The South Carolina men's basketball team (9-11, 1-5 SEC) will travel to Gainesville, Fla., on Thursday to face No. 12/11 Florida (17-4, 5-1 SEC) in a 9 p.m. matchup set to be televised on ESPN2 with Rece Davis and Hubert Davis on the call.
OPENING TIP Date: Thursday, February 2, 2012 Tipoff: 9 p.m. ET Location: Gainesville, Fla. Arena: Stephen C. O'Connell Center (11,548) Series: Florida leads 38-22 Television: ESPN2 (check local listings) Talent: Rece Davis (pxp), Hubert Davis (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 128-198 all-time record in SEC play.
- Despite a game high 17 points from senior forward Malik Cooke, South Carolina suffered a 66-62 loss at Ole Miss last Saturday. The game was close throughout, as neither team led by more than seven points in the second half. Ole Miss' Terrance Henry hit a 3 with 17.5 on the clock which gave the Rebels the deciding four-point advantage. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris played just 16 minutes due to foul trouble.
- South Carolina's 12 steals vs. Ole Miss marked a season high.
- South Carolina's contest at Florida marks its second away contest in a row, and is part of a stretch where the Gamecocks will play four out of five away from Columbia. The team hosts No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday before traveling to Tennessee and Arkansas next week.
- South Carolina has one Florida native on its roster in sophomore guard Brenton Williams, who is from Kissimmee, Fla. Williams posted a season high 15 points, hitting three 3s at Ole Miss last Saturday.
- In the SEC statistical standings South Carolina ranks first in rebounding defense (31.7), second in steals per game (7.4), fourth in turnover margin (+1.5) and is fourth in the SEC in offensive rebounding (13.0).
- In strictly SEC games, South Carolina collects 8.2 steals per contest, which ranks second in the league.
- The Gamecocks have out-rebounded 12 of 20 opponents this season, including North Carolina, who leads the nation in rebounding margin at +11.7, and Kentucky, who ranks 11th in the category and leads the SEC with a +7.8 mark.
- Senior forward Malik Cooke ranks third in the SEC (all games) with 2.0 steals per game.
- 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 40 with 2.1 blocks per game.
- In games it has won in 2011-12, South Carolina holds a +11.9 scoring margin over its opponents. To compare, in games it has lost, Gamecock opponents score 9.5 more points per game.
- South Carolina is 429-433-1 (.497) all-time in the month of February.
- South Carolina has scored more points in the paint than its opponent 11 times, and has scored more points off of turnovers 13 times this season. The Gamecocks average 27.2 points in the paint per game and average 15.2 points off of turnovers per contest.
- 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 6.7, with Kentucky the highest at 5 (as of Jan. 30 RPI report).
By The Numbers 22 - After committing 23 turnovers at Auburn on Jan. 21, the Gamecocks have made taking care of the basketball a point of emphasis. The squad committed just nine turnovers in the victory over Alabama, and 13 last Saturday at Ole Miss - a combined 22, less than the 23 in one game at Auburn. South Carolina averages 13.1 turnovers per game. 56 - Redshirt-senior forward Malik Cooke needs just 56 points to hit 1,000 for his career, which includes 407 points during his two seasons at Nevada, and 537 to date at South Carolina. Cooke leads the Gamecocks with 12.7 points per game in overall games this season. 13.4 - Over the course of the last five games, sophomore guard Bruce Ellington led South Carolina with 13.4 points per game. Cooke added 12.0 per contest, and sophomore forward Damontre Harris contributed 8.8 and a team best 5.8 rebounds. 17.5 -Malik Cooke has led South Carolina in scoring nine times this season, including in each of the last two games - 18 vs. Alabama and 17 against Ole Miss - for a 17.5 points per game average over the course of the last two games. 15 - Led by Bruce Ellington's season high of five, the Gamecocks dished an SEC season best 15 assists last Saturday vs. Ole Miss. It was the most this season since posting 17 vs. SC State on Jan. 4, and the most in an SEC contest since collecting 14 last season in the 72-69 victory at Florida on Jan. 15, 2011. 4 - When No. 1 Kentucky visits Colonial Life Arena on Saturday it will mark the fourth top 5 opponent of the season for the Gamecocks. South Carolina has played then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 2 Ohio State and then-No. 2 Kentucky already this season.
The Gators have won five straight entering Thursday's matchup for an overall record of 17-4, including a 5-1 mark in league games ... Junior guard Kenny Boynton continues to pace the squad with 17.2 points per game, including 11.7 per game in SEC play ... Florida is undefeated in home games this season with an 11-0 record ... Florida leads the nation in made 3-point field goals per game with 10.6 per outing, and also leads the nation in assist to turnover ratio at 1.55 ... The Gators' 80.7 points per game in overall games leads the SEC ... Freshman guard Bradley Beal was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday.
- Florida holds a 38-22 upperhand in the all-time series with South Carolina, including a 17-7 advantage in games played in Gainesville.
- Florida earned a 79-65 victory in the first meeting of 2012 between the two schools in Columbia.
- The two teams have split the season series in each of the last three seasons.
The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena to host top-ranked Kentucky on Saturday at 6 p.m. in a contest set to be televised on ESPN. The Gamecocks defeated then-No. 1 Kentucky 68-62 on Jan. 26, 2010, for South Carolina's first-ever victory over an AP No. 1.