on Sunday. Temple posted three wins, victories over Old Dominion, Auburn and Clemson, to claim the 2017 Charleston Classic title on Nov. 19. Temple ranks among the nation’s best, hitting 81.2% of its attempts from the foul line – seventh nationally (games through Nov. 27). Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr., leads three averaging double figures with 18.3 points per game. Quinton Rose (17.5) and Obi Enechionyia (15.5) also average double digits entering Thursday’s matchup with South Carolina. Temple’s 3-point field goal defense is also very good, the Owls are holding opponents to just 27.8% (27-97) from beyond the arc this season, 31st nationally.

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