Ole Miss (11-5) at South Carolina (7-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) -- Columbia, South Carolina. Television: FSN-S, FL, DET+. Home Record: Ole Miss 7-3, South Carolina 5-3. Away Record: Ole Miss 2-2, South Carolina 0-5. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 2-0, South Carolina 2-1. Conference Record: Ole Miss 2-1, South Carolina 0-3. Series Record: Series is tied, 15-15.
GAME NOTES: The South Carolina Gamecocks will try for their first SEC win of the season on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the Ole Miss Rebels at Colonial Life Arena.
Ole Miss was able to improve to 2-1 in league play on Wednesday night following a strong 88-74 overtime win at home versus LSU. The Rebels, who have alternated wins with losses over the past seven games, are 11-5 on the season, including 2-2 in true road tests.
South Carolina ripped off a four-game winning streak at the end of its non- conference slate of games but has since fallen flat at the start of SEC competition, losing to Florida (74-58), LSU (71-68) and Texas A&M (75-67) in consecutive outings to dip to 7-9 overall.
After 30 all-time meetings between the squads, each team has won 15 times, with South Carolina winning the most recent contest, 63-62 on Feb. 20, 2013.
In a game that had nine ties and 17 lead changes, Ole Miss was able to grab control of its tilt versus LSU by dominating the overtime period, shooting 5- of-6 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line on its way to a 14-point win. It shot 43.5 percent from the field on the night and were led by Marshall Henderson, who scored 25 points (on 6-of-12 from 3-point range) and handed out seven assists in his return from a two-game suspension at the start of league play. Jarvis Summers tallied 20 points and eight assists, Sebastian Saiz contributed 20 points and nine rebounds off the bench and Aaron Jones logged a double-double with 13 points and 13 boards.
The Rebels have had no problems putting big point totals up this season (78.9 ppg), which has been able to successfully mask their less-than-stellar scoring defense (71.8 ppg) more often than not. Henderson leads the way with 19.2 ppg and all but 11 of his 70 field goals have come from beyond the arc. Summers (18.0 ppg) is a marksman from the floor (.514) and 3-point range (.534), and Derrick Millinghaus brings 10.6 ppg to the table.
After running out to a lead as large as seven early in the second half of its most recent contest, South Carolina fell victim to a 15-5 Texas A&M run late in the stanza as it lost control down the stretch. It shot an impressive 46.9 percent from the field on the evening, but the Aggies were even better at 55 percent, and losing the turnover battle (17-11) didn't help matters either. Brenton Williams shot just 3-of-10 from the field but made all six of his free-throw attempts on his way to 14 points, while Duane Notice finished with 12 points and five assists.
On the season, the Gamecocks rank near the bottom of the SEC in both scoring offense (70.1 ppg) and scoring defense (69.2 ppg). It also drains fewer than five 3-pointers per game, shoots an underwhelming 68.9 percent from the charity stripe and boasts a -0.4 turnover margin. Sindarius Thornwell (11.3 ppg), Williams (11.3 ppg) and Tyrone Johnson (11.2 ppg) are all duking it out for the team lead in scoring, while five others net between 5.7 and 6.7 ppg.
Despite owning the homecourt advantage in this matchup, South Carolina has yet to prove itself worthy against SEC competition. Expect the Rebels' outside shooting to get the best of the struggling Gamecocks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 78, South Carolina 72
01/18 10:28:17 ET