The South Carolina men's basketball team (8-8, 0-2 SEC) will host No. 19/19 Florida (13-4, 1-1 SEC) in an SEC matchup on Saturday night at Colonial Life Arena. The contest will be televised on CSS at 7 p.m., with Matt Stewart and Nate Ross on the call.
The Gamecock football team will be recognized at halftime of the game, as head football coach Steve Spurrier and a bevy of players are expected to be on hand, with the Head Ball Coach scheduled to address the crowd. Fans attending the contest will receive a souvenir card commemorating the Gamecock football team's first 11-win season.
*** Please note, the contest will be shown on Channel 506 on Time Warner Cable at no additional cost to Digital TV customers.
OPENING TIP Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012 Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Series: Florida leads 39-22 Television: CSS (check local listings) Talent: Matt Stewart (pxp), Nate Ross (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 127-195 (.394) all-time record in SEC play.
- Darrin Horn announced on Thursday that Bruce Ellington will start in the contest against Florida. It will mark the first start of the season for Ellington.
- Another poor shooting performance in the first half for the Gamecocks, as the squad hit just 19 percent from the floor, led to Vanderbilt holding a halftime lead that it would not relinquish in the second half, as Carolina fell to 0-2 in the SEC after a 67-57 loss to the Commodores on Tuesday. Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington tallied a season high 20 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead the Gamecocks.
- Sophomore forward Damontre Harris collected the first double-double of his career with 11 points and 10 rebounds against Vanderbilt. Harris had two previous double-figure rebounding games in his career and three double-figure point games, but had never put up double-figures in the categories in the same game prior to Tuesday. Harris paces South Carolina with 5.2 rebounds per game entering the contest against Florida.
- Over the course of the last five games, South Carolina is shooting 44.9 percent from the floor, and 40 percent from 3-point range. Ellington (has played in four of last five games due to competing with football team at Capital One Bowl) stands out in both categories, as he has hit 51.4 percent (19-37) from the floor and 52.6 percent (10-19) from 3. Sophomore forward RJ Slawson has also been solid during the stretch, hitting 64.7 percent (11-17) from the floor.
- Sophomore guard Brian Richardson is averaging 10.0 points per game against Florida in his career in the Garnet and Black (2 games). Richardson had two double-figure scoring games in SEC play last season, hitting 10 points both times against the Gators. He also collected a combined three steals in those outings.
- Among freshman in the SEC, Anthony Gill ranks 10th in scoring (8.5 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (5.1 rpg).
- Darrin Horn-led teams are 78-50 (.609) all-time in league play.
- When South Carolina played No. 2 Kentucky on Jan. 7, 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.
- South Carolina ranks fifth in the SEC and among the nation's top 25 with 5.2 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 31.4 rebounds per game. The Gamecocks have out-rebounded 10 of 16 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 9.5 more points per game.
- The Gamecocks own a 402-343 (.539) 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 18.5 - In two games last season vs. Florida, sophomore guard Bruce Ellington tallied a combined 37 points, averaging 18.5 points per game against the Gators. Ellington was instrumental in the 72-69 road win in Gainesville, as he scored the final six points of the game, hitting a jumper and four free throws over the course of the last 28 seconds. 12.3 - South Carolina is averaging 12.3 offensive rebounds per game over the course of the last four games. The Gamecocks collected 16 offensive boards against Kentucky, en route to 15 second chance points, and Carolina earned 12 offensive boards against Vandy for 14 second chance points. +1.8 - South Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC in turnover margin. 2.1 - South Carolina sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks fifth in the SEC with 2.1 blocks per game this season. Three times this season Harris has matched his career high of five blocks, while he has eight games with at least two blocks in 2011-12.
The Gators enter Saturday's contest with a 13-4 overall record this season, including a 1-1 mark in league games after a 67-56 loss at Tennessee, followed by a 70-48 victory over Georgia on Tuesday ... Georgia's 48 points was a season low for Florida opponents this season ... Florida has out-rebounded its opponent in 12 games this season. The Gators' +4.9 rebounding margin ranks second in the SEC ... Junior guard Kenny Boynton leads five averaging double-figure points for the Gators with 18.9 points per game ... Sophomore center Patric Young ranks 11th in the SEC with a team high 7.1 rebounds per game ... The Gators are 9-6 in games played in Columbia under the direction of Billy Donovan.
- Florida holds a 39-22 upperhand in the all-time series with South Carolina, including an 18-13 advantage in games played in Columbia.
- The two teams have split the season series in each of the last three seasons.
- UF has won seven of the last 10 meetings.
Florida Series Continues To Bring Thrillers
- The recent series between South Carolina and Florida has been filled with excellent games and thrilling finishes. Below is a quick recap of the six games between the two schools since Darrin Horn became the head coach of the Gamecock program.
- Jan. 21, 2009 - Then-senior Zam Frederick hit a lay-up with nano seconds on the clock to clinch a 70-69 win for the Gamecocks in Columbia.
- Feb. 3, 2009 - Just two weeks after Frederick's heroics, Florida earned a 97-93 win in a shootout in Gainesville. Then-junior Devan Downey drilled three 3's in the final 57 seconds of the game and added a layup for a total of 11 points in the final minute of play, but solid free throw shooting by the Gators down the stretch secured the UF win.
- Jan. 23, 2010 - Downey hit a lay-up to put the Gamecocks ahead 56-55 with just 5.1 seconds remaining on the clock, but UF's Chandler Parsons hit a 3 at the buzzer for the UF win.
- Feb. 10, 2010 - South Carolina avenged its loss in Gainesville with a 77-71 victory in Columbia. Downey led three in double figures with 24 points, while senior Brandis Raley-Ross added a season-best 20 points in the win.
- Jan. 15, 2011 - Freshman point guard Bruce Ellington tallied a team-best 23 points, including Carolina's final six points of the contest, to secure a 72-69 road win for the Gamecocks. Senior forward Sam Muldrow and freshman forward Damontre Harris each blocked three shots in the contest.
- Feb. 9, 2011 - Florida led the entire way to earn a 79-60 victory in Columbia. Senior forward Chandler Parsons led the Gators with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win. Ellington led South Carolina with 14 points. The Gamecocks, ranked second in the nation in blocked shots per game (6.8) at the time, were held to just two rejections in the contest.