Akron (6-4) at South Carolina (4-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) -- Columbia, South Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Akron 4-0, USC 2-2. Away Record: Akron 1-2, USC 0-3. Neutral Record: Akron 1-2, USC 2-1. Conference Record: Akron 0-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Just three days after Akron and South Carolina met on Christmas Day in the 2013 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, the Zips and the Gamecocks will play once again, with Akron hoping for a different outcome.
After winning six straight games, the Zips took on unbeaten Iowa State and South Carolina in the Diamond Head Classic and lost both contests. Their four losses sandwiched all six wins the team has on the season.
South Carolina will host Akron Saturday after defeating the Zips in the neutral location. The Gamecocks haven't been able to string together back-to- back wins yet this season, but handled Akron with relative ease in the holiday tournament, 69-59, which led to a third-place finish.
The holiday tournament in Honolulu aside, South Carolina has only won one game, a home contest against FIU.
In the Zips' loss to South Carolina, the team ended the game shooting 22-of-58 from the floor (37.9 percent), 29.4 percent from long range (5-of-17). Demetrius Treadwell led all Akron scorers with 12 points in the contest and added seven rebounds. Quincy Diggs was the only other member of the Zips to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points.
Both Treadwell and Diggs are the top two scorers on the Zips team this season. Treadwell (14.8 points per game) has been struggling from the free-throw line, though, with a 66-percent average. He also leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game and averages .7 blocks per contest. Diggs dishes out the most assists per game at 3.2, and also records 1.5 steals per game.
The Gamecocks trailed by as many as nine points in the first half of their last contest with Akron, but managed to outscore the Zips 44-28 and shot 16- of-19 from the free-throw line in the second half. In all, the Gamecocks also committed just 10 turnovers against the Zips on Wednesday, including only two in the second half.
A total of five South Carolina players scored double-digit points against Akron, led by freshman guard Duane Notice with 15. Both Sindarius Thornwell and Brenton Williams contributed 12 points for the Gamecocks. South Carolina won the rebound battle, 38-35, and scored 46 points in the paint.
The freshman Thornwell leads the Gamecocks in scoring this season, averaging 12.1 points per game. Junior guard Tyrone Johnson is right behind Thornwell with an 11.5. Neither player though, is shooting above 40 percent from the floor this season. Sophomore Mindaugas Kacinas has been South Carolina's monster on the boards, hauling in six rebounds per game. The problem for South Carolina is that the Southeast Conference squad isn't dominating as a team in scoring. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 282 in scoring offense per game, averaging just 67.6 points per contest.
Wednesday's meeting between the two programs was the first-ever clash, so Saturday's game will provide the second. Akron is 3-5 all-time versus current members of the SEC, and will look to get back on track in Columbia with a win.
The Sports Network predicted outcome: Akron 69, South Carolina 64
12/28 10:40:56 ET