COLUMBIA — South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday to host Francis Marion for a non-conference matchup. The meeting is the first all-time between the two schools.
— South Carolina is in its 108th season of varsity basketball in 2015-16.
— Carolina is led by fourth-year head coach Frank Martin. Alongside him are associate head coach Matt Figger, assistant coaches Perry Clarkand Lamont Evans and director of men’s hoops operations, Andy Assaley.
— South Carolina enters Wednesday’s contest ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, and moves up three spots to No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll. Carolina remains the only undefeated team in the SEC and one of just five unbeaten teams nationally (games through Dec. 28).
— South Carolina most recently posted a 75-61 win over St. John’s on Dec. 22 before the holiday break at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The win was Carolina’s first over St. John’s in five tries, and improved the Gamecocks’ record to 11-0. Junior guard Duane Notice hit the 20-point mark for the first time this season and the fifth time of his career, and senior forward Michael Carrera posted the seventh double-double of his career with 16 points and a game high 12 rebounds in the win. The Gamecocks hit 53.8 percent from 3-point range, in comparison, holding the Red Storm to just 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.
— Player to watch — senior forward Michael Carrera is averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 55.8 percent from the floor and 64.7 percent from 3-point range over the course of the last five games.
— South Carolina hit the 10-0 mark for the first time in over 80 years on Dec. 18, posting a 65-59 road victory at Clemson behind four Gamecocks in double-figures led by senior forward Michael Carrera’s 14 points. The Gamecocks used a 24-1 run in the middle portion of the first half to hold a 41-25 lead at the break. Despite a comeback by the Tigers, which saw them pull within four late in the game, Carolina withstood the run and closed the six-point win. Carrera hit a pair of 3s during the first-half run that sparked the Carolina offense, but his most crucial points in the game came with 22 seconds on the clock when the senior hit two from the free throw line to clinch the win.
Gamecocks In The Polls
The Gamecocks continue to be ranked in both of the Top 25 Polls this week, checking in at No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll and No. 24 in the Associated Press Poll.
South Carolina welcomes former Metro Conference foe Memphis to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup. The meeting is the 29th all-time between the two schools and the first since the 2004 NCAA Tournament. The contest will be televised on ESPNU with Roy Philpott (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst) on the call.
Scouting Francis Marion
Francis Marion enters Wednesday’s contest with a 7-3 overall record, which includes an 0-2 mark in Peach Belt Games. The Patriots compete in NCAA Division II. Led by head coach Gary Edwards in his 10th season, FMU has five players averaging double-figures, led by Columbia native, and the 2015 Peach Belt Freshman of the Year, Detrek Browning, who averages 18.9 points per game. Junior guard Alante Fenner adds 16.8 points and a team-best 4.5 assists per game. The Patriots average 85.2 points per game, which ranks 51st in the NCAA, and FMU’s 10.2 steals per game rank 12th nationally.