Gamecock Basketball Set to Host Holy Cross Sunday Evening
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina hosts Holy Cross on Sunday in a matchup that is part of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. The game continues a stretch of three games in five days to open the Carolina season. Sunday’s contest marks the Crusaders’ first game of the year. The meeting will be the second all-time between the two schools, and the first since the 1982-83 campaign.
– South Carolina is in its 109th season of varsity basketball in 2016-17.
– On the sidelines, Frank Martin is joined by associate head coach Matt Figger, assistant coaches Perry Clark and Bruce Shingler, and director of operations Andy Assaley.
– South Carolina won its 16th-straight season opener on Friday night, posting an 85-76 victory over Louisiana Tech at Colonial Life Arena. It would be a game that would go down to the wire, as a late surge fuled by back-to-back transition dunks from South Carolina’s Chris Silva and Sindarius Thornwell would secure the win. Carolina hit 52.6 percent from the field, and was led by Thornwell’s 18 points and seven rebounds.
– Several Gamecocks made their college debuts on Friday, including freshman forward Maik Kotsar, r-sophomore guard Hassani Gravett, junior forward Ran Tut and freshman forward Khadim Gueye.
– Following Friday’s win vs. La Tech, Carolina now owns an 80-29 (.733) all-time record in season openers.
– Frank Martin is now a perfect 10-0 in season openers during his tenure as a head coach, going 5-0 at Kansas State and now 5-0 at Carolina following Friday’s victory vs. La Tech.
– South Carolina returns two starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s squad that posted a 25-9 overall record, matching the Carolina record for total wins.
– Those returning starters feature the only backcourt in the SEC with two 1,000-point scorers, in senior guards Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice. The duo accounted for 24.2 points and 6.1 assists per game last season.
– Thornwell was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team last March, while Notice was named the league’s Sixth Man Of the Year.
– The Gamecocks return just 49.4 percent of their scoring from a year ago, with the departure of three senior starters in Michael Carrera (14.5 ppg), Laimonas Chatkevicius (10.2 ppg) and Mindaugas Kacinas (9.9 ppg).
– The Gamecocks began the 2015-16 season 15-0, their best start since the 1933-34 campaign.
– Carolina welcomes nine newcomers to the squad this season in Tommy Corchiani, Rakym Felder, Hassani Gravett, Khadim Gueye, Evan Hinson, Kory Holden, Sedee Keita, Maik Kotsar and Ran Tut.
– The Gamecocks are undefeated in exhibition contests under the direction of Frank Martin with wins over Kentucky Wesleyan (2012-13), USC Aiken (2013-14), Benedict (2014-15), Allen (2015-16) and Newberry (107-89).
SCOUTING HOLY CROSS
– The Crusaders are led by head coach Bill Carmody in his second season. Carmody has 299 career wins entering Sunday’s contest at South Carolina.
– Holy Cross won the Patriot League Tournament last season to advance to the NCAA Tournament, posting its first NCAA win since 1953.
– The Crusaders projected starting lineup for Sunday’s contest features five returning letterwinners.
– Senior forward Robert Champion is the team’s top returning scorer after he posted 12.0 points per game a year ago.
– Senior forward Malachi Alexander also returns, the 2016 Patriot League Tournament MVP, averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game as a junior.
– In the 2016-17 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in fourth place in voting by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.
LA TECH NOTABLES
– Sophomore guard PJ Dozier tallied a career-high with 17 points. Dozier hit 5-of-9 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from deep.
– Carolina held La Tech’s leading returning scorer, Eric McCree to just eight points in 31 minutes. He was just 1-of-8 from the field. McCree averaged 16.2 points per game for the Bulldogs last season.
– Redshirt sophomore guard Hassani Gravett, freshman big man Khadim Gueye, freshman forward Maik Kotsar and junior forward Ran Tut made their Gamecock debuts. Kotsar’s first career points came on the game’s first basket.
– The game was the team’s first regular season game on the new floor at Colonial Life Arena.
– Gravett led all bench scorers in points (7) and minutes (24).
– Redshirt junior forward Jarrell Holliman logged a new career-high with 14 minutes played. He also scored his first career points after going 2-for-2 from the field.
South Carolina continues its stretch of three games in five days to open the 2016-17 campaign when it hosts Monmouth on Tuesday evening. The meeting matches two of the top four seeds from last season’s Postseason NIT. The matchup will be broadcast on SEC Network + and will tip at 6:30 p.m. ET.