Gamecocks Host Ole Miss Saturday Night

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina begins a two-game homestand on Saturday when it hosts Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU). The Gamecocks have won two-straight in the series, including an overtime thriller last season in Oxford. The game will feature Gamecock head coach Frank Martin and Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy, who coached together at Cincinnati and are longtime friends. The Carolina football team will also take part in the halftime program on Saturday.

GAME STORYLINES

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.
– Behind 22 points, including 16 in the second half, from senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, and 12 off the bench from sophomore guard Hassani Gravett, South Carolina closed a 10-point victory at Tennessee on Wednesday, 70-60. The win was Carolina’s second in the last three games in Knoxville, and just the second since the 2002 SEC campaign at Thompson-Boling Arena.
– Thornwell continued an impressive streak on the defensive end, collecting a team high four steals vs. the Vols. He has at least four steals in each conference game thus far in 2017, and leads the league in stricly conference games with 5.0 steals per outing.
– Carolina’s win at Tennessee was the 200th of head coach Frank Martin’s coaching career. He amassed a 117-54 record as head coach at Kansas State, and holds a mark of 83-66 in his fifth season at Carolina.
– South Carolina is 9-1 at home this season, averaging 75.6 points per game and hitting 44.9% from the field.
– South Carolina was 4-5 in SEC road games last season.
– South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is 79-78 (.503) all-time in conference games.
– South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 158-253 (.382) all-time in SEC games.
– The Gamecocks currently rank 32nd in the NCAA RPI (games through Jan. 11), which is third in the SEC behind Florida (3rd) and Kentucky (6th).
– Nine different Gamecocks average at least 12 minutes per game, and seven different players provide at least five points per outing.
– Sophomore guard Hassani Gravett and freshman guard Rakym Felder have each led the Gamecocks in bench scoring four times in the last eight games. Gravett led the Gamecocks with 12 off the bench in the win at Tennessee.
– South Carolina ranks third nationally in field goal percentage defense (games through Jan. 11), allowing opponents to hit just 36.8% from the floor this season. That mark leads the SEC as well.
– South Carolina is out-scoring its opponents by 17.0 points per game in home contests this season, scoring 75.6 points per game, compared to 58.6 by its opponents.
– South Carolina is looking for just its second 4-0 start ever in SEC play. The 1996-97 Gamecocks began SEC action 11-0.

SCOUTING OLE MISS

– The Rebels are 10-6 overall and 1-3 in league games entering Saturday’s matchup vs. South Carolina. Ole Miss most recently suffered a home loss to Georgia on Wednesday evening.
– Ole Miss is led by head coach Andy Kennedy in his 11th season.
– The Rebels began league play with a home loss to Kentucky, before suffering a loss on the road at Florida. Ole Miss rebounded with a win at Auburn last Saturday behind 15 points and 13 rebounds from Sebastian Saiz.
– Four average double-figure points for the Rebels, led by Deandre Burnett’s 18.0 per outing. Saiz (15.3), Terence Davis (12.1) and Cullen Neal (10.3) also average double figures. Burnett’s 18.3 in league games are also a team high.
– In the SEC stats, Ole Miss is fifth in scoring at 77.9 points per game, but the Rebels are 13th in scoring defense, as opponents average 76.9 points per outing. The Rebels are fifth in free throw percentage (74.2%), third in rebounding offense (40.2), fifth in rebound margin (+4.2) and third in blocked shots (5.7/20th nationally).
– Individually, Saiz leads the league in rebounding (11.5), and is fourth in field goal percentage (51.6). Burnett’s 91.0% at the free throw line is second in the league, and his 2.1 3s per game is ninth.

RHODES SCHOLAR FLEMING SET TO BE HONORARY CAPTAIN VS. OLE MISS

South Carolina senior student Jory Fleming will serve as the honorary captain for Saturday’s home contest vs. Ole Miss. Fleming, who has been named one of 32 U.S. winners of the Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most prestigious international fellowship award, will study at Oxford University in England for two years. Fleming, who has autism, credits his service dog, Daisy, along with University professors, advisers and classmates for his success. Fleming is the 10th University of South Carolina student to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and is the most decorated national fellowship winner in USC’s history, as he has been awarded the Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater and Hollings Scholarships.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks