The South Carolina men's basketball team (10-16, 2-10 SEC) travels to Vanderbilt (19-8, 8-4 SEC) on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. ET contest at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. The game will be televised on the SEC Network (check local listings) with Dave Neal and Barry Booker on the call.
OPENING TIP Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Tipoff: 8 p.m. ET Location: Nashville, Tenn. Arena: Memorial Gymnasium (14,316) Series: Vanderbilt leads 25-24 Television: SEC Network (check local listings) Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Barry Booker (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 129-203 all-time record in SEC play.
- South Carolina travels to Nashville in search of its first SEC road victory of the season on Wednesday in the second matchup of the season vs. the Commodores. Vanderbilt used a run to open the second half to pull away for the win in the first meeting between the two schools in 2012.
- Senior forward Malik Cooke tallied the 1,000th point of his career in posting a team high 17 points vs. visiting LSU on Saturday, but the Tigers used a stellar shooting effort (24-49, 49.0%) to escape Columbia with a 68-58 victory. South Carolina also shot well in the contest, hitting 42.5 percent (20-47) from the field, but lost momentum following a technical foul called on the Gamecocks midway through the second half saw the Tigers capitalize and earn the win.
- South Carolina's 93.3 percent (14-15) from the free throw line vs. Georgia on Feb. 15 marked the best percentage under the direction of Darrin Horn for games where South Carolina had at least 10 attempts from the charity stripe.
- In strictly SEC games, South Carolina ranks tied for third in the SEC in steals (6.7) and blocks (4.5) per game.
- The Gamecocks had one of the toughest starts to SEC play this season, as the squad played Kentucky (currently 1st in the SEC) and Florida (second in the SEC) twice, and Vanderbilt (third in the SEC) once, in the first eight games of the league season.
- In the SEC statistical standings for overall games South Carolina ranks second in rebounding defense (32.8), fifth in steals per game (6.8), fifth in turnover margin (+1.2) and is fourth in the SEC in offensive rebounding (12.5).
- Senior forward Malik Cooke ranks tied for fourth in the SEC (all games) with 1.7 steals per game.
- South Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC and is among the nation's top 30 with 5.1 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks 29th nationally with 2.4 blocks per game, which is fifth in the SEC.
- In games it has won in 2011-12, South Carolina holds a +10.8 scoring margin over its opponents. To compare, in games it has lost, Gamecock opponents score 11.2 more points per game.
- South Carolina is 430-438-1 all-time in the month of February.
- South Carolina has scored more points in the paint than its opponent 13 times, and has scored more points off turnovers 15 times this season. The Gamecocks average 25.9 points in the paint and average 15.0 points off turnovers per contest.
- When South Carolina played No. 1 Kentucky on Feb. 4, it marked the fourth top-two opponent the Gamecocks faced this season, as the squad had previously played then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 2 Ohio State and the Wildcats when they were ranked No. 2 in early January. Those three teams have an average RPI of 5.3, with Kentucky the highest at 4 (as of Feb. 20 RPI report).
By The Numbers 1,000 - South Carolina redshirt-senior forward Malik Cooke collected a career milestone last week, earning the 1,000th point of his career (including his two seasons at Nevada) in South Carolina's contest vs. LSU. Cooke averaged 15.0 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks and steals in two games last week. The Gamecocks began last week with a 57-56 victory over Georgia, where Cooke hit the winning jumper with just 20 seconds left on the clock. He led the team with 13 points, while also collecting two assists, two blocks and two steals vs. the Bulldogs. Cooke responded vs. LSU, earning the 1,000th point of his career on one of his three made 3-point baskets in the game, hitting a 3 from the right wing during the second half. He led the team in scoring for the second-straight game with 17 points vs. the Tigers. 24-28 - In SEC games, sophomore forward Damontre Harris has hit 24-of-28 attempts from the free throw line for a team high 85.7 percent average. He has hit 40-of-49 (81.6%) attempts in overall games this season. 13 on 20 - South Carolina collected 13 assists on 20 made baskets vs. LSU on Saturday. This season, the Gamecocks collect an assist on 45.4 percent of made baskets, which is the highest percentage for Carolina in a season under the direction of Darrin Horn.
The Commodores have won two-straight entering Wednesday's contest vs. South Carolina, both road victories at Ole Miss and at Georgia ... Junior sharp shooter John Jenkins leads the team and is atop the SEC rankings with 20.1 points per game ... Jenkins' 3.9 made 3-point baskets per game leads the NCAA ... In strictly SEC games, Jenkins averages 19.1 points per outing ... Senior forward Jeffrey Taylor adds 17.8 points per game and collects 5.9 rebounds per outing ... Senior forward Lance Goulbourne collects a team high 6.9 rebounds per game, and senior center Festus Ezeli blocks a team best 2.0 shots per game ... Vanderbilt ranks third in the SEC in scoring offense (74.4) and second in field goal percentage (46.8) in overall games this season.
South Carolina returns home for two-straight games, beginning Saturday with an 8 p.m. ET matchup vs. Tennessee at Colonial Life Arena. Carolina will host Mississippi State next Wednesday for Senior Day, and will conclude the regular season at Georgia on March 3.