Can they do it again?

The South Carolina Gamecocks shocked the college basketball world earlier this season when they knocked off the then-No. 1-ranked Kentucky Wildcats at home. The Gamecocks will look to do it again, while the Wildcats will try to exact some measure of revenge tonight.


Date: Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tipoff: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Lexington, Ky.
Arena: Rupp Arena (23,000)
Series: Kentucky leads 41-10
Television: ESPN2
Talent: Brad Nessler (pxp), Dick Vitale (analyst)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
(107.5 FM - Columbia/
Talent: Andy Demetra (pxp), Casey Manning (analyst)
Live Stats:


Perhaps there is some sort of jinx associated with beating Kentucky.

South Carolina must think so.

After handing the Wildcats their only loss of the season back on Jan. 26, the Gamecocks have lost four of their last six games, including a 63-55 setback to Tennessee that was their third loss in a row.

They have fallen to 5-7 and are only a game ahead of Georgia for fifth place in the SEC Eastern Division.

A late fade against the Vols proved decisive in their last outing.

The Gamecocks were down by only three points with just a little more than six minutes remaining but the Vols ran off the next eight points for a 60-49 cushion with just over two minutes on the clock.

"We just had a stretch where we did not score at all," coach Darrin Horn said. "We had some turnovers that led to some baskets for them. Their two-possession lead went to nine in a hurry, and it became too much to overcome."

The loss dropped the Gamecocks to 14-12 overall and put to an end speculation that they could be in contention for an NCAA at-large bid on the strength of that win over Kentucky.

In fact, unless there is quick turnaround, the Gamecocks may not even make it to the NIT.

They now must go to Kentucky to face a Wildcat team that no doubt will be looking to extract some retribution for its earlier loss in Columbia.

The Gamecocks then get home games against Mississippi State and Alabama before finishing the regular season at Vanderbilt.  


--G Devan Downey has cooled a bit since opening SEC play with five 30-point performances in South Carolina's first seven conference games. He had 28 in a loss at Arkansas but had only 15 in the loss to Tennessee, his lowest production since getting only eight points in a loss at Clemson in early December. Downey's SEC average fell to 27.7 ppg.

--South Carolina is one of three teams shooting under 40 percent from the field in SEC play. The Gamecocks shot only 31.7 percent in the loss to Tennessee and are shooting 38.9 percent in 12 league games, good for 11th place behind Mississippi State (39.8) and ahead of LSU (37.8).

ON THE SPOT: Somebody is going to have to come through to take some of the pressure off Downey to do it all. Downey has failed to top the 20-point mark in two of his last three games. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're going to keep playing. We need to move forward in a way that we understand that we are building a program regardless of how games turn out. And that's going to be the case whether it's five years from now or if we were undefeated right now. That's going to continue to be the focus." -- Coach Darrin Horn, after South Carolina's loss to Tennessee.


South Carolina has fallen to 14-12 overall and 5-7 in the SEC, fifth place in the Eastern Division, since beating Kentucky on Jan. 26. The 63-55 loss to Tennessee was the third in a row for the Gamecocks and the second to the Vols in two weeks.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual starters -- F Sam Muldrow,  F Lakeem Jackson, F Austin Steed, G Brandis Raley-Ross, G Devan Downey. Key subs -- F Evaldas Baniulis, F Johndre Jefferson, G Ramon Galloway, G Stephen Spinella.


Georgia 66, South Carolina 61
Arkansas 92, South Carolina 79
Tennessee 63, South Carolina 55


at Kentucky, Thursday, Feb. 25
vs. Mississippi State, Saturday, Feb. 27
vs. Alabama, Wednesday, March 3
at Vanderbilt. Saturday, March 6

IN FOCUS: South Carolina handed Kentucky its only loss of the season to date, something that the Wildcats no doubt will have in mind when the two meet in the rematch in Lexington. Downey had a big game in the first meeting with 30 points.


--G Brandis Raley-Ross is 11-of-22 from the field in the last two games after going 19-of-48 in the previous four games. He was 5-of-10 against Tennessee and led the Gamecocks with 16 points. 

--After snaring 38 rebounds over a three-game span that began with an 11-rebound effort against Kentucky, F Sam Muldrow has only 26 over his last four games.

--Freshman F Lakeem Jackson had 10 points against Tennessee, going 5-of-9 from the field, for his second game in double figures in the last three outings.  

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