COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina will host its first of two ranked opponents in consecutive games as the Gamecocks welcome No. 17 Kentucky to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday night in the teams' only matchup this season. The Wildcats won last season's only meeting, 77-55, in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 5, 2013. Saturday's contest will broadcast on ESPN.
OPENING TIP Date: Saturday, March 1, 2014 Tipoff: 6 p.m. ET Location: Columbia, S.C. Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Series: Kentucky leads series 47-10 Last Meeting: Kentucky win, 77-55, on Feb. 5, 2013 Broadcast: ESPN Talent:Mark Jones (pxp), Jimmy Dykes (analyst) Radio:Gamecock Radio Network/107.5 The Game in Columbia Sirius:91XM: 91 Talent:Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst) Game Notes | Live Stats | @GamecockMBB on Twitter | Tickets
Carolina Quick Hits - In overall games, South Carolina ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.368), fourth in offensive rebounds per game (13.4) and sixth in free throw percentage (.704).
Scouting Kentucky Kentucky enters Saturday's matchup with a 21-7 overall record, which includes an 11-4 mark in SEC games ... The Wildcats are 5-3 away from Rupp Arena this season, dropping games to Arkansas and LSU in overtime ... Kentucky features four freshman in its starting lineup which includes Wooden Award midseason candidate Julius Randle ... The freshman leads the Wildcats by averaging a double-double with 15.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game ... The Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew have been a dynamic backcourt duo as Andrew leads the team in assists at 3.5 per game while adding 11.3 points per game, and Aaron pours in 13.6 per game and leads the team in steals with 1.2 per game ... Sophomore 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein leads the SEC in blocks with 3.0 per game ... Kentucky ranks first in the conference in blocked shots (6.4), offensive rebounds (14.9), rebounding margin (+9.9), and second in the conference in scoring (77.8/g) and scoring margin (+10.8).
Kentucky Series Saturday's meeting vs. Kentucky marks the 58th all-time meeting between the two schools ... The Tigers won the last meeting, 77-55, on Feb. 5, 2013 in Lexington, Ky., at Rupp Arena ... South Carolina has lost the previous six meets to the Kentucky, last defeating them on Jan. 26, 2010, 68-62, at Colonial Life Arena when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 ... That was the last of three-straight wins for the Gamecocks over the Wildcats.
By The Numbers 2 - In SEC games, Sindarius Thornwell leads all freshmen in three categories: scoring (15.8) and assists (4.00). 4 - Senior guard Brenton Williams has hit at least four 3s in eight of 15 SEC games this season. 5 - The Gamecocks have won five of 14 games when the scoring margin is 10 points or less. 6 - In their last 12 games, the Gamecocks have recorded at least six 3s in all but three games during that stretch. 7 - Sophomore forward Michael Carrera has led Carolina in rebounding in eight of the last 11 games. 11 - Thornwell has recorded double-figures in 11 of 15 SEC games, including five with 20-plus points, tying B.J. McKie for the most by a South Carolina freshman in SEC games. 13 - Against Auburn, Carrera recorded a season-high 13 rebounds, two shy of his career high (15), and one above his previous season high (12) set four days earlier. 18 - Williams has recorded double-figures in 17 of his last 20 games. 35.7 - Since the injury to Tyrone Johnson on Jan. 15, Thornwell and Williams have stepped up their scoring numbers. The duo is averaging a combined 35.7 points in the last 12 games, 7.5 points above their combined season average. 37.4 - Since Johnson's injury, Thornwell has assumed much the team's point guard responsibilities and has thrived in the position as a dual-threat, accounting for at least 37.4 percent of the team's points by scoring on his own or distributing the ball. He is averaging 16.4 points and 4.6 assists in the last 12 games to go with 4.8 rebounds. 40x2 - Against Georgia, Thornwell became first South Carolina player to play all forty minutes in a game since Devan Downey vs. Tennessee on March 14, 2008. Four days later, Williams performed the same feat. 95.6 - Williams has hit 87-of-91 free throws this season, which ranks No. 1 in the nation.
Up Next The Gamecocks are back home on Tuesday night for their second meeting of the season with No. 1 Florida. Game time is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.