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Gamecocks Host No. 14 Mississippi State On Tuesday

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Gamecocks Host No. 14 Mississippi State On Tuesday

Men's Basketball | 1/7/2019 | From USC Sports Information | GCF Staff Report

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina opens up a two-game homestand on Tuesday when it hosts No. 14 Mississippi State at Colonial Life Arena.  Tip time versus the Bulldogs is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU with Roy Philpott (play-by-play) and Daymeon Fishback (analyst) on the call.

STARTING FIVE
> South Carolina began league play in thrilling fashion on Saturday, as Chris Silva's dunk with 2.5 seconds remaining would be the game winner in a 71-69 road win at Florida.  The Gamecocks trailed by as many as 14 in the second half, and steadily fought back to tie the contest with 4:39 remaining.  Carolina's stout defense held the Gators without a field goal the final 7:17 of the game.  
> Carolina's win in Gainesville was its second-straight road win in the series, that happening for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign.  It was also Carolina's first win in a league opener since the 2017 campaign (win at Georgia).
> Senior forward Chris Silva was in foul trouble early vs. the Gators, playing just four minutes in the opening half.  He scored all 18 of his points, including a 5-of-6 effort from the floor, and an 8-of-9 performance at the free throw line, in the second half.  He's now hit double-figures in six straight games, averaging a team high 16.2 points per game in the stretch.
> Senior guard Hassani Gravett provided a huge lift for the Gamecocks off the bench in Saturday's road win.  He scored a game high 22 points, to go along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.  Gravett connected on four 3-pointers, marking his seventh game this season with multiple 3s.  
> The Gamecocks look to snap a two-game losing streak to Mississippi State on Tuesday when the Bulldogs travel to Colonial Life Arena.  MSU won both meetings last season, including an overtime home win in late February.  Mississippi State has now won three of the last five meetings between the two schools.

THROUGH THE FIRST 13 GAMES...
> The Gamecocks are 6-7 overall and 1-0 in SEC contests following the team's first road win of the season at Florida ... In home games, Carolina is 4-4, having posted a 97-46 win in the last game at Colonial Life Arena over North Greenville on Dec. 31 ... Rookie guard A.J. Lawson paces the Gamecocks with 13.2 points per game, Silva adds 12.9 per outing and Gravett 10.8 ... Gravett's 41.1 percent from 3-point range is a team best, while sophomore forward Felipe Haase's 86.7 (26-30) percent from the free throw line is a team high.

FRANK MARTIN
> South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is in his seventh season leading the Gamecocks and 12th season overall as a head coach in 2018-19.  Martin, the 2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year (CollegeInsider.com), led South Carolina to its first Final Four and a school record 26 wins in 2016-17.  In his 11 complete seasons as a head coach, Martin has led his teams to at least 21 wins seven times.  Martin is a native of Miami, Fla., and a graduate of FIU.
> Prior to his time on the sidelines in the college ranks, Martin spent 15 years in high school coaching in Miami, Fla., including the last seven as a head coach. He was part of five state championships as an assistant at Miami Senior High School (1985-93), before earning two titles as the program's head coach (1995-98). Highlighting Martin's stint as the head coach of the program were consecutive 30-win seasons and consecutive Florida 6A State Championships in 1996 and 1997, with his 1997 squad earning a 36-1 overall record and ranking No. 4 in the USA Today Top 25 Poll. He also served as the head coach at North Miami Senior High School (1993-95) and one season at Booker T. Washington High School (1999-2000).
> Among active Division I head coaches, South Carolina's Frank Martin holds the seventh-highest (tied with Michigan's John Beilein) NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.667) behind only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina's Roy Williams, Kentucky's John Calipari, Kansas' Bill Self, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Villanova's Jay Wright.
> Martin led team's are 96-95 (.502) all-time in league play.

QUICK HITS
> South Carolina is in its 111th season of varsity basketball in 2018-19.
> Gamecock head coach Frank Martin is joined on the sidelines by assistant coaches Perry Clark (6th season), Bruce Shingler (3rd season) and Chuck Martin (2nd season).  Andy Assaley is in his seventh season as the director of operations.
> South Carolina is one of 13 DI schools nationally that have two or more former DI coaches serving as an assistant coach.  Perry Clark served as the head coach at Tulane, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, while Chuck Martin was the head coach at Marist for five campaigns.
> South Carolina advanced to its first Final Four in 2016-17, which included posting its first NCAA Tounament win since the 1973 campaign when it talied a 93-73 win over Marquette in the First Round.
> The Gamecocks are 24-14 (.631) in neutral-site contests under the direction of head coach Frank Martin, including a 3-3 mark last season.
> Carolina was 15-18 (.454) over the course of the last three seasons in away contests (2015-16, 16-17, 17-18).
> Martin is 29-40 (.420) against ranked opponents as a head coach. His teams have four wins over opponents ranked in the top five, and two wins over opponents who are ranked No. 1.
> Senior forward Chris Silva was named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team by both the media and coaches; and also named to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, the Naismith Trophy Watch List and the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List.  He was also named a Senior CLASS Award Candidate.

SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
> Carolina is 6-7 overall and 1-0 in the SEC entering the matchup vs. Mississippi State.
> Gamecock seniors - Gravett (22), Silva (18) and Campbell (6), tallied 46 combined points to lead the squad in the win at Florida.  Campbell also played a team high 37 minutes, dishing four assists.
> Over the course of the last five games, Silva is averaging 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per outing.  Gravett adds 12.2 points per game as well.
> Over the course of their careers vs. MSU, Silva is averaging 11.2 points per game (6 games), and Gravett 8.5 (4 games).
> Gravett recorded a then-career high in last season's matchup in Starkville between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs.  He hit a long-range 3 at the buzzer to force the contest to OT, and finished with 19 points.
> The Gamecocks are 5-2 when leading at the half this season.
> South Carolina returns seven letterwinners from last season's 17-16 squad, including senior guard Hassani Gravett and senior forward Chris Silva.
> Carolina welcomes nine newcomers to its roster this season, including transfers and six freshmen student-athletes.  Jair Bolden (transfer/George Washington/guard), redshirt-junior Raymond "Quad" Borup (r-junior/forward), graduate transfer Tre Campbell (transfer/Georgetown/guard), Keyshawn Bryant (freshman/guard), Jermaine Couisnard (freshman/guard), Alanzo Frink (freshman/forward), A.J. Lawson (freshman/guard), T.J. Moss(freshman/guard) and Nathan Nelson (freshman/forward).

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
> Mississippi State is 12-1 on the year, which includes a 1-0 mark on the road.  MSU has not started SEC action yet.  
> Mississippi State is led by head coach Ben Howland in his fourth season.
> Five average double-figures for the Bulldogs, led by Quinndary Weatherspoon's 17.2 points per game.  Lamar Peters (13.2), Aric Holman (12.5), Tyson Carter (10.5) and Nick Weatherspoon (10.1) are also in double digits.
> Peters' 6.2 assists per game are a team high, and rank fourth in the SEC.
> In the SEC stats, MSU is seventh in scoring offense (80.2 ppg), and sixth in scoring defense (66.7 ppg).  The Bulldogs' +6.7 rebound margin is fourth in the league, with Holman pulling down a team high 8.6 rebounds per game, which is third in the SEC.
> Individually, Q. Weatherspoon's 17.2 points per outing are fourth in the league, and he is also one of the best at the free throw line, as his 85.7 percent is second.

COMING UP NEXT
Carolina concludes its brief homestand when it hosts Missouri this Saturday for a 1 p.m. ET matchup.  The contest will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Richard Cross (play-by-play) and Debbie Antonelli (analyst) on the call.

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