via UofSC and Clemson Atheltic Communications
South Carolina returns to the court following a week-long break from game action due to exams when it travels to face Clemson in the Upstate on Sunday. The non-conference matchup vs. the Tigers marks Carolina's fourth game away from home this season and it's second true road contest.
Sunday's contest marks the 170th meeting all-time between the Gamecocks and Tigers. The series dates back to a 39-18 Carolina win on Feb. 6, 1913, in Columbia.
The matchup is also part of the Palmetto Series, which Carolina currently leads 5-4. Throughout the year, and as Carolina and Clemson compete against each other, each will earn points for a win and the overall winner will take home the coveted Palmetto Series trophy.
The Gamecocks most recently suffered a home loss to Houston on Dec. 8. The Carolina offense hit just 32.3 percent from the field, and the Cougars claimed the road win. Senior forward Maik Kotsar led Carolina with 12 points, and sophomore guard AJ Lawson added 10 in the loss.
Carolina hit six 3s vs. Houston, it's highest output from beyond the arc since hitting 7-of-19 attempts from range vs. Northern Iowa.
The Gamecocks are 1-0 on the road this season, and are 23-33 (41.0%) in road contests dating back to the 2014-15 campaign.
According to KenPom.com, the Gamecocks are one of the least experienced teams in the nation, ranking 328th in KenPom.com computations. This is determined using eligibility class weighted by minutes played. Another stat of note, offensively, Carolina is 25th in average possession length at 15.4 while its opponents are 321st at 18.3.
THROUGH 10 GAMES...
Sophomore guard AJ Lawson paces the Gamecocks with 15.9 points per game, and he is also dishing 2.7 assists per outing.
Senior forward Maik Kotsar has scored 100 points through the first 10 games, 10.0 points per outing. His 6.1 rebounds per game lead the team and rank 15th in the SEC.
The Gamecocks are holding opponents to just 38.8 percent from the floor, which ranks fifth in the SEC and 56th nationally.
Carolina has dished at least 13 assists in nine games.
R-freshman guard Jermaine Couisnard paces the Gamecocks with 2.8 assists per game. He is also solid at the charity stripe, having hit 14-of-17 attempts - 82.4% - thus far.
Carolina has held its opponent to less than 40 percent from the field on five occassions, including holding Wyoming to 23.1 percent and only nine made field goals.
Sophomore forward Alanzo Frink has hit a team best 63.8 percent (30-47) of his shot attempts.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP FROM KOTSAR
Senior forward Maik Kotsar has played great basketball to start the season. Kotsar is such a strong component for the Gamecocks on the defensive end, but of late, his offense and rebounding have been key.
Kotsar recently scored in double figures in a career-best five-straight contests, starting with 14 points vs. Boston U (Nov. 19). He scored 11 points vs. Gardner-Webb (Nov. 22), before leading the Gamecocks with 12 points, three assists, two blocks and three steals, while also pulling down seven rebounds vs. Wichita State (Nov. 26), and he was strong again vs. UNI (Nov. 27), scoring 12 with two blocks, en route to Cancun Challenge All-Tournament Team honors.
Kotsar returned to Columbia to pace Carolina with 17 points, nine rebounds and another two-block performance in the home win over George Washington (Dec. 1). He was near perfect from the field, hitting 8-of-9 attempts from the floor, and he also collected Carolina's only steal in the game vs. the Colonials.
Kotsar also led the Gamecocks with 35.4 minutes per game during the stretch.
Kotsar snapped his double-figure streak at UMass, however, he scored nine points, pulled down a team high nine rebounds, dished five assists and had three steals in 27 minutes of action. He also collected a crucial lose ball late in the contest on the defensive end.
With a 12-point performance vs. Houston, Kotsar tallied his sixth game this season in double-figures (five games in double-figures last season).
South Carolina holds a 90-79 lead in the series, but Clemson has held a 37-18 upperhand since the Gamecocks left the Atlantic Coast Conference following the 1971-72 season.
Since the Gamecocks’ departure from the ACC, Clemson has had three separate winning streaks of at least six games in the series, most recently from 2004-10.
In its last nine games against members of the Southeastern Conference the Tigers are 8-1, including 3-0 against South Carolina.
Tevin Mack led the Tigers in scoring for the third time this season with his eighth double-digit scoring game of 2019-20. Mack scored 11-straight points in the second half against the Seminoles. The 11 points were a new season-high for Mack who previously had scored nine in a row.
Al-Amir Dawes finished with 13 points – his fourth double-digit scoring game of the season.
Jonathan Baehre made his Clemson debut against Florida State. Baehre transferred to Clemson from UNC Asheville during the 2018 offseason and sat out the 2018-19 season due to transfer rules.
Baehre tore his ACL on May 21, 2019, missing the 2019 World University Games and the first eight games of the season, but committed to his rehab was medically cleared by the athletic training staff last week.
Prior to playing against the Seminoles, Baehre had not played a college game since March 13, 2018. He posted 28 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in a UNC Asheville NIT loss at USC.
The Tigers hosted its Annual Tiger Wonderland event on Thursday. The team and staff invited underprivileged kids from local communities to Littlejohn Coliseum for a night of fun, games, food, snacks and presents.
MACK: A PURE SCORER FOR THE TIGERS
Tevin Mack opened the season with seven-straight double-digit scoring games.
Seven games in a row in double-figures set a new career-high. He previously scored in double figures in six-straight games from Nov. 29-Dec. 21, 2016 while at Texas.
The performance against Colorado marked Mack’s 39th career double-digit scoring game.
While his 22-point game against TCU was his first 20-point game of the season, it was his 8th career 20-point outing.
Mack currently leads the Tigers with 13.8 points per game, shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from long range in the process.
Mack is one of three double-digit scorers on average for Clemson.
In the championship game against Colorado in Las Vegas, Mack garnered his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The 10 rebounds are the second-most in a single game for Mack in his career.
It marked Mack’s second career double-double as he posted 20 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes against Arkansas on Dec. 17, 2016 while at Texas.