Gamecocks seek first SEC win against Crimson Tide

South Carolina continues its search for ts first Southeastern Conference victory of the season when Alabama visits the Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday night.

The Gamecocks (8-10 overall, 0-4 SEC) suffered a 63-52 loss at Auburn on Saturday. The Gamecocks held a 28-24 lead at halftime, but poor shooting until the later part of the second half and 23 turnovers in the contest saw the Gamecocks drop the road contest.

Auburn scored 28 points off of South Carolina turnovers. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris blocked a career high six shots in the game.

South Carolina sophomore guard Bruce Ellington paces the Gamecocks with 13.5 points per game in SEC play. He is averaging 44.6 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from 3-point range over the course of his last six games. During the stretch he paces the Gamecocks with 13.3 points per game.

The Gamecocks have out-rebounded 12 of 18 opponents this season, including North Carolina and Kentucky. Senior forward Malik Cooke ranks third in the SEC (all games) with 1.9 steals per game.

South Carolina ranks fifth in the SEC and among the nation’s top 35 with 5.1 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Damontre Harris ranks among the top 40 with 2.2 blocks per game.

In games it has won in 2011-12, South Carolina holds a +13.1 scoring margin over its opponents. To compare, in games it has lost, Gamecock opponents score 10.1 more points per game.

Four of South Carolina’s first five opponents in league play have an RPI that ranks in the nation’s top 40: Kentucky (5), Alabama (29), Vanderbilt (30) and Florida (36).

Alabama enters Wednesday’s contest with a 13-6 overall record, including a 2-3 mark in league play. Wednesday’s contest marks the fourth on the road in SEC play for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama most recently suffered a 77-71 loss at No. 2 Kentucky on Saturday. Senior forward JaMychal Green paces three averaging double-figure points with 14.2 per contest, including 11.8 per game in league play.

Alabama is 2-4 in road games this season, with wins at Georgia Tech and at Georgia. The Tide leads the SEC in scoring defense, as opponents average just 57.5 points per game.

Alabama leads the all-time series 22-12, while the Gamecocks hold an 8-6 advantage in games played in Columbia. The Crimson Tide has won three-straight in the series, including a 79-70 win on March 3, 2010, in the last meeting in Columbia. Alabama has won six of the last 10 meetings.

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