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GAMECOCK-GAMEDAY THREAD: South Carolina vs. Kentucky***Jan. 15, at 6:30pm.***

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GAMECOCK-GAMEDAY THREAD: South Carolina vs. Kentucky***Jan. 15, 2019 at 6:30pm.***

Colonial-Life-ArenaROUNDED-GDAY.png

**Jan. 15, 2019 -Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.**

imageproxy.png South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Kentucky Wildcats 4eETONmD8UxIN_UlqPyXsA_96x96.png
 

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GAME INFO

Who: No. 10 Kentucky (12-3, 3-0 SEC) at South Carolina (8-7, 0-2 SEC)

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Colonial Life Arena

TV channel: SEC Network

Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area

Series: Kentucky leads, 52-12

Last meeting: Feb. 5, 2019 — Kentucky 76, South Carolina 48

KenPom prediction: Kentucky 72, South Carolina 66

USC-KENTUCKY

1. Hagans vs. who?

While South Carolina is still experimenting with point guard options, Kentucky enters each game with a firm sense of who’s running its show.

Ashton Hagans, a Georgia native once recruited by Frank Martin, is among the best at his position in the country. The sophomore is averaging 13.1 points per game and leads the SEC in assists (7.3 per game) and is third in steals (2.2).

He becomes a difficult matchup for whoever among A.J. Lawson, Jair Bolden, Jermaine Couisnard, T.J. Moss or Trae Hannibal.

“He disrupts your point of entry on offense,” Martin said. “That’s something that we haven’t been good against this year. When we play teams that are defensively aggressive, that disrupt point of entry, we’ve struggled to be able to make three passes and get a good shot.

“So all those things taken into consideration, that’s going to be a big matchup in the game on Wednesday. We have to offset that intangible that Ashton brings. He brings this aggression that all good teams and all good players have.”

2. Free throw contest favors UK

South Carolina is coming off its first loss of the Martin era in which it held its opponent under 30% shooting. The Gamecocks were 15-0 when doing this over the last seven-plus seasons — until Tennessee beat them at 25.9 FG%.

Free throws again haunted USC as the Vols made nine more in a 56-55 game.

The last time the Wildcats and Gamecocks got together in Columbia, South Carolina won a 2018 game that featured 74 free throw attempts. Should something similar happen again Wednesday, give a significant edge to UK. John Calipari’s teams leads the SEC in FT percentage (77.5) and Martin’s is last at 61.4.

3. Big Blue, big game

South Carolina gets its most storied league rival in an effort to try to break an odd trend.

The Gamecocks have lost three straight home games — its worst skid in two seasons — and now hosts the 51-time SEC champs. Kentucky, which suffered a head-scratching loss to Evansville in November, comes to Colonial Life Arena on a four-game win streak.

“Cal does a great job managing his team as the year goes on,” Martin said, “because he’s got so many first-year guys. I think he’s a got better feel (this season) because he’s got guys that have been with him for a couple years now.”

UK starts just two freshmen.

USC is seeking to avoid its first 0-3 start to SEC play since 2013-14.

KENTUCKY

Coach: John Calipari (762-214 in 28 seasons overall; 11th season at Kentucky — 317-74)

Projected starters: G Ashton Hagans (13.1 ppg), G Tyrese Maxey (13.9), F Nick Richards (13.0), F Keion Brooks (5.6), F E.J. Montgomery (7.3)

Last game: Beat Alabama 76-67 on Saturday at home

KenPom ranking: 20 (No. 32 in offensive efficiency, No. 28 in defensive efficiency)

NET: 26

SOUTH CAROLINA

Coach: Frank Martin (254-167 in 13 seasons overall; eighth season at USC — 137-113)

Projected starters: G A.J. Lawson (14.5), G Jair Bolden (9.1), F Keyshawn Bryant (8.6), F Justin Minaya (6.5), C Maik Kotsar (10.7)

Last game: Lost to Tennessee 56-55 on Saturday in Knoxville

KenPom ranking: 106 (No. 186 in offense efficiency, No. 69 in defense efficiency)

NET: 125

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We need to keep our half-court defense inside the 3 point line.   Try to make UK shoot as many threes as we can.    Try to keep UK out of the paint, and off the FT line.    Rebound their misses.    On offense, we need to attack the paint and get fouled as much as possible.  That means risking getting our shots blocked, but its our best chance for success.   We MUST make our FT if we are to have any chance to win this game.    I'd say the game will hinge on whether we can make more FT than UK, and win the rebound and turnover battle.

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33-25 Kentucky halftime lead. We're staying with them in rebounding and fouls - neither team shooting all that well at the free throw line - but we're struggling mightily at getting our shots to fall through the basket....

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AJ Lawson is 0-6 thus far. Team is 8-16 at the FT line.......

 

This game is very similar to the Tennessee game: Uk is not playing good at all, and are very beatable tonight, but we're making sure we play just a little bit worse than they are, and so we've trailed all game long. We've taken 21 more shot attempts than UK has - TWENTY-ONE MORE - and UK leads 61-57 just under 8 minutes left to play. The fouls are starting to mount for both teams....

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We still battle against ourselves so badly - two bad fouls by Kotsar and Minaya foul each of them out, and give UK free throws with game clock stopped. We are NOT a good FT team at ALL - PLEASE stop helping UK out by fouling them....

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WOW....Lawson misses both free throws. He is really hurting the team right now these days.

Uk has the ball down 76-78 with 10 seconds left - they call a timeout. Kotsar, Minaya, and Lawson really did all they could to lose this game for us, after getting up .....

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I’m just gonna put this out there too... as stellar as Cousinard was tonight, I think the hidden stars need some props too...

Alanzo Frink, Jayln McCreary and TJ Moss played their rears off, and gave us a fighting chance.  Kudos to those guys tonight as well.  We won’t be singing their praises much in this win, but we SHOULD be.

oh, and Mr. Minaya... you da man!

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Never had any doubts......not.   Crazy a team that can’t fall out of a boat and hit water in the 1st half scores 56 in the second.   Real athleticism showed off and got contributions from several guys.   Just about gave it back and I was worried for overtime.   Amazing bank shot to win it.   
 

Side note, as a USC Freshman this was my son’s first men’s basketball game.    He got to hold up the ice king fat head and high five all the players at the end.  Told him they’re all like that....lol.   

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Incredible that we won.  But more incredible the way we won.   College basketball is so unpredictable!   Couisnard was amazing for his first start at PG in such a big game, and as a redshirt freshman!   I love Hannibal, but Couisnard is our best PG right now.  

The missed FT are giving me an ulcer!   Hope we can improve that.

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3 hours ago, doublea1971 said:

I’m just gonna put this out there too... as stellar as Cousinard was tonight, I think the hidden stars need some props too...

Alanzo Frink, Jayln McCreary and TJ Moss played their rears off, and gave us a fighting chance.  Kudos to those guys tonight as well.  We won’t be singing their praises much in this win, but we SHOULD be.

oh, and Mr. Minaya... you da man!

I always enjoy watching McCreary. I think he'll have a good career here. Sometimes Frink and Moss can make me pull out my hair watching their in-game decision making but they played well tonight.

I'm really happy we won but part of me feels like it was an empty win. We need to have an almost perfect record to make the tourney. My guess is no more than three "good" losses in the remaining SEC games plus two wins in the SEC tourney. It's possible but I think we fall short yet again.

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