The South Carolina men's basketball team (8-7, 0-1 SEC) will host Vanderbilt (11-4, 1-0 SEC) in its SEC home opener on Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena. Tip off for the contest is set for 9 p.m. ET, with the game to be televised on ESPNU.
Garnet Army T-shirts will be distributed to the first 1,000 students, while free pizza will be provided for the first 500 students. Doors are set to open at 7:30 p.m.
OPENING TIP Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Tipoff: 9 p.m. ET Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Series: Series is tied at 24-24 Television: ESPNU (check local listings) Talent: Dari Nowkhah (pxp), Dino Gaudio (analyst) Radio: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Gamecock Radio Network
Carolina Quick Hits
- South Carolina is in its 104th season of basketball.
- The Gamecocks are in their 21st season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2012. Carolina owns a 127-194 (.395) all-time record in SEC play.
- Carolina is 9-11 all-time in its first SEC home contest of the season. Carolina defeated Vanderbilt in overtime 83-75 in last season's first league contest in Columbia.
- South Carolina shot just 25% in the first half, which allowed Kentucky to hold a 34-18 lead at halftime, as the second-ranked Wildcats earned a 79-64 victory in the SEC opener for both schools at Rupp Arena on Saturday. Freshman guard Damien Leonard led Carolina in scoring for the first time in his career, posting 15 points, including 12 in the second half. UK's Terrence Jones led all scorers with 20 points, while Wildcat freshman forward Anthony Davis added 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.
- Darrin Horn-led teams are 78-49 (.614) all-time in league play.
- When South Carolina played No. 2 Kentucky last Saturday it marked the third top-two opponent the Gamecocks have faced this season, as the squad had previously played then-No. 1 North Carolina and then-No. 2 Ohio State.
- Vanderbilt and South Carolina split the season series in 2011, with both teams winning on its respective home court. The Gamecocks opened SEC play with a thrilling 83-75 victory over the Commodores in Columbia, as then-senior Sam Muldrow recorded just the second triple-double in Gamecock history with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks in that contest.
- Gamecock head coach Darrin Horn is 3-3 against Vanderbilt over the course of his career at South Carolina.
- Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington impressed in the first SEC game of his career last season vs. Vandy, posting 22 points, four assists and two steals. He hit six 3s in the contest, and earned the SEC Freshman of the Week Award for his performance.
- South Carolina ranks fifth in the SEC and among the nation's top 25 with 5.4 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks among the top 50 with 2.1 blocks per game.
- South Carolina ranks first in the SEC in rebounding defense, as Carolina opponents collect just 31.7 rebounds per game. The Gamecocks have out-rebounded 10 of 15 opponents this season.
- In games it has won in 2011-12, South Carolina holds a +13.1 scoring margin over its opponents. To compare, in games it has lost, Gamecock opponents score 9.4 more points per game.
- The Gamecocks own a 402-342 (.540) all-time record in the month of January. South Carolina earned a 4-4 record during the month last season, including overtime victories over No. 22/24 Vanderbilt and Arkansas in SEC play.
By The Numbers 15 - Freshman shooting guard Damien Leonard led South Carolina in scoring for the first time in his career with 15 points in the loss at Kentucky on Saturday. Leonard has shot a stellar 55.6% (15-27) overall and an impressive 52.2% (12-23) from 3-point range over the course of the last five games (South Carolina is 4-1 in those contests). 32-30 - South Carolina out-rebounded Kentucky 32-30 last Saturday, including a 16-7 advantage on the offensive glass. The Wildcats entered the contest having out-rebounded 11 of 15 opponents this season, including an average of +7.3 rebounds per game over BCS opponents (Kansas, Penn State, North Carolina and Louisville). 59.2% - Kentucky's 59.2% from the floor against South Carolina last Saturday marked the third-highest shooting percentage by a Gamecock opponent under the direction of Darrin Horn. Vanderbilt holds the top two spots. 4 - South Carolina had four players reach double-figure points vs. Kentucky. It marked the third time this season that four Gamecocks have hit the mark. 17.5 - Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington is averaging 17.5 points per game in his career (two games) against Vanderbilt. Ellington kicked off his SEC career with 22 points in an OT win over the Commodores in 2011, and followed with13 against Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Vanderbilt is led by head coach Kevin Stallings in his 13th season at the school ... The Commodores are led in scoring by junior guard John Jenkins, whose 20.3 points per game leads the SEC and ranks among the top 15 in the nation in the category ... Jenkins' 4.0 made 3-point baskets per game leads the nation ... Senior guard Jeffrey Taylor adds 17.4 points per game ... The duo of Jeffrey and Taylor are one of only two teammate who average over 15.0 points per game in the SEC (Bost/Moultrie, Miss State) ... Vanderbilt ranks second in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.387) ... The Commodores have surpassed the 80-point mark six times this season, and have tallied at least 95 points twice.
Vanderbilt Series Information
- The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 24-24. South Carolina holds a slight 12-10 advantage in games played in Columbia.
- The 2011 series saw each team earn a victory on its home court, as the Gamecocks collected an 83-75 OT win to open SEC play in early January, and the Commodores once again evened the all-time series with a 64-56 win at Memorial Gym on Feb. 5, 2011.
- South Carolina is 2-9 all-time vs. Vanderbilt when the Commodores are ranked.
Quotable Excerpt from opening statement from post-game press conference at Kentucky
"...I don't know that you're going to hold a team [Kentucky] this talented and at the pace they play at and think you're going to keep them in the low 60s or 50s. They obviously got a few more than we wanted them to tonight. We really thought it was important to eliminate as many of their easy baskets as possible. I think when you look at the stat sheet we did a lot of those things and we accomplished that. We scored 46 points against the best defensive team in the country in the second half. So, I saw some really positive things from some individuals."
- South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn