Gamecock Basketball Hosts LSU Wed., Feb. 27 at 7:30 pm
Mike Holmes has two straight double-doubles in the last two games. He is the first USC freshman since USC joined the SEC to accomplish this feat.
 
Mike Holmes has two straight double-doubles in the last two games. He is the first USC freshman since USC joined the SEC to accomplish this feat.

Feb. 26, 2008

 
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South Carolina, 12-14 and 4-8 in the SEC, hosts LSU, 10-16 and 3-9 in the SEC, on Wed., Feb. 27 at 7:30 pm. LSU has won the last two vs. the Gamecocks, including a 61-52 win over Carolina in Baton Rouge on March 3, 2007. The Tigers have been playing under interim head coach Butch Pierre, who has been with LSU for 11 years, since Fri., Feb. 8 when the Tigers released head coach John Brady from his contract. They are 2-3 under Pierre, a 1984 graduate of Mississippi State, in his first time at the helm of a program.

The South Carolina-LSU game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and will featured on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel No. 199. It can also be picked up via the internet at www.gamecocksonline.com.

USC is 3-1 vs. the SEC Western Division this season after falling in overtime to SEC Western Division leader Mississippi State in overtime on Sat., Feb. 23 (61-56). Mike Holmes picked up his second straight double-double with 13 boards and 12 points. LSU is coming off a 69-49 win over Ole Miss in Baton Rouge on the same day when four Tigers scored in double-figures, including Marcus Thornton's game-high 17 points.

The Gamecocks own an 11-9 record in the series. USC's SEC record vs. the Tigers is 10-9 as its only other meeting came when the Tigers visited Columbia back in 1974 for the Carolina Classic, dropping a 77-64 decision to USC.

A few things about the match-up:

First Meeting: Dec. 21, 1974 (77-64, in Columbia)

Last Meeting: March 2, 2007 (52-61, in Baton Rouge)

Last 5 Meetings: 2-3

Last 10 Meetings: 4-6

Leading

Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Devan Downey (19.7), Zam Fredrick (14.8) and Dominique Archie (10.6). Downey leads the team with 5.1 apg and 3.3 spg. Sam Muldrow leads with 1.4 bpg. Archie leads the team with 5.8 rpg and Mike Holmes is second at 5.1 rpg. Brandis Raley-Ross is hitting a team-high 54.7% of his three pointers (35-64) and Downey is knocking down a team-high 75.5% of his free throws (83-110).

Downey has a team-high 30 points vs. Penn State on Nov. 22 and Holmes had a team-high 16 rebounds vs. N.C. State on Nov. 23.

Turnovers

In the latest NCAA stats, USC is No. 5 in the country in turnovers at 10.8 turnovers per game (Mon., Feb. 25). USC is ranked in the top 50 in three other categories: No. 23 in fouls per game (15.8), No. 28 in assist-turnover ratio (1.23) and No. 36 in three-pointers per game (8.3).

The Gamecocks turned the ball over a season-low six times vs. Alabama compared to the Tide's own 18 turnovers. It was the fewest number of turnovers for the Gamecocks since they lost it five times in their 80-75 loss to Auburn on Jan. 31, 2007.

USC has forced double-digit turnovers against every opponent this season except two (9 against both vs. USC and vs. Florida). Penn State let the ball fall into Gamecock hands a season-high 21 times, Campbell turned it over 20 times, Arkansas and Mississippi State fumbled it 19 times and Radford and Alabama turned it over 18 times. Opponents are turning the ball over an average of 14.5 times a game with USC is averaging just 10.8 turnovers a game.

USC has turned the ball over 10 times or fewer in 14 games, including the last six of the last eight games (6 vs. Alabama; 9 at UK, vs. UGA and vs. Vandy; 10 at UGA and at UF; 11 vs. MSU and 12 at Ole Miss).

Wait one minute!

USC is 8-7 in games decided by seven points or less this season. Taking a closer look, USC is 5-5 in games decided by three points or less. The Gamecocks have lost four games this season that they were winning with a minute remaining (George Mason, UNC Asheville, then-No. 20 Vanderbilt and Mississippi State). But, USC has also won two games it was losing with 60 ticks left (at then-22 Ole Miss, vs. Alabama).

With a 12-14 record, USC has had a number of close calls. With two minutes on the clock, USC has played 16 games where five points or less separated the winner and the loser. USC is 7-9 in those games. With one minute left, there have been 15 games where five points seperated by the winner and the loser. USC is 6-9 in those games.

Streaky

Evka Baniulis has either been way on or a bit off the last five games beyond the arc. He hit a career-best six of eight three-pointers, scoring 18 points, in the 85-82 loss at Florida on Feb. 20, but came back on Feb. 22 vs. Mississippi State and went 1-7 from beyond the arc. He was 1-7 from the 3 point line in the previous two games prior to UF after hitting 5 of 5 vs. Vanderbilt.

Baniulis has started 10 of the 24 games he's played in this season. He went 1-2 from the free throw line on Saturday vs. Mississippi State on Saturday - his two first free throws of the season. He hadn't shot a free throw since he went 2 of 4 vs. Kentucky on Feb. 7, 2007. He was 15 of 26 last season (57.7%), including 8 of 14 (57.1%) in SEC play. First time since joining the SEC

Freshman Mike Holmes is the first USC freshman to gather two back-to-back double-doubles, vs. Mississippi State and at Florida, since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1991. Holmes grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 12 points vs the Bulldogs on Saturday.

He picked up his first career double-double at Florida when he scored a career-best 16 points with 11 rebounds. He is the first true freshman to finish with a double-double since random Wallace when he started in the 70-38 win at The Citadel on Dec. 3, 2003 and scored 10 points with 11 boards.

Holmes was the second Gamecock to collect a double-double vs. the Gators this season as Dominique Archie scored 14 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in the 73-71 loss to Florida on Jan. 23.

In addition to Holmes, Archie has two double-doubles (Jan. 2 vs. Radford, Jan. 23 vs. Florida) and Downey has one (Nov. 12 vs. The Citadel). Career-wise, Archie has three, Downey has two career double-doubles and Fredrick has one dating back to his days at Georgia Tech.

vote: WWW.COUSYAWARD.COM

Leading the SEC in steals, with 3.3 overall, and more importantly in scoring, with 21.0 ppg in league games and 19.7 ppg in all games, Devan Downey, a Cousy finalist, enters the LSU game at No. 2 in steals, No. 40 in ppg and No. 51 in apg (NCAA stats, Mon, Feb. 25). He is second in the SEC in assists and minutes played.

Downey is averaging a team-leading 19.7 ppg, 5.1 apg and 3.3 spg with 37.2 mpg starting all 26 games. He has 16 3+ steal games this season and scored 20+ points 13 times - including 8 of 12 SEC games. Not just leading the team in scoring, Downey has tallied 18 4+ assist games this season.

He scored game-high 29 points (career-best 6 3 pointers), tying career-best with 7 steals in win over Alabama. His three-pointer + one made free throw with :14 on the block sealed the 67-65 win.

Lineup card: Dominique of course!

Dominique Archie has started every game of his Gamecock career after red-shirting his freshman year. He has started 56 straight - including 30 last season and 26 this year. He needs one more start to match former All-SEC forward Marius Petravicius. Petravicius, a native of Kltenenu, Lithuania, started all 32 games his freshman year and only missed one start - game No. 26 vs. Tennessee (Feb. 27, 2001) - his sophomore year to start 61 of the team's 62 games his first two seasons.

Archie has quite a mountain to climb to set the school record owned by BJ McKie (1995-98) and Melvin Watson (1995-98). They both started 116 games during their careers.

After collecting 8.8 ppg and 5.0 rpg his freshman year, Archie's ppg are up almost two points (10.6 ppg) and he is grabbing almost an additional rebound each game (5.8 rpg). He was named to the All-SEC Freshman team last year for his efforts.

More Number Notes

• Carolina has scored 40+ first half points in five home games this season. (SC State, The Citadel, Campbell, Baylor, Radford). Last year USC scored 40+ in only eight halves total. USC also scored 52 in the second half of the C of C game.

• The Gamecocks have at least 5 steals in all, but two games this season. After 26 games last season, the Gamecocks had 5+ steals in just 10 games. In 10 of its games this season, USC has finished with 9+ steals per game. During its season-high 15 steals vs. The Citadel, Devan Downey lead the charge with a season-high six steals. Raley-Ross added two and Sam Muldrow, Zam Fredrick, Chad Gray, Branden Conrad, Rob Wilder, Dwayne Day and Mike Holmes each picked up one. USC grabbed 14 steals vs. Alabama with Downey leading the charge with 7 steals, Fredrick collected three, Raley-Ross two and Archie and Holmes both one.

Sam Muldrow, the cousin of former All-SEC Gamecock forward Carlos Powell, leads the team with 1.4 bpg. He blocked six shots vs. Tennessee on Jan. 12 which topped his five blocked shots vs. Campbell on Nov. 28. It was the most for a freshman since Renaldo Balkman blocked five shots on Feb. 11, 2004 vs. Mississippi State. He followed up that performance with 4 blocks at Clemson.

• The Gamecocks are scoring nine ppg more than they were last year at this same time. USC is averaging 73.3 ppg and have hit 74+ points in 11 games this year. After 26 games last year USC was averaging 64.3 ppg.

• Carolina is holding opponents to just 34.5% from three-point range on the year, including Georgia, who shot 4-27 from beyond the arc (14.8%), The Citadel who shot 3-29 from beyond the arc (10.3%) and Penn State who went 4-25 for a 16% showing. Last season opponents averaged 35% from the three point line. Likewise USC is hitting better than 38.1% of its 3 point attempts with Brandis Raley-Ross leading the charge in the SEC at 54.7%.

• The Gamecocks played four games at two neutral sites this season (three in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic and one in Philadelphia at the Pizza Hut Big East-SEC Challenge). It is the most USC has played on a neutral court early in the season since it played four of its first 7 regular season games in 1998-99 (two in Indianapolis and two in Charlotte).

• The Gamecocks have made at least one 3-pointer in 194 consecutive games since they went 0-19 vs. Mississippi State on March 2, 2002 - a 64-57 loss. They have also had at least one block in 112 consecutive games since they went block-less on Jan. 15, 2005 in a 66-63 win vs. Tennessee.