COLUMBIA – South Carolina returns to the court on Saturday to host South Carolina State in the final regular-season non-conference contest of the 2012-13 campaign for the Gamecocks.
The meeting marks the 19th all-time between the two intrastate rivals with all of those contests having been played in Columbia. South Carolina leads the series 18-0.
Tipoff is 1:30 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The game will be televised by FSN.
Page won’t play
Senior guard LaShay Page, a post-graduate student from Dillon, will not compete with the South Carolina men’s basketball team for the remainder of the 2012-13 season due to an academic eligibility issue, USC announced Friday.
Page saw action in nine contests for the Gamecocks this season, posting 11.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He recorded two 20-point scoring games, including a season high of 22 points versus Missouri State in late November.
Carolina quick hits
South Carolina is in its 105th season of basketball.
The Gamecocks are led by first-year head coach Frank Martin. His associate head coach is Brad Underwood and his assistant coaches are Matt Figger and Lamont Evans. Andy Assaley is the director of basketball operations.
South Carolina most recently earned a 76-60 win vs. Presbyterian last Saturday led by junior guard Brian Richardson’s 16 points, and sophomore guard Damien Leonard’s 15 points, his first double-figure scoring game this season. Four Gamecocks recorded double-figures in the contest.
The Gamecocks were also without freshman forward Michael Carrera (chronic left hip injury) and Bruce Ellington (football - Outback Bowl) for the Presbyterian contest.
South Carolina begins SEC play next week with a Wednesday contest at Mississippi State.
South Carolina scored 22 second chance points vs. Manhattan, marking the second-most in the category in a game this season (23 vs. St. John’s).
Junior guard Eric Smith dished a career high nine assists vs. Appalachian State, including seven in the first half, which matched his previous career high. Smith leads the Gamecocks with 3.9 assists per game.
The Gamecocks errupted for a season-high 91 points in a 17-point victory vs. Jacksonville on Dec. 7. Freshman forward Michael Carrera paced four Gamecocks in double-figures with 17 points, while he also collected a team high nine rebounds.
South Carolina hit a stellar 62.5 percent (10-16) from 3-point range vs. Jacksonville, led by a perfect 4-of-4 effort from junior guard Brian Richardson, and a 4-of-5 performance from Brenton Williams. The duo lead Carolina in shooting percentage from beyond the arc, as Richardson has hit 43.8 percent (14-32) and Williams 50.0 percent (18-36).
Carolina owns a 20-1 all-time record against current schools in the MEAC.
The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s contest with a 4-9 overall record after most recently suffering a 77-41 loss at Clemson on Dec. 23. That contest vs. the Tigers marked the fourth-straight, and the seventh overall, contest away from Orangeburg for SC State. Matthew Hezekiah paces the squad with 12.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, while senior guard Khalif Toombs provides 12.0 points and a team-leading 4.9 assists per contest. SC State’s last win was a 74-72 victory vs. Jacksonville on Nov. 28.
By the numbers
5.7 - Over the course of the last three games junior point guard Eric Smith is averaging 5.7 assists per contest, while averaging just three turnovers. He committed just one turnover vs. Presbyterian last Saturday.
15 - Sophomore guard Damien Leonard put forth his highest scoring output of the season last Saturday vs. Presbyterian, posting the first double-figure scoring game of the season for the Greenville native with 15 points off the bench. It marked the ninth double-figure scoring game of his career.
11th - South Carolina continues to impress on the rebounding advantage, ranking 11th in the country with a mark of +10.2 over its opponents. Carolina has out-rebounded 11-of-12 opponents this season, including a 34-25 edge vs. PC.
4th-straight - Junior guard Brian Richardson posted his fourth-straight double-figure scoring game when he matched his season high with 16 points vs. PC. It was the first time in his career he’s posted four straight games with double-figure points.
5 - The Gamecocks are aiming for their fifth-straight win, which would mark the longest win streak of the season and the longest since early in the 2010-11 campaign.
Up next for USC
South Carolina begins SEC play on Wednesday when it travels to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State in an 8 p.m. ET time contest on ESPN3.com.