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Spurs Up Daily Round-Up: 2/25

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Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: Baseball sweeps three-game series against Albany with first no hitter since 1975; Men's
Golf places third in Bayou City Collegiate Championships; Swimming & Diving finish up a week at SEC's in Texas; NFL combine with 7 Gamecocks underway; and more!



GAMECOCKSONLINE.COM NEWS

Baseball: Baseball Opens Series With 8-3 Win Over Albany

Baseball:Baseball Defeats Albany 14-1 in Game One of Doubleheader


Baseball:Baseball Sweeps Albany With 6-4 Win In Series Finale

Men's Basketball: Gamecocks Fall In Overtime At Georgia, 62-54

Football: Watch Marcus Lattimore's NFL Scouting Combine Press Conference

Men's Golf:
Gamecocks Claim Third At Bayou City Collegiate Championships

Equestrian: Schmidt's 2-for-2 Day Leads Carolina Past No. 6 Texas A&M on Senior Day

Swimming & Diving: Gamecocks Close Out Strong Week At SEC Championships

Men's Tennis: Gamecocks Fall at No. 34 VCU 5-2

Women's Tennis:
South Carolina Posts 5-0 Victory Against Charleston Southern



GAMECOCKS AROUND THE WEB


Sarge Fry-E sandwich unveiled at Grand Market Place (dailygamecock.com)

Marcus Lattimore hopeful injuries won't jeopardize NFL career (nfl.com)

NFL Combine 2013: Marcus Lattimore motivated to return from injury (sbnation.com)

Taylor hopes to show versatility (247sports.com)



COCK A DOODLE TWEET





VIDEO OF THE DAY

Highlights: South Carolina Men's Basketball vs. Ole Miss - 2013




South Carolina Men's Basketball defeated Ole Miss 63-62 courtesy of a three pointer by Eric Smith and good defense down the stretch.





SPURS UP BLOG HIGHLIGHTS

Carolina's 1977 College World Series Team Recognized

Looking Back at the 1977 Gamecock Baseball Team

Follow the Gamecocks in the NFL Combine

Behind The Scenes: Jadeveon Clowney Photo Shoot



ROOSTER CROWS


Colby Holmes, Forrest Koumas and Josh Knab combined for the first no-hitter by a Gamecock baseball team since March 26, 1975 as fifth ranked South Carolina exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on the way to a 14-1 win over Albany in game one of a doubleheader at Carolina Stadium. The no-hitter is the seventh in school history and the first combined no-hitter as well.

The South Carolina swimming and diving teams posted four more NCAA provisional qualifying times and swam seven lifetime bests on Saturday night to wrap up competition at the 2013 SEC Championships.


FAN PHOTO OF THE DAY

Fan Photo Of The Day sent in by Brian Murrell: "These are my nephews from Charleston, SC, Lawson (12) and Ellis (7). This was Ellis' first game. After the game Ellis changed his Christmas gift list to all things Gamecocks!"

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Send in your own fan photo submissions to GamecockAthletics@gmail.com. Include your name and any backstory. Some of the best submissions include Gamecock gear and showing your spurs!

Facebook Fan of the Week: Jason and Jaxon Romanstine

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Check out this week's Facebook Fan of the Week winner! Robin Campbell of Pelion, SC, submitted the photo of her son, Jason Romanstine, and her grandson, Jaxon, all tuckered out after another Gamecock win against the Clemson Tigers! Said Robin: "We raise them right in our family...GO GAMECOCKS!!!"


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Want to be the next Facebook Fan of the Week? Sign up on the Fan of the Week tab on our Facebook page, upload your photo and story, then share and get your friends to vote! Winners are selected each Friday and featured here and on GamecocksOnline.com.


Carolina's 1977 College World Series Team Recognized

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A special group returned to Columbia to be recognized this Saturday. The Gamecocks' 1977 baseball team was recognized on the field and received rings for their appearance in the CWS. The 1977 team went all the way to the national championship game at the College World Series under first-year head coach June Raines. After losing its first game in the postseason, the Gamecocks won four straight at Sarge Frye Field to win the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship. The squad won three straight games in Omaha to advance to the finals of the CWS and finished with a 43-12-1 record.

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The team gathered at Carolina Stadium early before the game with their families to take a tour of the state-of-the-art facility and catch up with each other. We talked with pitcher Randy Martz, who battled several inches of snow to make the long drive to Columbia from Illinois just outside of St. Louis, about what it meant to be back. Martz had a 14-0 record (best undefeated record in school history), was named National Player of the Year, unanimous first team All-America, won the Lefty Gomez Plate given to the top amateur baseball player in the country, and was a first round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs. He pitched four years in the major leagues. Martz shared that he has been back to Columbia for two alumni games, one at Sarge Frye and one at Carolina Stadium before it was totally completed, so this was his first time seeing the completed stadium (with added decor from two national championships.)

"I was pleased to be recognized," Martz said. "It's been a good situation for all the guys coming back and seeing each other. That's the biggest thing - getting to see all the players you haven't seen in a long time...To come down and see Carolina again, it's a good thing."

Martz said his favorite memory was beating Clemson in Clemson, 2-1, snapping a 26-game winning streak for the Tigers. After that win the Gamecocks compiled a 30-6 record the remainder of the season for a final mark of 43-12-1. The late season surge included two more wins over Clemson for a sweep of the season series.

In addition to Martz, the 1977 team had several other players go on to Major League Baseball.  Mookie Wilson was second team All-America and played 1,403 major league games in 12 seasons with the Mets and Blue Jays. Ed Lynch played eight years with the Mets and Cubs and became general manager of the Cubs. Jim Lewis made it to the big leagues for brief stints with the Mariners, Yankees and Twins.

Today the landmark team gathered together to receive their rings and reflect back.  

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The ring














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Johnny Hunton (assistant coach) and June Raines (head coach) greet Athletics Director Ray Tanner






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Raines and Hunton with Mookie Wilson (center)


Watch video of the pre-game recognition:


Looking Back at the 1977 Gamecock Baseball Team

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*Written by Assistant Media Relations Director Andrew Kitick. See more, including the 1977 roster, statistics, and individual notes for each game of the season, in this weekend's game notes.

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1977 Team Photo






Two years after their first trip to the College World Series, the Gamecocks found themselves back in Omaha under a different head coach.

Bobby Richardson, who in seven seasons built the South Carolina program into a national power, resigned and June Raines was brought in to continue the success forged by Richardson. That included South Carolina's first three bids to the NCAA Tournament and first trip to Omaha.

For Raines, it was a return to the Gamecock Roost. Fol¬lowing a 10-year career as a catcher in the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators minor league systems, Raines had served as a student assistant coach under Jack Powers and Richardson while earning bachelor and masters degrees.

Raines inherited a good nucleus from Richardson whose final team, 1976, had compiled a 38-14 record. Richardson's previous two teams were 48-8 in 1974 and 51-6-1 in 1975.

Raines added some outstanding talent in outfielder Mookie Wilson, catcher Johnny Long and right-handed pitcher Randy Martz from the Gamecock football squad to the returnees left by Richardson.
Through his first 20 games, Raines won 68 percent of the time, excellent under most criteria but somewhat short of Richardson's .828 percentage over his final three seasons. After winning 10 of his first 11 games, Raines saw his team lose five and tie one over the next nine. Arch rival Clemson, on the other hand, was unbeaten after 26 games with the best record in the nation.

South Carolina broke the Tigers' win streak with a 2-1 victory at Clemson behind Martz and the Gamecocks compiled a 30-6 record the remainder of the season for a final mark of 43-12-1. The late season surge included two more wins over Clemson for a sweep of the season series.

South Carolina was awarded its fourth consecutive regional site but quickly fell into the losers' bracket with a 7-6 loss to nationally second ranked South Alabama. Starter Ran¬dy Martz left the game with the lead but the bullpen couldn't hold it. Carolina would have to win four consecutive games over the next three days if it was to win the regional.

The uphill trek began with a 4-1 win over East Carolina behind a six-hit complete game by right-hander Jim Lewis. The task ahead required two Sunday victories to force a show¬down game on Monday.
Ed Lynch, from the Gamecock basketball team, drew the first assignment and stifled South Alabama. He scattered seven hits in an 11-2 rout. Sophomore right-hander Hal Hutchens caused some anxious moments when he allowed 12 hits and walked four but was tough with runners on base. With ninth inning relief help from Lewis, Hutchens came out with a 5-2 win over Wake Forest. With two days rest, Randy Martz got the call vs. the Demon Deacons. Although he allowed 10 hits, he struck out 12. Johnny Hinkel, Mark Van Bever and Mookie Wilson homered as the Gamecocks won 6-1 to clinch a spot in Omaha.
The opening game of the 1977 College World Series was a classic. With undefeated Randy Martz pitching for South Carolina, and Panamanian right-hander Jaime Cocanower for Baylor, the score was tied 1-1 after nine innings with both starters still on the mound.

Martz retired the first two Baylor batters in the top of the 10th but three successive ground ball singles produced a run and the Bears took a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the 10th inning.
Van Bever lashed a double down the left field line and advanced to third when Wilson grounded out to deep short¬stop. That brought up left fielder Chuck McLean who hit a line drive on the first pitch that carried over Baylor center fielder Burl Coker's head.

Raines said later that he would have held McLean at third if he had been the third base coach. However, after nine innings, he had turned third base coaching duties over to assistant Johnny Hunton "to change over the luck" and Hunton waved McLean past third base. He slid home safely with an inside the park home run and a 3-2 Gamecock victory.

Lewis scattered eight hits and struck out 14 defeating Cal State-Los Angeles 6-2 and Martz came back on short rest to down Southern Illinois Carbondale 5-4 earning Carolina a bye to the championship round as the only undefeated team.

A shoulder injury to power hitting first baseman Johnny Hinkel (15 home runs) left the Gamecocks a little short. Lynch pitched well in a complete game effort but lost 6-2 to Arizona State setting up another meeting with the Sun Devils. Lewis also pitched well but was on the short end of a 2-1 score and for the second time in two tries, South Carolina finished second in the College World Series.

Martz, with a 14-0 record, was named National Player of the Year, first team All-America and first round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs. He pitched four years in the major leagues. Wilson was second team All-America and played 1,403 ma¬jor league games in 12 seasons with the Mets and Blue Jays. Lynch played eight years with the Mets and Cubs and became general manager of the Cubs. Lews made it to the big leagues for brief stints with the Mariners, Yankees and Twins.

**The 1977 team will be recognized and receive rings for their College World Series appearance prior to this Saturday's game vs. Albany at Carolina Stadium. Game time is now set for 4:00 PM.



Follow the Gamecocks in the NFL Combine

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NFL Combine logo.jpgSeven Gamecocks are in Indianapolis this weekend for the 2013 NFL Combine where they will be evaluated, interviewed, poked and prodded by NFL scouts, general managers, and coaches. NFL.com/Combine will have official test results, video, photos, and more.  Marcus Lattimore speaking to the media was a top story today. You can sort the list of participants by college here, to help you keep track of the Gamecocks' performance. With the current grades, D.J. Swearinger is the Gamecocks' highest rated player. You can watch live coverage of the NFL Combine on NFL Network and NFL.com/Combine.


Combine workout schedules:

Saturday, Feb. 23: Tight Ends, Offensive Line, Special Teams -- Justice Cunningham, T.J. Johnson

Sunday, Feb. 24: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers -- Marcus Lattimore (will not participate in drills), Ace Sanders

Monday, Feb. 25: Defensive Line, Linebackers -- Devin Taylor, DeVonte Holloman

Tuesday, Feb. 26: Defensive Backs -- D.J. Swearinger

Behind The Scenes: Jadeveon Clowney Photo Shoot

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Sports Illustrated, The State, and Athlon Sports all came to Williams-Brice this week to stock up on photos of Jadeveon Clowney. As the media look toward the 2013 season and season preview publications, you can expect to see the buzz about the nation's top player continue to grow, including several magazine stories and covers.


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Getting ready to practice facial expressions










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Clowney joked around throughout the shoot, keeping photographers and staff members laughing







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Close-up and long range views...









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Several different poses for each photographer








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Steve Spurrier looks on from the wall










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Thank you, sir!








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Whew! All done!



















2013 football season ticket deposits are available online now. Spring practice will start on March 5 with the Garnet & Black Spring Game set for April 13. More spring practice info

LB Dantzler Explains The Bieber Fever

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BSB-12 LB Dantzler vs. Alabama.jpegFans in the ballpark for Opening Day last Friday were surprised by one Gamecock Baseball player's choice for his walk-up music. Third baseman LB Dantzler went with a choice one might expect more coming from a pre-teen instead - "Baby" by Justin Bieber. His unique choice even made him the winner of our Twitter poll during the game for fans' favorite walk-up song. See a full list of the team's walk-up songs here.

Dantzler explained that he wanted to do it last year, but with it being his first year he was a little nervous about pulling it off. This year he decided to go for it.

"I figured it would be something funny, that fans would get a kick out of it, and just keep everything light," Dantzler explained. "A lot of times I can't even hear my walk-out song so I'm not concerned with picking something to pump me up. Into the season I wouldn't really get pumped up by the same song anyway. Just something fun for fans."

The song seemed to be successful as Dantzler crushed one to right field for a home run in his first at bat of the season (also the Gamecocks' first run of the season!) and made all Gamecocks "Beliebers".

"I think it could have been an omen. I think I need to keep it. I have the fever."

As part of honoring Black History Month, staff members in the Dodie (our academic center and dining hall for student-athletes on campus) asked several student-athletes who is the most influential African-American in history to them and why. Check out some of the student-athletes' responses below and feel free to add your own answer to the question in the comments.

Samantha Sanchez (WTK/F) Sojourner Truth - "When thinking about the most influential people in African American history, at first I thought that there are just so many - names like Martin Luther King Jr. , Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, Barack Obama, and Thurgood Marshall all ran through my head. Suddenly, a light bulb went off and I came to thinking about Sojourner Truth. She is regarded as one of the greatest abolitionists, speakers, and thinkers of all time, not only for African American rights but also for women's rights. She had a great gift of public speaking and is best known for her speech 'Ain't I a Woman?' given at the Ohio Women's Right Convention. I always get the goose bumps after reading her speech. And the most astonishing thing is that the speech wasn't even a prepared one, since she was uneducated and illiterate. The things she said came solely from the heart and were put in a very blunt and straight to the point style. Just recently Sojourner Truth became the 1st African American women to be honored with a bust in the US Capitol. Michelle Obama was in attendance of the unveiling and stated, mostly gracefully that, 'I hope that Sojouner Truth would be proud to see me, a descendant of slaves, serving as the First Lady of the United States of America.' Sojourner Truth also was the first black woman to win a lawsuit in the U.S.  She has paved the way for all women to strive for equal rights and to not let men put us down."

Shelby Gonzales (SB) Jackie Robinson- "Although he was not a political influence, he was a social & athletic breakthrough. He was the first African-American to play baseball professionally. He not only represented the African-American population as a baseball player but he broke down the walls that limited African-Americans in athletics."

Jaki Alawi (WTN) Martin Luther King, Jr.- "Martin Luther King, Jr. is the most influential African-American because he fought and defended human rights with a passion that not many people would have. Because of him, we live in a better society, in a better America."

JP Rafferty (MSC) Herman Boone- "I have to say Herman Boone. He was the head football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Virginia. He brought a high school together and formed a state championship team. Someone I really look up to."

Josh Suttmeier (MTK/F) Jackie Robinson- "As an athlete, I would have to say the African-American who most influenced me was Jackie Robinson. I remember reading a biography on him when I was younger and was amazed by the patience, self-control, and kindness he continually exhibited in the face of such adversity, hatred, and evil. Jackie paved the way for the equality within our society through his actions."

Nigel Redic (MTK/F) Muhammad Ali- "He challenged the world and never backed down."

Kaysee Sullivan (MTK/F) Coretta Scott King- "Since I am an education major I believe Coretta Scott King is a very influential African-American [in] history. Mrs. King was an activist for civil, women's, gay, human, and equal rights. On top of that, she was an author. The American Library Association named an award [after her] for outstanding African-American writers and illustrators of children's books, heavily related to my major."

Tyler Brockington (WTK/F) Madame CJ Walker- "To men, she was a woman who made cosmetics, but to African-American women, Madame CJ Walker was a beautification visionary. Without the development of the relaxer, certain hairstyles would not be possible today. Some argue that Walker is wrong for her creation because she is part of the reason black women don't wear their hair's natural texture. However, I believe she provided people with an option to fashion their outward appearance in a way that best suits the individual. Everyone wants to be fabulous. Thanks to Madame CJ Walker, that goal is now possible."

Alex Holland (WSC) Martin Luther King, Jr.- "I consider Martin Luther King, Jr. to be the most influential African-American in history because he stood up for what he believed was right and his actions still affect us today. He was always a strong advocate for other African-Americans and their civil rights. Through all the adversity he endured, he still stood up for what he knew was right."

Clayton Gravesande (MTK/F) Jackie Robinson- "Jackie Robinson was a black athlete who played, at that time, an all-white sport in baseball. I think it took a lot of confidence and self-determination to succeed in an environment like that. He faced death threats and still rose to the occasion and became one of the best baseball players ever. As an athlete myself, I can respect a man who faced adversity like this."

Danielle Travis (WTK/F) Michael Jackson- "I believe he is the most influential because not only did he change the face of music, but he set an example for so many young people. He didn't care what people thought about him, and followed his beliefs. This is such a lesson to younger people so they can break through their boundaries as well."

Kelly Coyle (WTK/F) Malcolm X- "Malcolm X because he proved that not only race but also religion does not and should not matter. If you are not happy with how society is then try and change it."

Ashley Cady (WTK/F) Jessie Owens- "He performed to his full potential despite political pressure in the Olympics in track & field."

Cheslie Kryst (WTK/F) Barack Obama- "In my opinion, Barack Obama is the most influential African-American in history. As the first black president not only has he broken barriers that before seemed impossible to move past, he has fulfilled a dream that makes apparent to others that a goal like becoming leader of the free world is within reach regardless of your race. Beyond that, Obama serves as an excellent role model and is a perfect picture of what it is to be a successful politician, leader, and African-American."

Olivia Hassler (WTK/F) Jessie Owens- "I feel that he revolutionized the world of sports on the national and Olympic level. Being a track & field athlete, I feel that he really had an impact on the sport that has the biggest impact on me."

Paris Smalls (MTK/F) Harriet Tubman- "Harriet Tubman because she showed oppressed slaves that there was hope that they could one day achieve freedom."

Josh Jones (MTK/F) Ida B. Wells- "She helped fight for blacks' civil rights and helped wrongfully accused African-Americans get out of jail. She was a journalist who documented lynching in the U.S."

Gabrielle Gray (WTK/F) Rosa Parks- "Rosa Parks because she stood up for every other African-American. Not only to make it where African-Americans can sit anywhere on the bus but she let people know that we are all equal. Nothing is different but our skin color."

 

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With his team trailing Ole Miss 62-56 and 3:39 to play, Frank Martin didn't like what he saw. 

 

But he liked what he heard.

 

Martin's volume is often inversely proportional to his players.  The less his team talks, the louder - and madder - he gets.  For the Gamecock head coach, silence equals selfishness.  That's why, when the Gamecocks gathered for their under-4:00 media timeout, Martin was pleased to hear Bruce Ellington break the silence.  The junior from Moncks Corner, S.C., urged on his teammates, saying they had worked too hard to not close the deal.  Eric Smith soon chimed in.  Even Michael Carrera, conscripted to the bench, shouted out encouragement. 

 

Eric Smith Celebration.jpeg"You break the huddle feeling good about, hey, let's go do this rather than let's go out there, and here we go again.  That's where leadership comes in," Martin said in his post-game radio interview.

 

The Gamecocks talked. 

 

And by game's end, Gamecock fans were talking, too.

 

Eric Smith (right) sank the game-winning three-pointer to beat Ole Miss.

 

Carolina scored the final seven points of regulation to seal a 63-62 upset over the third-place Rebels.  The Gamecocks now take that newfound momentum into Athens, when they face the Georgia Bulldogs (12-14, 6-7 SEC).

 

Pre-tip reads before Carolina makes its return trip to Stegeman Coliseum (2:00 p.m. EST, Gamecock IMG Sports Network):

 

SEC-ond Coming:  What did we learn from the Gamecocks' first meeting with Georgia, a 67-56 defeat February 2?  Pay attention to these four factors:

 

1.    Make Kentavious Caldwell-Pope work.  The Gamecocks - and the rest of the SEC - only wish this Pope had resigned.  The Bulldogs' 6'6" sophomore guard, a likely SEC Player of the Year, poured in a team-high 19 points and 7 rebounds against Carolina.  Caldwell-Pope showed an uncanny ability to drive right or left, and score from any spot on the floor. 

 

A player like "KCP" will get his touches no matter what.  Said associate head coach Brad Underwood:  "You can't let him do anything easy.  You have to make him work and earn his points, so down the stretch he's a little fatigued.  He shoots out of rhythm, and he doesn't cut as hard." 

 

2.    Screen Better.  Underwood said his team did a poor job setting screens in their February 2 meeting.  Against a jumbo-sized lineup like the Bulldogs, the Gamecocks need to "create length" by planting - and using - good screens.

 

3.     Mann, He's Tough.  At 6'4," 205 pounds, freshman point guard Charles Mann is Georgia's most gifted creator off the dribble.  His 11 points and 6 assists against Carolina provided a second-half spark, and helped pave the way for a road win. 

 

Mann's bullish driving style also leads to plenty of free throws:  his 6.6 Fouls Drawn/40 Minutes ranks 24th nationally.  South Carolina had one of its best games of the season denying dribble-drives against Ole Miss.  Can they duplicate that success against Mann?  By playing the dribble-drive well - i.e., not needing rotations - Carolina can also prevent him from setting up Georgia's three-point threats, Vincent Williams (38.2% 3pt. SEC) and Sherrard Brantley (33.3% SEC).

 

4.    South Carolina's press didn't give Georgia as many headaches as they thought.  The Bulldogs' 23.9% Turnover Percentage ranks 329th in the nation.  Yet when the Gamecocks tried a full-court press against the Bulldogs, Georgia handled it with surprising ease.  Don't let their deliberate pace fool you - the Bulldogs are sneakily good in transition.

 

Carolina may not press as much, but don't expect them to abandon ball pressure completely.  Georgia's triangle offense relies on pacing and flow.  If Carolina can throw Georgia's guards out of rhythm, they may make it difficult for them to run coherent offense.

 

KCP.jpgThe Dark Arts of the "Long Pass":  Few players inspire more hold-your-breath moments in the SEC than Ole Miss mad-bombing guard Marshall Henderson.  The SEC's leading scorer (19.7 ppg), Henderson was handcuffed to 11 points on 4-of-17 field goal shooting against the Gamecocks.

 

In his post-game interview, Martin explained what led to Henderson's long night.  Surprisingly, it had less to do with on-ball defense.

 

The job the Gamecocks did against SEC leading scorer Marshall Henderson Wednesday could help them against Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg).

 

"Our initial ball defense was good.  That means our pick-up points were higher on the floor," he explained.  "Keep the ball as far away from the baseline as possible, so the passes are longer."

 

Long passes lead to uncomfortable, out-of-rhythm catches.  Because of that, Henderson couldn't pivot as easily into his shots, resulting in a 3-of-11 night from three-point range.  That tactic could benefit them against Caldwell-Pope, who ranks second behind Henderson for the SEC's scoring lead.

 

Stat of the Week:  Junior Eric Smith has more assists this year than his first two seasons combined.

 

Eric Smith Assists

First two seasons:            75

This season:                      79

 

An Inside Look:  To the chagrin of tongue-tied announcers everywhere, Laimonas Chatkevicius has begun to make a name for himself.  The freshman from Klaipeda, Lithuania, posted a career-high 11 points and 7 rebounds against Alabama, then followed it up with a 7-point, 7-rebound effort against Ole Miss' dominant front line.

 

Chatkevicius.jpegAll season long, Chatkevicius' play has teased, tempted, and mostly tortured the Gamecock coaching staff.  At 6'11" and a sturdy 250 pounds, he's the biggest post player the Gamecocks have.  Yet when he arrived at South Carolina from South Kent School in Connecticut, he still needed to shed his "Euro post" tendencies.  Instead of banging around the paint, he preferred to face-up and shoot from outside.  At a preseason practice in October, Martin lamented that Chatkevicius had only grabbed one rebound in two hours.

 

Lie-MONE-is Ha-KEV-i-chitz (left) has averaged 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds over the last 2 games.

 

Underwood, who coaches the Gamecock forwards, says "Big L" has embraced the dirty work of an SEC post player.

 

"The offensive end has never been a problem.  He understands where every player should be on the play, in every set," Underwood said.  "The one thing he's had to mature with is to understand the physicality, and to be able to play at the rim."

 

Chatkevicius wears that evidence on his arms, where grayish bruises mottle his skin.  His willingness to get physical has also shown up in his block numbers:

 

Laimonas Chatkevicius - 210 minutes played

First 105 minutes:                           1 block

Next 105 minutes:                           5 blocks

 

Conditioning has also played a role.  Chatkevicius logged 25 minutes against Alabama and Ole Miss.

 

"First game of the year, 25 seconds might have been a stretch," Underwood quipped.

 

The days of 25-second cameos for Laimonas Chatkevicius may be over.

 

Crashing Carrera:  Michael Carrera suffered through his first scoreless game of the season against Alabama.  He responded with flair and fury against Ole Miss, posting his fifth career double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds).

 

In the first half alone, Carrera collected the third most offensive rebounds by a freshman in a game this year.

 

Most Offensive Rebounds by a Freshman - 2012-13

1.        Jordan Reed  (Binghamton)                        10

2.        Anthony Bennett (UNLV)                                 9

   Michael Kessens (Longwood)                    

   Steven Adams (Pittsburgh)

   Devin Thomas (Wake Forest)

   Xavier Thomas (Colorado)

3.        Michael Carrera (South Carolina)              8

 

And Finally...  How loose were the Gamecocks when they returned to practice Thursday, fresh off their upset of Ole Miss?

 

"Andy Assalley, our Director of Basketball Operations, had our team working on the Harlem Shake all day," Underwood said.

 

He was joking, of course.  But after shaking off a six-game losing streak, the Gamecocks have reason to feel good.

 

Our pre-game coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. EST on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network.  See you in Athens.  --AD--

"Miracle Child" Enjoys VIP Gamecock Basketball Experience

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Not only did South Carolina Basketball get to enjoy a conference win over Ole Miss Wednesday night, they also enjoyed the company of a young fan who had a wish to attend a game and meet the team.

Keldon Hemingway, 11, is a "Miracle Child". Each year, University of South Carolina students participate in a Dance Marathon event to raise awareness and funds for Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, our local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropy on campus with this year's event taking place at the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center on March 1st-2nd. Each year they ask some of the children who have been patients at the hospital for a wish and they do their best to grant them. Keldon was diagnosed with a tumor in the center of his brain at age six. Since his diagnosis Keldon has undergone several surgeries, multiple MRIs, and two different types of chemotherapy. With treatment his tumor has remained stable and he attends school full time and even recently completed a season of basketball. Keldon's wish was to attend a men's basketball game at South Carolina and meet some of the team members. With support from head coach Frank Martin and the basketball staff, Erica Nelson (Coordinator, Life Skills and Community Outreach in the athletics department) worked to help facilitate a great experience for him.

Keldon and his family arrived early at the game to meet the team and Coach Martin during warm-ups, even getting to sit on the pre-game speech in the locker room. They enjoyed the game from seats right behind the bench and vouchers for the concession stand. Keldon proudly wore his new men's basketball t-shirt and took an autographed team poster. The Gamecocks provided a thrilling game, beating Ole Miss 63-62. After the game, Keldon joined the team in the locker room to celebrate (great picture below!) as many of the players called him their "good luck charm".


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Tune in to The Frank Martin Show on Sunday, March 3rd, at 11:30 AM and/or 7:30 PM on SportSouth for a behind the scenes video feature on Keldon's special experience with the Gamecocks. Tune in to this week's show on February 24 for a behind the scenes look at practice through Lakeem Jackson.


In addition to liking basketball, it turns out Keldon has some pretty slick dance moves! Check him out at the 2011 Dance Marathon event on campus: