Men's Hoops Hosts No. 1 Florida Tuesday On Senior Night

Tip time set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

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By Sports Department

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina hosts No. 1 Florida for the second matchup between the two teams this season. The Gators won the first contest 74-58 in Gainesville, Fla., on Jan. 8. It marks the fourth time in Carolina’s history that it has hosted a No. 1 ranked opponent and its first since 2012. The game will air on ESPNU.

Senior Night
Prior to tonight’s game, South Carolina will honor Bruce Ellington, Brenton Williams and head manager Sean Dougherty for their contributions to the program.

OPENING TIP
Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: Florida leads series 43-22
Last Meeting: Florida win, 74-58, on Jan. 8, 2014 in Columbia, S.C. (Colonial Life Arena)
Broadcast: ESPNU
Talent: Joe Davis (pxp), Dino Gaudio (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network/107.5 The Game in Columbia
Sirius: 93; XM: 199
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Game Notes | Live Stats | @GamecockMBB on Twitter | Tickets


Carolina Quick Hits
- South Carolina is in its 106th season of basketball.
- The Gamecocks are led by Frank Martin in his second year. Matt Figger is the associate head coach, and Perry Clark and Lamont Evans are assistant coaches. Andy Assaley is in his second year as the director of operations for the Gamecocks.
- The Gamecocks are in their 23rd season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2014. Carolina owns a 136-233 (.369) all-time record in SEC play.
- Frank Martin owns a 57-58 (.496) all-time record in conference play.
- Propelled by 24 points from senior guard Brenton Williams, South Carolina toppled No. 15/17 Kenucky 72-67 at Colonial Life Arena. It was Carolina’s first win versus Kentucky since a 68-62 victory over the Wildcats when UK was ranked No. 1 on Jan. 26, 2010, and it was the Gamecocks’ first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 22/24 Vanderbilt, 83-75, on Jan. 8, 2011 in Columbia.
- The Gamecocks held the Wildcats to 26.9 percent (14-of-52) from the field. It was Carolina's best defensive effort since holding Longwood to 22.8 percent shooting in the season opener.
n Fifteen of Williams’ 24 points were scored at the charity stripe as the senior set a new career high for free throws made in a game and attempted in a game (16).
- In overall games, South Carolina ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.368), fourth in offensive rebounds per game (13.3) and fifth in free throw percentage (.706) in the SEC.
- A 26-point effort from Williams was not enough on the road as South Carolina shot 26.7 percent (8-30) in the first half before falling 83-67 to Auburn on last Wednesday night. Sophomore forward Michael Carrera recorded a season-high 13 rebounds in the game.
- After being tied at the half with Georgia at 34-34, South Carolina went more than nine minutes without a field goal to start the second half and fell 73-56. Freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 18 points, while Williams added 16.
- Despite overcoming an 11-point halftime deficit late in the second half, South Carolina was unable to claim a lead in the final 20 minutes as they fell 71-64 at Arkansas. The Gamecocks countered the frenetic play with the hot-shooting of Williams who hit a career-high 11 field goals as he scored 29 points, going 6-of-13 from 3.
- For the first time since January of 2011, South Carolina won back-to-back conference games as the team topped Alabama 67-66. With the Crimson Tide battling back behind 25 second-half points from Trevor Releford to grab the lead, Thornwell led the charge for the Gamecocks, scoring or assisting on 15 of Carolina's final 17 points, including hitting two free throws to ice the game with five seconds left. The freshman led the Gamecocks with 22 points.
- For his efforts on the week, Thornwell was named Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week and SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 20.5 points, five rebounds and five assists in two games. It was his second Freshman of the Week honor from the conference this season, and first national honor.
- Despite being located in an area which sees little to no snowfall annually, South Carolina is 3-0 this season when there is snow on the ground in Columbia. (Jan. 29, Texas A&M; Feb. 13, Vanderbilt; Feb. 15, Alabama)
- In its second game of the season which took place with campus closed due to winter weather, the Gamecocks moved to 2-0 in such games, topping Vanderbilt last Thursday night, 65-59, after the contest was postponed for 20 hours after the original scheduled time. Thornwell led South Carolina with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists.
- Against the Commodores, the Gamecocks grabbed a season-high 26 offensive rebounds en route to a 23-9 advantage in second-chance points. Five Carolina players recorded at least three offensive boards.
- Carolina’s game vs. Vanderbilt was the 2,500th game in program history.

Scouting Florida
Florida enters Tuesday’s matchup as the No. 1 team in the country, holding a 27-2 overall record, which includes a perfect 15-0 mark in the SEC ... The Gators have not dropped a game since falling 65-64 at UConn on Dec. 2 ... Florida has a veteran-laden starting five led by seniors Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Patric Young ... Prather (14.8), Wilbekin (13.4) and Young (10.7) are three of the team’s top four scorers as they’re joined by sophomore Michael Frazier II at 12.2 points per game ... Wilbekin runs the point and ranks third in the SEC in assists at 3.9 per game ... The Gators have the top defense in the league, allowing just 58.7 points per game.

Florida Series
Tuesday’s meeting vs. Florida marks the 66th all-time meeting between the two schools ... It will be the first time in which the Gamecocks have hosted Florida when the Gators have been ranked No. 1 ... The Gators won the last meeting, 74-58, on Jan. 8, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla., at the O’Connell Center ... South Carolina has lost the previous five meetings to Florida, last defeating them on Jan. 15, 2011, 72-69, on the road ... The Gamecocks last win over the Gators at Colonial Life Arena came a season earlier, with a 77-71 victory on Feb. 10, 2010.

By The Numbers
2 - In SEC games, Sindarius Thornwell leads all freshmen in two categories: scoring (15.7) and assists (4.00).
4 - Senior guard Brenton Williams has hit at least four 3s in eight of 16 SEC games this season.
6 - The Gamecocks have won six of 15 games when the scoring margin is 10 points or less.
6 - In their last 13 games, the Gamecocks have recorded at least six 3s in all but four games during that stretch.
9 - Sophomore forward Michael Carrera has led Carolina in rebounding in nine of the last 12 games.
12 - Thornwell has recorded double-figures in 12 of 16 SEC games, including five with 20-plus points, tying B.J. McKie for the most by a South Carolina freshman in SEC games.
15 - Williams sank a career-high 15 free throws against Kentucky.
18 - Williams has recorded double-figures in 18 of his last 21 games.
26.9 - The Gamecocks held Kentucky to its lowest field goal percentage of the season at 26.9 percent (14-of-52). It was first time this year that the Wildcats had been held under 30 percent shooting.
35.9 - Since the injury to Tyrone Johnson on Jan. 15, Thornwell and Williams have stepped up their scoring numbers. The duo is averaging a combined 35.9 points in the last 13 games.
36.8 - Since Johnson’s injury, Thornwell has assumed much the team’s point guard responsibilities and has thrived in the position as a dual-threat, accounting for at least 36.8 percent of the team’s points by scoring on his own or distributing the ball. He is averaging 16.2 points and 4.5 assists in the last 13 games to go with 4.6 rebounds.
40x2 - Against Georgia, Thornwell became first South Carolina player to play all forty minutes in a game since Devan Downey vs. Tennessee on March 14, 2008. Four days later, Williams performed the same feat.
42.9 - Williams ranks second in the SEC in 3-point percentage at .429 (78-182).
95.3 - Williams has hit 102-of-107 free throws this season, which ranks No. 1 in the nation.

Up Next
The Gamecocks close the regular season on Saturday afternoon on the road as they travel to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State. Game time is set for 4 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on SECTV.

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