Gamecocks face No. 1 Tennessee Tuesday night

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (10-9, 5-1 SEC) is back in action on Tuesday night when it hosts No. 1/1 Tennessee (18-1, 6-0 SEC) at Colonial Life Arena.  The contest is officially sold out.  Tip time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call.

> South Carolina returns to SEC action on Tuesday when it hosts top-ranked Tennessee at Colonial Life Arena.  The meeting is the first between the two schools this season, with the Gamecocks making the return trip to Knoxville in mid-February.  The Volunteers have won two-straight matchups in the series between the two former SEC East foes.
> Senior forward Chris Silva led the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding in a pair of matchups last week, including his career night vs. Auburn, when the Libreville, Gabon, native scored 32 points with 14 rebounds.  Silva has recorded 12 double-figure scoring games this season, including in four of the first six SEC contests.
> Fellow senior, guard Hassani Gravett has been stellar in league games.  He paces Carolina with 15.0 points per SEC contest, while his 2.5 assists per game are also a team best.  He’s averaging 44.1 percent from the field, and has hit 15-of-33 attempts from beyond the arc – 45.5 percent – against SEC competition.
> Carolina has won its last four home games, with victories over North Greenville, No. 14/14 Mississippi State, Missouri and No. 16/15 Auburn.  During the stretch, Carolina is averaging 87.2 points per game, 46.3 percent from the field and 78.4 percent at the free throw line.
> In its six league contests thus far, Carolina has hit 44.4 percent from the floor, boosted by Silva’s 67.5 percent (27-40) from the field.  The Gamecocks have also been solid at the charity stripe, connecting on 107-of-148 attempts, 72.3 percent, with the trio of Silva (29-34), Gravett (23-26) and Haase (18-20) combining to go 70-of-80 (87.5%) from the stripe.

> Tuesday’s contest is South Carolina’s Fight For Literacy game, in coordination  with Coaching For Literacy.  South Carolina’s coaching staff will be wearing green ties and lapel pins to help raise awareness about the issues connected to illiteracy.

> Carolina is 10-9 overall, which includes a 7-4 mark in home games, a 2-4 record on the road and a 1-1 mark in neutral-site matchups
> Carolina is 4-2 in games decided by five points or less
> The Gamecocks are 7-1 when scoring 80 or more points this season
> Rookie guard A.J. Lawson has led or shared the team lead for the Gamecocks in scoring seven times this season, and senior forward Chris Silva has led or shared the team lead five times
> Lawson and Silva are the only two Gamecocks to start every game this season, and the duo leads the team with 13.2 and 13.1 points per game, respectively
> Seven different Gamecocks average at least 5.6 points per contest
> Carolina holds a +1.5 rebound margin, and has out-rebounded its opponent 10 times this season
> Six players have double-digit steals this season, led by Lawson’s 26.  Kotsar has 20, and Campbell has 19.
> Six Gamecocks have 20 or more assists this season, led by Lawson’s 52.  Gravett has 44 and Campbell and Bryant both have 31
> Carolina is 7-2 this season when leading at the half
> Carolina looks for its second win over a top-ranked opponent in its history against Tennessee on Tuesday.
> Gamecock head coach Frank Martin has two victories over an opponent ranked No. 1, including a 71-62 win over top-ranked Texas on Jan. 19, 2010.  That Longhorn squad was led by current Tennessee head coach, Rick Barnes.
> The Gamecocks have won their last four games at home, including three SEC matchups.
> Carolina has also tallied wins in two-straight over ranked opponents (No. 14/14 Mississippi State, No. 16/15 Auburn).
> Three average double-figures this season for Carolina, led by Lawson’s 13.2 points per game.  Silva (13.1) and Gravett (11.4) are just behind, and rookie forward Keyshawn Bryant is at 9.5 points per game this season.
> Senior forward Chris Silva has 499 career made free throws entering Tuesday’s game vs. Tennessee.  When he gets career free throw number 500, Silva will be the only player in Carolina history with 500 made free throws and 700 career rebounds.
> South Carolina returns seven letterwinners from last season’s 17-16 squad, including senior guard Hassani Gravett and senior forward Chris Silva.
> Carolina welcomes nine newcomers to its roster this season, including transfers and six freshmen student-athletes.  Jair Bolden (transfer/George Washington/guard), redshirt-junior Raymond “Quad” Borup (r-junior/forward), graduate transfer Tre Campbell(transfer/Georgetown/guard), Keyshawn Bryant (freshman/guard), Jermaine Couisnard (freshman/guard), Alanzo Frink (freshman/forward), A.J. Lawson (freshman/guard), T.J. Moss (freshman/guard) and Nathan Nelson (freshman/forward).

> Tennessee is the top-ranked team in the country for the second straight week after an overtime road win at Vanderbilt last week and an 83-66 win over West Virginia in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
> Head coach Rick Barnes is in his fourth season in Knoxville, and his 32nd season overall as a head coach.
> Five average double-figures for the Vols, led by SEC leader Grant Williams’ 20.2 points per game.  In league games, he averages 20.7 points per contest, also an SEC best.
> Admiral Schofield (16.6), Jordan Bone (13.1), Lamonte Turner (11.5) and Jordan Bowden (10.9) also average double-figures on the year.
> Tennessee is 4-0 in away games this season, averaging 88.8 points per game in those contests.
> UT is third nationally, hitting 50.7 of its shot attempts this season, while the Vols are 15th nationally, holding opponents to just 39.0 percent from the field.
> Another Tennessee strength this season, its free throw shooting.  UT is 13th in the nation at the line, hitting 76.8 percent of its attempts.

Carolina will play its next two contests on the road against former SEC East foes, first at Georgia this Saturday for a 1 p.m. ET tipoff vs. the Bulldogs.  Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Debbie Antonelli (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network in Athens.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks