Tide Tries To Keep Gamecocks Struggling

Trevor Releford

One of the staples of coach clichés is that when his team loses, it can't wait to get back onto the court or field. South Carolina doesn't have to wait long. The Gamecocks lost at home to LSU, 65-46, on Thursday night.



That next chance comes Saturday at 3 p.m. CST when Alabama hosts South Carolina in Coleman Coliseum.

The Crimson Tide (16-8, 8-3 SEC) enters the game in a tie for second overall in the Southeastern Conference, and Bama has won eight of its last 10 games. Most recently, the Tide captured a 52-45 victory at Georgia on Tuesday night.

South Carolina hasn't had much luck in that getting back onto the court business. The Gamecocks are 12-12 overall and only 2-9 in SEC games and South Carolina is on a five-game losing streak. USC has lost seven of its last eight games.

This is just the second homestand for Alabama in February. Saturday's game will be televised on the SEC Network.

"We're looking forward to getting a home game," UA Coach Anthony Grant said. "We've had a few road games so it will be good to get home. We're playing a South Carolina team that I have a lot of respect for. Certainly, their coach (Frank Martin) and I go way back until the time when I was about 14 or 15 years old. We went to high school together, we coached together. He's a really good guy. I'm aware of the challenge they've had of late, but really impressed watching their team play in terms of how hard they play, the way they defend, the intensity they play with. Our guys have to be ready for what's coming."

It marked the ninth straight game that UA has held the opposition to under 60 points in a game, and the 16th time in 24 games this year that the Tide has achieved the feat. Alabama owns a record of 12-4 when holding opponents to under 60 points on the year.

Junior guard Trevor Releford is Alabama's top scorer and ranks eighth in the league at 14.6 ppg. He also tops the squad in three-point field goal percentage (.400), steals per game (2.0) and free throw shooting (.830), and ranks second on the team in assists (2.4 per game).

Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey is second on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game. Lacey tops the team in threes made (42) and attempted (107) and assists (3.2 per game).

Combined, the duo of Releford and Lacey contribute 26.4 points per game, or approximately 43 per cent of the team's 62.1 points per game.

Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper was the only UA player to hit double figures, accounting for 14 points to go along with five boards in the win. He has now scored in double digits in four-straight games coming into Saturday's contest. Cooper also averages double figures with 10.8 ppg. He leads the team in offensive rebounding (2.1), rebounds per game (4.4), and total field goals attempted (231).

Freshman forward Michael Carrera tops South Carolina in points (10.9) and rebounds (7.2). Junior guard Brenton Williams also averages double figures (10.0 ppg) and leads the team in three-point shooting (40 per cent).

Junior guard Bruce Ellington, who is also a standout wide receiver on the Gamecocks' football team, averages 9.9 points a contest, and leads South Carolina in steals per game (1.3).

Against LSU, senior forward Lakeem Jackson led the team with 10 points, three assists and three steals, to go along with seven rebounds.

This is the only meeting of the regular season between Alabama and South Carolina. The teams are meeting for the 37th time. The Crimson Tide owns a 23-13 edge in the series history and has won four of the last five meetings in the series. The Tide owns a record of 11-2 when hosting the Gamecocks, including a 10-2 mark when playing USC in Coleman Coliseum.

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