COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina travels to Knoxville on Wednesday to face the Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena in a 6:30 p.m. ET tip on the SEC Network. The Gamecocks look to begin the SEC campaign 3-0 for just the second time in their 26 seasons in the league. Carolina is coming off an 11-point win over Texas A&M in Columbia, a game in which the Gamecocks forced 25 Aggie turnovers, which were converted into a season high 30 points. South Carolina head coach Frank Martin goes for his 200th career coaching victory against Tennessee on Wednesday.
- 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 improved to 9-1 in home games and 2-0 in league play last Saturday with a 79-68 win over Texas A&M in the SEC home opener at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina was led by four in double-figures, with senior guard Duane Notice and rookie guard Rakym Felder’s 19 points each leading the way. Notice connected on 4-of-9 from 3-point range, while Felder was a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Texas A&M hit an opponent season high 52.9% from the field, but 30 Gamecock points off of 25 Aggie turnovers, and 18 second-chance points for Carolina saw the home team earn the 11-point win.
- After scoring five early points vs. A&M, Thornwell would go scoreless through the middle part of the game vs. the Aggies. He scored 11 of his 16 points in the final 6:23 of the contest, while he also assisted on a crucial 3 from Dozier with 3:21 remaining to give Carolina its biggest lead of the game at 72-61.
- Rookie guard Rakym Felder has led the Gamecocks in bench scoring in four of the last six games.
- South Carolina looks for its first back-to-back road wins in league play on Wednesday at UT since the 2011 SEC season when the Gamecocks posted a 72-69 win at Florida (Jan. 15), and a 64-56 win in its next league road game at LSU (Feb. 2).
- 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 78-78 (.500) all-time in conference games.
- South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 157-253 (.382) all-time in SEC games.
- The Gamecocks currently rank 36th in the NCAA RPI (games through Jan. 8), which is fourth in the SEC behind Florida (3rd), Kentucky (8th) and Arkansas (26th).
- Carolina scored 30 points off of 25 Texas A&M turnovers in the win last Saturday. The 30 points were a season high in the category, where SC out-scores its opponents 16.1-11.1 this season.
- South Carolina is looking for just its second 3-0 start ever in SEC play. The 1996-97 Gamecocks began SEC action 11-0.
- The Vols are 8-7 this season overall and hold a 1-2 record in league games with a win at A&M and losses vs. Arkansas and most recently at Florida.
- UT is led by head coach Rick Barnes in his second season in Knoxville and his 30th season overall.
- The Vols average 83.9 points per game at Thompson-Boling Arena this season and boast a 5-2 record in home games.
- Four average double-figure points for the Vols, led by senior Robert Hubs III’s 14.7 per game. He is second on the team in league games with 11.7 points per outing.
- Junior guard Detrick Mostella paces the squad in three SEC games thus far, scoring a team best 12.7 points per outing. He is averaging 15.2 points and has hit 40.5% from 3-point range over UT’s last six games.
- Sophomore forward Admiral Schofield is coming off the first double-double of his career, as he posted 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds off the bench vs. Florida last Saturday.
- Among league statistics, Tennessee is sixth in scoring offense (78.1 ppg), fourth in free throw percent (75.3), seventh in assists per game (13.9) and seventh in turnover margin (+1.6).
Wednesday’s meeting vs. Tennessee marks the 68th all-time between the Gamecocks and Vols and the 34th all-time in Knoxville. South Carolina has won two of the past three matchups vs. UT, but prior to the stretch, Tennessee had won 15-straight, including six-straight in Knoxville. Carolina posted a 60-49 win at Thompson-Boling Arena on March 7, 2015, its first road win in the series since the 2002 conference campaign.
BY THE NUMBERS
2.1 - Sophomore forward Chris Silva is averaging 2.0 blocks per game this season, which ranks tied for sixth in the SEC and 44th nationally. 2.3 - PJ Dozier’s 2.3 steals per game leads the Gamecocks and ranks first in the SEC and 14th nationally. Dozier has five games this season with at least three steals, and collected a season high four steals vs. FIU. 2.982 - The Gamecocks excelled in the classroom during the fall semester, as the team posted a cumulative GPA of 2.982. 5.5 - Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell averaged 5.5 steals per game last week, with six vs. Georgia and five vs. Texas A&M. 6 - South Carolina committed just six turnovers in the win vs. A&M, trying for the fewest in the Frank Martin era. 13 - South Carolina’s 13 steals vs. FIU on Dec. 4 marked a season high in the category, surpassing the previous high of 12 vs. Syracuse. 15 - Sophomore forward Chris Silva scored a career high 15 points in Carolina’s win vs. Texas A&M on Jan. 7. 25 - The 25 turnovers by Texas A&M were an opponent high this season. It was the most turnovers in a game by a Carolina opponent since SE Louisiana committed 26 turnovers on Dec. 21, 2011. 26 - Dozier’s 26 made 3s this season are 16 more than his total of 10 from his rookie campaign. 30-2 - Over the course of the last two seasons, the Gamecocks are 30-2 in games when leading at the half. Carolina was 20-1 last season when leading at the half, and 10-1 this season when holding the edge at the break. 40 - Sophomore guard PJ Dozier is 40 points away from reaching 500 for his career.
The Gamecocks return home to host Ole Miss on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena. It’s the first of two-straight home games for Carolina. Tip time vs. the Rebels is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU with Kevin Fitzgerald (pxp) and Chris Spatola (analyst) on the call. Jory Fleming, the South Carolina senior student who was recently awarded the prestigous Rhodes Scholarship, will serve as honorary captain for the game.