B-ball team travels to Baylor to ring in 2009

The Gamecocks (9-2) will ring in the New Year Friday by taking on their second Top 20 opponent of the week. After falling 98-87 to arch-rival Clemson on Tuesday, Carolina will face the 19th ranked Baylor Bears (12-1) on Friday. The Gamecocks are hoping the trip to Waco, Texas, will go better than the football team's trip to Tampa, but they will face a stiff challenge.

South Carolina is playing Baylor for the third consecutive season and third time overall. In the previous meetings, both teams won on the other's home court. Last season in Columbia, the Gamecocks suffered a particularly disheartening loss. Carolina had a 20 point lead in the first half, but Baylor used a 44-10 run to cruise to a 92-84 win. That win exorcized some road demons for the Bears, who had lost 25 straight road games, and served as a springboard to the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor is 9-0 at the Ferrell Center, and the Bears are a deep and balanced team. Five Bears are averaging double figures in scoring, led by guard LaceDarius Dunn's 16.4 points. Dunn lit up the Gamecocks last season, scoring 24.

The Gamecocks are led by Devan Downey, who is second in the SEC in scoring, at 20.6 points. Downey is coming off an exhausting 37 point effort against Clemson. However, Horn would prefer not to see Downey have to recreate that performance. Downey had eight turnovers and no assists, and the Gamecocks would be much better off if they can give Downey more help.

Tipoff is at 5:30 PM. The game will be televised by FSN Southwest, but will not be available on FSN South. The Gamecocks will return home to play Wofford January 5, the final tune-up before SEC play begins.

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