Men’s Hoops At No. 19 Mizzou Tuesday Night

Image Credit: South Carolina Athletics

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (3-3, 1-1 SEC) travels to face No. 19/19 Missouri (8-2, 2-2 SEC) on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. ET matchup vs. the Tigers. Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) will handle the call on the SEC Network, while Derek Scott (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (analyst) will be over the air on the Gamecock Sports Network. South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, who missed the LSU contest due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, was back at practice on Monday and will coach the Gamecocks at Mizzou.

GAME INFORMATION
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
Broadcast: SEC Network
Play-By-Play: Tom Hart
Analyst: Jon Sundvold
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
In Columbia: 107.5 The Game
Play-By-Play: Derek Scott
Analyst: Casey Manning
Sirius: – | XM: 383 | Internet: 973
Watch: WatchESPN/ESPN App
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
Mizzou Series: The series is tied, 6-6
In Columbia, Mo.: Mizzou leads 4-1
Series Trend: The teams have traded wins and losses in each of the last five meetings dating back to the 2016 campaign
Last Meeting: 76-54 South Carolina win on Feb. 1, 2020, in Columbia, S.C.

TIPOFF NOTABLES
> The Gamecocks continue SEC action on the road at No. 19/19 Missouri on Tuesday night. It will be a quick turnaround for the Gamecocks, who had the late game at LSU last Saturday.
> Carolina held a four-point lead at halftime of its matchup at LSU behind 18 first-half points from junior guard AJ Lawson, but, the Tigers out-scored the Gamecocks 51-42 in the second half to close the home win. Lawson finished with 22, his third-straight game with 20+, and junior forward Keyshawn Bryant scored a career high 26 in the loss.
> Entering action at Mizzou, Lawson leads the SEC and is 73rd nationally, averaging 2.67 made 3-pointers per contest. His 32.0 percent from beyond the arc is second in the league. For his career, Lawson is averaging 1.83 made 3-pointers per contest.
> R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard paces the Gamecocks with 22 assists on the year (3.7 per game) against just 11 turnovers, an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.0 which is third in the SEC. Couisnard has dished out at least three assists in five games this season.
> Due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, assistant coach Chuck Martin, and Doug Edwards, who handles student-athlete development for the team, did not travel with the team to Baton Rouge on Saturday. Assistant coach Bruce Shingler was the acting head coach for the matchup vs. the Tigers, along with assistant coach Will Bailey, video coordinator Brian Steele, and special assistant to the head coach John Reynolds.
> Carolina opened SEC play on Jan. 6 with a 78-54 win over visiting Texas A&M at Colonial Life Arena. Junior guard AJ Lawson scored a career high 30 points in the win, R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard added 15 points and sophomore forward Wildens Leveque scored a season high 10 points for the Gamecocks.
> Martin is 33-46 (.417) against ranked opponents as a head coach. His teams have four wins over opponents ranked in the top five, and two wins over opponents who are ranked No. 1.
> A pair of Gamecocks collected preseason honors from both the media and SEC coaches during the preseason. Junior guard AJ Lawson earned preseason All-SEC Second-Team accolades from the media, while Lawson (First Team) and Couisnard (Second Team) were honored by the SEC coaches on the preseason teams.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS
> Missouri is led by head coach Cuonzo Martin in his fourth season. Martin also previously coached in the SEC at Tennessee.
> The Tigers are 8-2 overall, and hold a 2-2 mark in SEC contests. At home, Mizzou is 4-1 this season, with its loss coming in its SEC opener vs. Tennessee.
> The Tigers are coming off a three-game road swing, which saw them capture league wins at Arkansas and at Texas A&M.
> Four average double figures for the Tigers, led by Xavier Pinson’s 14.0 per game. Dru Smith (11.7), Jeremiah Tilmon (11.3) and Mark Smith (11.0) are also in double figures for the year.
> Dru Smith is the SEC’s steals leader at 2.1 per game, which ranks 51st nationally.
> Mizzou is strong on the perimeter from a defensive standpoint, leading the SEC and ranking 13th nationally holding opponents to just 27.3 percent from 3.
> From the floor overall, Mizzou is second in the SEC and 36th nationally, holding opponents to just 39.4 percent.

GAMECOCK NOTES TO KNOW
> Head coach Frank Martin is in his ninth season leading the Gamecocks in 2020-21. He is joined by assistant coaches Will Bailey, Chuck Martin and Bruce Shingler, while Andy Assaley is the director of operations for the squad.
> Junior guard AJ Lawson is Carolina’s top returning scorer after pacing the team with 13.4 points per game last season. He averaged the same during his rookie campaign, and is just 95 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
> Five who started the majority of SEC games last season return to the court for Carolina. Lawson, sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard, who paced the team in league play at 12.1 points per game, junior forward Keyshawn Bryant, junior forward Justin Minaya (missed nine SEC games due to injury last season) and junior forward Alanzo Frink.
> South Carolina returns a core group from last season’s squad that finished the shortened campaign with an 18-13 overall record. The Gamecocks return three of their top five scorers, including Lawson (13.4 ppg), Couisnard (12.1 ppg) and junior forward Keyshawn Bryant (9.1 ppg). Junior forward Justin Minaya, who missed nine games last season due to injury, added 7.8 points per game in 2019-20.
> From last season, the biggest absence from the lineup will be graduated four-year starter Maik Kotsar. Kotsar had a career year, averaging 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while also leading the Gamecocks in blocks (1.1 per game) and steals at 1.5 per outing in 2019-20. Kotsar, who was a starter during his rookie season on Carolina’s 2017 Final Four squad, also played a team high 30.4 minutes per game a year ago.
> The Gamecocks posted a 78-71 win over Florida A&M on Jan. 2 in their home opener, using a 9-2 run over the final five minutes to secure the win. Junior guard AJ Lawson’s then-career high nine made field goals saw him post a team best 25 points in the win, sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard added 15, and junior forward Justin Minaya posted his first double-double of the season with 10 points and a team high 10 rebounds. The Gamecocks had nine players available for the contest.
> South Carolina returned to the court for the first time since Dec. 5 when it hosted Florida A&M on Jan. 2. The contest marked the Gamecocks’ first game in 28 days due to a combination of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the South Carolina program.
> The Gamecocks held a halftime lead on the road at No. 10 Houston (Dec. 5), however, the Cougars battled back in the second half and closed a 77-67 win. Junior forward Justin Minaya hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and led Carolina with 13 points in the loss.
> On Nov. 29, Carolina held Tulsa scoreless for 9+ minutes in the second half and used a 15-0 run to close a 69-58 win over the Golden Hurricane at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City. The win was Carolina’s first on the year, and improved the Gamecocks’ record to 1-1 after opening action in Kansas City with a 78-62 loss to Liberty (Nov. 28).
> Junior guard AJ Lawson was named to the Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament Team after a pair of double-figure scoring outings at the event. Lawson led the Gamecocks with 12 vs. Liberty, before a 17-point outing behind four 3s in the win over Tulsa. On the weekend, Lawson was 6-of-13 (46.2%) from range, while also dishing out three assists and collecting three steals.
> R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard led Carolina with 20 points in the win vs. Tulsa. It marked the third 20-point outing of his career. Dating back to the start of SEC play last season, he has now hit double-figures in 19 of his last 22 games.

BY THE NUMBERS
60.0% – R-sophomore guard TJ Moss has been strong on the offensive end to begin the season. He’s hit 6-of-10 attempts (60.0%) from the floor, 3-of-4 from 3-point range and he has dished out a total of six assists.
10 – The Gamecocks hit a season high 10 3-pointers in the win vs. Texas A&M on Jan. 6, with half of those on the career high performance of five by Jermaine Couisnard. Lawson added three, and Minaya hit a pair as well.
73.4% – South Carolina returns 73.4 percent of its scoring from last season, including leading scorer, junior guard AJ Lawson who averaged 13.4 points per game.
13 – Redshirt-junior forward Justin Minaya led the Gamecocks with a season high 13 points in the Dec. 5 matchup at Houston. Minaya was a combined 1-of-8 from 3 in the first two games of the season, but he was perfect from range vs. the Cougars, hitting all three of his attempts.
17 – The Gamecocks dished a then-season high 17 assists in the win vs. Texas A&M, led by five from R-junior forward Justin Minaya, which matched his career high.

GAMECOCKS ADD TRE-VAUGHN MINOTT
> Tre-Vaughn Minott, a freshman center from Montreal, has joined the Gamecocks and is immediately eligible for competition. Minott has been at the NBA Academy Latin America since Sept. 2019. During his time at the Academy, his squad competed at the National Prep School Invitational in Rhode Island and at The Skill Factory Tournament of Champions in Atlanta in 2020.

COOPER IMMEDIATELY ELIGIBLE FOR COMPETITION
> Sophomore guard Ford Cooper Jr. is immediately eligible to take the court for the Gamecocks this season after the NCAA Division I Council granted a blanket waiver allowing transfer student-athletes to compete immediately. Cooper transferred to Carolina after spending his freshman season at Missouri State, where he played in 27 games with five starts. His 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio in Missouri Valley Conference contests ranked third in the league. His top scoring output of the season came in a seven-point performance versus Evansville, and his five assists in a matchup at Drake marked a season-best. Cooper had 10 games with two or more assists last season as well.
> The Council granted a blanket waiver allowing immediate eligibility to student-athletes who meet certain criteria: the student-athlete must be enrolled full time at the school for the Fall 2020 term, it must be the first transfer from a four-year school, the student-athlete must have left their previous school in good standing academically and not facing disciplinary suspension, and both the head coach and student-athlete must certify that impermissible recruiting did not take place.

COMING UP NEXT
> The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena for a two-game homestand beginning this weekend with a matchup vs. Auburn. Tip time vs. the Tigers is set for Noon ET on ESPN/2 with Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (analyst) on the call.



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