#19 Gamecocks Host Georgia in SEC Clash

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina looks for its ninth SEC win of the season on Saturday when Georgia travels to Columbia (2 p.m. ET/ESPN2). The Gamecocks won the first meeting in the border rivalry earlier this season, posting a 67-61 win in the league opener for South Carolina in Athens on Jan. 4. The Gamecocks look for their second-straight win over the Bulldogs, and first at home since the 2015 SEC campaign.

LEGENDS WEEKEND

South Carolina will celebrate its annual Legends Weekend on Saturday against Georgia. Weekend events will celebrate all Gamecock Legends, and highlight the 20th anniversary of the 1997 SEC championship team. The championship squad will be honored at halftime of the game vs. the Bulldogs. The annual Legends Weekend events begin on Friday evening with a reception in downtown Columbia, and continue on Saturday morning when the Legends attend shoot around before a Tip-Off Club Brunch honoring the group. An autograph session will be held pre-game with members of the 1997 SEC championship team on the concourse at Colonial Life Arena beginning at 12:30, before Carolina hosts Georgia. The 1997 championship team will be highlighted in a halftime celebration on the court.

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.
– South Carolina remains in the national rankings this week, checking in at No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll. The Gamecocks jumped in to the national rankings on Nov. 28 for the first time this season after posting wins over two ranked opponents the previous week in No. 25/24 Michigan and No. 18/16 Syracuse. The Gamecocks checked in at No. 20 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. The Gamecocks have risen to as high as 15th in the AP poll this season, which was the highest rank for Carolina since the Gamecocks were ranked 14th in the final poll of the 1997-98 campaign. The Gamecocks high mark in the Coaches poll this season was at No. 15.
– The Gamecocks won their second straight on the road, and fifth overall in away games this season, with an 88-63 victory at LSU on Wednesday night. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by PJ Dozier and Duane Notice’s 17 each.  Sindarius Thornwell and Chris Silva both scored 16, and Silva pulled down a team high eight rebounds. South Carolina out-scored the Tigers 42-32 in the paint, and tallied 34 points off of 22 LSU turnovers.
– Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell claimed sole possession of first place in Carolina history with his 117th career start at LSU. He passed Gamecock greats BJ McKie and Melvin Watson, who both started 116 career games, to claim the top spot.
– Over the course of the last five games, Carolina has held its opponents to just 18.9% (18-95) from 3-point range.
– In league play, Carolina opponents are averaging 19.2 turnovers per contest. Most recently, LSU committed 22 turnovers. The Tigers tied with Tennessee for the most opponent turnovers in a Carolina road game this season.
– South Carolina currently leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 25.7 percent from beyond the arc this season.
– South Carolina leads the SEC in several defensive categories entering Saturday’s game vs. Georgia. In overall games, Carolina is tops in scoring defense (60.9), FG% defense (37.4%) and 3-point FG% defense (25.7%), and is first in steals (8.2 per game). In stricly league games, Carolina is first in scoring defense (63.1), in FG% defense (39.4%), in 3-point FG% defense (25.2%) and first in steals (8.6 per game).
– South Carolina is 12-1 at home this season, averaging 75.2 points per game and hitting 43.6% from the field.
– The Gamecocks are 5-2 in away games this season (4-1 in SEC games), and average 69.7 points per game and have hit 40.7% from the field.
– South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is 84-79 (.515) all-time in conference games.
– Martin is 23-32 (.418) against ranked opponents as a head coach. His teams have four wins over opponents ranked in the top five, and two wins over opponents who are ranked No. 1.
– South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 163-254 (.390) all-time in SEC games.
– The Gamecocks currently rank 20th in the NCAA RPI (games through Feb. 2), which is third in the SEC behind Kentucky (7th) and Florida (9th).
– Eight different Gamecocks average at least 12 minutes per game, and seven different players provide at least five points per outing.

KEY STAT

– Four Gamecocks tallied 16 or more points in the win at LSU. It was the first time four or more players scored 16 or more since Nov. 19, 2006, vs. Lipscomb (Archie 20, Wallace 20, Kelley 16, Raley-Ross 17).
– South Carolina scored 34 points off of turnovers at LSU, which marked a season high in the category. The Gamecocks are averaging 18.1 points per game off of turnovers this season. In SEC games, Carolina is averaging 21.7points per game off of turnovers.

SCOUTING GEORGIA

– Georgia is 13-9 overall this season which includes a 4-5 mark in SEC games.
– The Bulldogs are led by head coach Mark Fox in his eighth season.
– UGA enters Saturday’s matchup with South Carolina having lost three of their last five games, including this past Tuesday when the Bulldogs suffered a 90-81 overtime loss at Kentucky.
– Junior forward Yante Maten and senior guard J.J. Frazier are the only two UGA players who average double-figure points, with Maten’s 19.8 per game a team high, followed by Frazier’s 15.9.
– Maten’s 19.8 points per game rank second in the SEC and his 7.6 rebounds per outing are third in the league standings.
– Frazier’s 2.0 steals per game lead the SEC. In conference games, he is second behind South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell (2.9 per game) with 2.8 steals per game.
– UGA is 3-5 in away games this season, which includes a 2-3 record in SEC road games. The Bulldogs posted wins earlier this season at Auburn and Ole Miss in SEC action.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks