Gamecocks Face Arkansas In SEC Tournament Thursday
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — South Carolina tallied an 85-84 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday evening in the opening round of the SEC Tournament to advance to Thursday’s second round where the Gamecocks will face the Arkansas Razorbacks (approx. 9:30 p.m. ET/SEC Network). The two teams met just once in the regular season, with Arkansas posting an 81-65 win in Fayetteville on Feb. 6.
> South Carolina posted its first SEC Tournament win since 2015 on Wednesday night in an 85-84 victory over 14th-seeded Ole Miss. Junior forward Chris Silva scored 21, while pulling down 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season, and graduate student guard Frank Booker matched a career high with six made 3s, en route to 21 points, to lead Carolina in the win. With his 13th point of the night, Silva became the 45th member of the Carolina 1,000-point club. He now has 1,008 for his career.
> The Gamecocks move on to face sixth-seeded Arkansas in the late game on Thursday evening. The Razorbacks posted an 81-65 win in the lone regular-season meeting between the two schools in Fayetteville on Feb. 6. Junior guard Hassani Gravett led Carolina in that contest with 12 points, and Silva was held to just eight points on 1-of-5 shooting.
> Thursday’s meeting marks the fifth all-time in the SEC Tournament vs. the Gamecocks and Razorbacks. The series is tied at 2-2 in the postseason event, and the two squads last met in the second round in 2014, with the Gamecocks posting a 71-69 win at the Georgia Dome.
> Rookie forward Justin Minaya scored 16 points on Wednesday vs. Ole Miss, including 11 in the second half. He was part of a huge stretch for Carolina when the Gamecocks connected from beyond the arc on three consecutive possessions midway through the second half. Minaya’s 16 points marked his highest output since also posting 16 at Texas A&M on Feb. 3.
> Booker has been stellar over the course of the last five games, averaging 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 43.3 percent from the field and 48.8 percent (21-43) from beyond the arc, 4.2 made 3s per game.
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
> South Carolina is 17-15 overall this season after posting an 85-84 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday night to open SEC Tournament action.
> Carolina’s win over the Rebels was its first in the postseason event since 2015, when the Gamecocks posted wins in the first (vs. Missouri) and second (vs. Arkansas) rounds.
> Over the course of the last five games, Booker’s 17.4 points per game are a team high, while Silva adds 14.8 per game and graduate student guard Wesley Myers scores 12.6 per outing.
> As a team over the last five games, Carolina has hit 40.3 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from 3-point range (10.3 made 3s per game).
> Silva’s 13 made and 20 attempted free throws in the win vs. Ole Miss on Wednesday marked career highs in both categories. He paces the Gamecocks this season, hitting 74.9 percent from the line.
> With his 21-point effort in the win vs. Ole Miss on Wednesday, graduate student guard Frank Booker has now hit the 20-point mark in each of the last three contests, including his career high 27 last Saturday at Auburn.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS
> Arkansas is 21-10 overall on the year and is the No. 6 seed in this week’s SEC Tournament after posting a 10-8 record in league play this season.
> The Razorbacks suffered a 77-67 loss at Missouri in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
> The team is led by the guard duo of Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon, who average 17.9 and 17.1, points per game, respectively.
> Rookie forward Daniel Gafford, who was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman Team earlier this week, is fourth in the SEC with 2.2 blocked shots per game. He also turns in 12.1 points per contest and is averaging a team high 6.2 rebounds per game.
> Arkansas is 3-1 in neutral-site contests this season, which includes wins over Oklahoma and UConn.
> In the SEC statistics, the Razorbacks are second in scoring offense (82.0 ppg), first in field goal percent (48.1%), first in 3-point field goal percent (40.2%) and third in assists with 15.0 per game.