The South Carolina men's basketball team (8-9, 0-3 SEC) resumes SEC play when it travels to face Auburn (11-7, 1-3 SEC) on Saturday in the Auburn Arena. Tip time for the contest is set for 1:47 p.m. ET, with a pre-game show on the SEC Network prior to tip. Carter Blackburn and Kara Lawson will handle the call.
OPENING TIP Date: Saturday, January 21, 2012 Tipoff: 1:30 p.m. ET Location: Auburn, Ala. Arena: Auburn Arena (9,121) Series: Auburn leads 18-14 Television: SEC Network (check local listings) Talent: Carter Blackburn (pxp), Kara Lawson (analyst) Radio: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
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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 127-196 (.393) all-time record in SEC play.
- South Carolina's contest at Auburn marks the first since last Saturday's 79-65 loss to No. 19/19 Florida. The Gators had six reach double-digit points in the contest, while the Gamecocks inside duo of Anthony Gill and Damontre Harris both struggled with foul trouble throughout the game. The teams hit a combined 21 3-point baskets in the contest, with UF guard Kenny Boynton and South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington both hitting four from beyond the arc.
- South Carolina sophomore guard Bruce Ellington is averaging 56.0% from 3-point range, having made 14 of his last 25 attempts over the course of his last five games.
- Senior forward Malik Cooke ranks third in the SEC (all games) with 2.0 steals per game.
- In strictly SEC games, Ellington ranks tied for sixth in scoring with 15.0 points per game.
- Saturday's contest marks the first time that South Carolina will play in Auburn Arena.
- Sophomore forward Damontre Harris collected the first double-double of his career with 11 points and 10 rebounds against Vanderbilt on Jan. 10. 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. Harris paces South Carolina with 5.2 rebounds per game entering the contest against Auburn.
- Darrin Horn-led teams are 78-51 (.604) 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 40 with 4.9 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks among the top 60 with 1.9 blocks per game.
- South Carolina ranks first in the SEC in rebounding defense, as Carolina opponents collect just 31.1 rebounds per game. The Gamecocks have out-rebounded 11 of 17 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 10.0 more points per game.
- The Gamecocks own a 402-344 (.538) 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.
- South Carolina has scored more points in the paint than its opponent 11 times, and has scored more points off of turnovers 11 times as well this season. The Gamecocks average 27.3 points in the paint per game and average 15.1 points off of turnovers per contest.
By The Numbers 62.5% - South Carolina shot a stellar 62.5% from the floor in the first half vs. 19th-ranked Florida last Saturday, hitting 15 of 24 attempts, including six 3s in the opening half. It marked Carolina's best first half of the season in terms of shooting percentage, while it was the second time the Gamecocks have hit at least 60% from the floor in the first half (60.0%, 15-25, 1st half vs. USC Upstate).
1 - South Carolina blocked a season low one shot vs. Florida. The previous season low was two blocks, which happened twice, at Elon and vs. Vanderbilt.
21 - Due to foul trouble, South Carolina's inside core of Anthony Gill and Damontre Harris played just a combined 21 minutes in the second half vs. Florida. The duo accounted for just eight points and four rebounds in the half.
29.3 - In games it has lost this season South Carolina is hitting just 29.3 percent from beyond the arc. To compare, in games won, the Gamecocks are hitting 41.4 percent from 3-point range.
The Tigers are led by second-year head coach Tony Barbee and enter Saturday's game with an 11-7 overall record, including a 1-3 mark in league games. Auburn's last two contests have gone to overtime, the first a 69-68 double OT win over Ole Miss, and most recently a 65-58 loss on the road at LSU on Tuesday. Junior guard Frankie Sullivan leads four in double-figures with 12.0 points per game, while senior forward Kenny Gabriel leads the team and ranks fifth in the SEC with 8.1 rebounds per outing. Auburn ranks fourth in the SEC with 5.6 blocks per game, with Gabriel second in the league with 2.7 per game. Auburn is 10-1 in home games this season.
- Auburn holds an 18-14 upperhand in the all-time series between the two schools, but the series is tied at 7-7 in games played at Auburn.
- South Carolina has won five of the last eight meetings between the two schools, including the last matchup in Auburn, 80-71, on Jan 9, 2010. Auburn collected a 79-64 victory last season in Columbia.
The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena to host Alabama on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the SEC Network. The Crimson Tide suffered a 69-59 loss to Vanderbilt on Thursday, and will travel to No. 2 Kentucky for a Noon game on Saturday.