Struggling South Carolina takes on No. 1 Tar Heels

No. 1 North Carolina and South Carolina will take their border rivalry across the country to Las Vegas Friday night as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.

The Tar Heels (4-0) have been nothing short of dominant thus far, defeating their opponents by an average of over 20 points. On Tuesday, they scored 100 or more points for the second straight contest and shot a season-high 62.1 percent in their 102-69 rout of Tennessee State.

Two days earlier, North Carolina hammered Mississippi Valley State 101-79. The Gamecocks have met each of these teams as well in this tournament, but have not been near as fortunate, losing by one point to Tigers by one before edging the winless Delta Devils by four. The winner of this game will play USC or UNLV in Saturday’s title game.

In their win over Tennessee State, the Tar Heels made 11-of-18 3-pointers after shooting 28.9 percent from beyond the arc over their first three games. Struggling sophomore guard Reggie Bullock broke out of his early-season shooting slump as he hit 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. Fellow guard Kendall Marshall had 15 assists in the game and is second in the country with 10.75 assists per game.

The Gamecocks (2-2) used a 22-7 run over the final 6:36 against Mississippi Valley State to rally from an11-point deficit. South Carolina has won the rebounding battle in each of its four games so far, but has been one of the worst 3-point shooting team in the country to this point, hitting a miserable 25.3 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc.

These teams have not met since the 1996-97 season, with North Carolina holding a 57-21 edge in the series.

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