Gamecocks host Vandy in SEC opener

The South Carolina men's basketball team (9-4, 0-0 SEC) begins Southeastern Conference action on Saturday when it hosts No. 22/24 Vanderbilt (11-2, 0-0 SEC) in a nationally televised contest on ESPN2 at 5 p.m.

GAME INFORMATION

Date: Saturday, January 8, 2011
Tipoff: 5 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: Series is tied at 23-23
Television: ESPN2
Talent: Brad Nessler (pxp), Jimmy Dykes (analyst); Tim Sullivan (producer)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
(107.5 FM - Columbia/GamecocksOnline.com)
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
Tickets: Tickets are available via the Gamecock Ticket Office (1-800-4SC-FANS)

Carolina Quick Hits

- South Carolina is in its 103rd season of basketball.
- The Gamecocks enter their 20th season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2011. Carolina owns a 122-182 (.401) all-time record in SEC play.
- Darrin Horn-led teams are 73-37 (.663) all-time in league play. Horn led Carolina to a 10-6 record in SEC action during his first year in Columbia (2009) and a 6-10 mark last season (2010).
- South Carolina is 7-12 all-time in SEC openers (home and away), including an 0-1 mark vs. Vanderbilt (Jan. 9, 2008 in Nashville; 80-73 Vanderbilt win).
- Carolina is 8-11 all-time in its first SEC home contest of the season. Carolina defeated LSU, 67-58, last season in the first league contest of the year in Columbia.
- Carolina earned a road win over Auburn last season to begin league play. The win marked Carolina's first in an SEC opener on the road since a 95-85 win at Tennessee on Jan. 6, 1993.
- Third-year head coach Darrin Horn owns an all-time record of 98-20 (.830) in home contests and has led South Carolina to a 35-9 (.795) home record during his two-plus seasons in Columbia.
- Led by Sam Muldrow's season high six blocks, South Carolina blocked 15 shots, just one block shy of matching the Carolina single-game record of 16, vs. SC State on Jan. 4.
- In home games, South Carolina has held its opponent to under 41% shooting in every contest thus far in 2010-11 except the Boston College matchup. The Eagles shot a stellar 51.6 % (33-64) to earn the road win on New Year's Day.
- South Carolina has dished double-digit assists in 12 contests this season (through 13 games), compared to 18 times all of last season.
- Carolina (40.0) is one of four teams in the SEC to average at least 40 rebounds per game. Kentucky (40.5), Tennessee (40.0) and Vanderbilt (40.0) are the other three.
- South Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.363).
- Carolina's 6.2 blocked shots per game rank third in the SEC, with Muldrow (2.6) third in the league and 26th in the nation (Jan. 3 NCAA stats).
- South Carolina's 14.1 offensive rebounds per game rank second in the SEC, trailing only Tennessee (14.2).
- Freshman guard Bruce Ellington ranks sixth in the SEC in assists (3.9), and is second among freshmen in the category.
- Ellington scored 31 points vs. Furman on Dec. 22. It marked the first Gamecock to hit the 30-point plateau since Devan Downey posted 33 in a 78-77 victory over Georgia on Jan. 30, 2010.
- The Gamecocks own a 398-338 (.540) all-time record in the month of January.

Scouting Vanderbilt

- Vanderbilt broke into both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls this week, ranking 24th in the AP and 22nd in the coaches. The Commodores ride a four-game winning streak into Columbia, not having lost since a Dec. 8, 85-82 overtime loss at Missouri.
- During its current four-game winning streak, Vanderbilt is averaging 78.5 points per game, with its opponents posting just 58.3 points per outing.
- Sophomore guard John Jenkins leads four Commodores who average double-figure points with 17.8 per game. Jeffrey Taylor (14.5), Festus Ezeli (13.0) and Brad Tinsley (10.0) also contribute double figures. Ezeli paces the squad with 6.7 rebounds per game.
- Vanderbilt most recently defeated Davidson, 80-52, last Sunday following a 77-76 win over Marquette on Dec. 29. Junior forward Andre Walker hit a layup with four seconds remaining vs. Marquette to propel the Commodores to victory.

Vanderbilt Series Information

- The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 23-23. South Carolina holds a slight 11-10 advantage in games played in Columbia.
- The 2010 series saw each team earn a hard-fought road win. Vandy collected an 89-79 victory in Columbia on Jan. 16, while the Gamecocks earned an upset win over the No. 13/19 Commodores on Senior Day at Memorial Gymnasium nearly two months later on March 6.

By The Numbers

- 6 - Senior forward Sam Muldrow blocked a season-high six shots vs. SC State. It marked the 10th time in his career that Muldrow has blocked at least five shots in a contest, and the second time this season (5 blocks vs. Clemson).
- 52.3% - South Carolina newcomers, including Malik Cooke, account for 52.3 percent of the Gamecocks' offense this season.
- 5 - Lakeem Jackson matched his career high for the second straight contest, dishing five assists vs. SC State. Jackson ranks second on the team and 15th in the SEC with 2.8 assists per contest this season.
- 15 - Carolina's 15 blocked shots vs. SC State were the most in a single game by any SEC team this season, eclipsing the previous high of 12 set by Mississippi State in an overtime win over Troy in November.
- +12.8 - South Carolina owns a +12.8 scoring advantage over its opponent in home games and a +16.2 advantage in home wins.
- 16+ - With his four three throws vs. SC State, Lakeem Jackson has already surpassed his free throw total from last season just 13 games into the 2010-11 campaign. Jackson tallied 16 free throws on 59 attempts as a freshman (.271), and currently has 19 on 38 attempts (.500) this season.

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