The South Carolina men's basketball team (8-10, 0-4 SEC) returns to Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday to host Alabama (13-6, 2-3 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference matchup. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET on the SEC Network with Dave Neal and Kyle Macy on the call.
OPENING TIP Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Tipoff: 8 p.m. ET Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Series: Alabama leads 22-12 Television: SEC Network (check local listings) Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Kyle Macy (analyst) Radio: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Gamecock Radio Network Tickets: 1-800-4SC-FANS, GamecocksOnline.com, Colonial Life Arena Ticket Office
Carolina Quick Hits
- South Carolina is in its 104th season of basketball.
- South Carolina suffered a 63-52 loss at Auburn on Saturday. The Gamecocks held a 28-24 lead at halftime, but poor shooting until the later part of the second half and 23 turnovers in the contest saw the Gamecocks drop the road contest. Auburn scored 28 points off of South Carolina turnovers. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris blocked a career high six shots in the game.
- Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington paces the Gamecocks with 13.5 points per game in SEC play. He is averaging 44.6 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from 3-point range over the course of his last six games (missed the USC Upstate game due to competing with the South Carolina football team at the Capital One Bowl). During the stretch he paces the Gamecocks with 13.3 points per game.
- Over the course of his last six games, Ellington has dished 16 assists, compared to just eight turnovers.
- The Gamecocks have out-rebounded 12 of 18 opponents this season, including North Carolina and Kentucky.
- Senior forward Malik Cooke ranks third in the SEC (all games) with 1.9 steals per game.
- Darrin Horn-led teams are 78-52 (.600) all-time in league play.
- When South Carolina played then-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. Those three teams have an average RPI of 9, with Kentucky the highest at 5.
- South Carolina ranks fifth in the SEC and among the nation's top 35 with 5.1 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks among the top 40 with 2.2 blocks per game.
- 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 10.1 more points per game.
- The Gamecocks own a 402-345 (.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 26.9 points in the paint per game and average 15.3 points off of turnovers per contest.
- Four of South Carolina's first five opponents in league play have an RPI that ranks in the nation's top 40: Kentucky (5), Alabama (29), Vanderbilt (30) and Florida (36).
By The Numbers 6 - South Carolina sophomore forward Damontre Harris blocked a career high six shots vs. Auburn on Saturday. He had hit his previous high mark of five on four occassions, most recently vs. Wofford on Dec. 28. 0 - During last season's matchup between South Carolina and Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide failed to hit a 3-point basket in the contest, going 0-of-3 from beyond the arc. 10.7 - In his career vs. Alabama (three games), junior forward Lakeem Jackson is averaging 6.3 points, 10.7 rebounds 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Jackson collected 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, last season vs. Alabama. 70.0% - Sophomore forward Damontre Harris his hit 70 percent (14-20) of his shot attempts in SEC play thus far in 2012, while he has also hit 8-of-10 attempts from the free throw line. 10 - South Carolina collected 10 steals vs. Auburn, the most for the Gamecocks in SEC play this season.
Alabama enters Wednesday's contest with a 13-6 overall record, including a 2-3 mark in league play ... Wednesday's contest marks the fourth on the road in SEC play for the Crimson Tide ... Alabama most recently suffered a 77-71 loss at No. 2 Kentucky on Saturday ... Senior forward JaMychal Green paces three averaging double-figure points with 14.2 per contest, including 11.8 per game in league play ... Alabama is 2-4 in road games this season, with wins at Georgia Tech and at Georgia ... The Tide leads the SEC in scoring defense, as opponents average just 57.5 points per game.
- Alabama leads the all-time series 22-12, while the Gamecocks hold an 8-6 advantage in games played in Columbia.
- The Crimson Tide has won three-straight in the series, including a 79-70 win on March 3, 2010, in the last meeting in Columbia.
- Alabama has won six of the last 10 meetings.
Distribution In The Numbers
- South Carolina has several players making a significant impact in several various categories. Only senior forward Malik Cooke (12.2) and sophomore guard Bruce Ellington (10.9) average double-digit points, but three others average at least 6.4 points per game. Similarly, sophomore forward Damontre Harris leads the team with 5.3 rebounds per game, but three others average at least 4.1 boards per outing. Same with assists, as three have tallied at least 28 this season, led by Cooke's 34.
- South Carolina travels to Ole Miss on Saturday for a 7 p.m. ET matchup with the Rebels. The Gamecocks and Ole Miss met twice last season, as South Carolina earned a 79-73 win in Columbia during the regular season, before Ole Miss collected a 66-55 victory in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. Saturday's contest will be televised on FSN.
Equestrian Team Event Prior To Men's Hoops Game
The South Carolina equestrian team will join Gamecock fans at Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday prior to the men's basketball game against Alabama in the sixth annual Spurs & Saddles event. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Gamecock fans will get the chance to meet and take photos with the riders and horses by the fountain outside of Colonial Life Arena. The Spurs & Saddles event is ideal for families with children as well as anyone wishing to stop by to support the two-time national champion equestrian team.
There is no charge to participate in the event, and fans will be able to have their picture taken with the riders and horses. The athletics department will have a photographer outside at the event with the team that will be taking photos, and fans will be able to pose for photos with the team and horses, and then download the photos from GamecocksOnline.com beginning on Thursday. There will be team posters available for free, and fans will be able to get the posters autographed.