South Carolina (5-0) vs. Lipscomb (3-4)
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What a wonderful time of the year for Frank Martin's program. His bunch spent a week in paradise, dismantling three opponents on their way to the 2015 Paradise Jam Championship. The Gamecocks trailed for just 36 seconds in their three games in St. Thomas. South Carolina received a much needed break after the chaotic tournament atmosphere, even getting their Thanksgiving holiday off.
The Lipscomb Bisons enter Colonial Life Arena on Black Friday as USC looks to extend its record to 6-0. They picked up three wins in last week's tournament, ultimately beating Tulsa 83-75 in the Paradise Jam's championship game.
For the second consecutive game the Gamecocks had five players in double-figures and shot 50 percent or better from the field. Senior Laimonas Chatkevicius led South Carolina in scoring with a game-high 17 points in the tournament's finale. Chatkevicius and fellow seniors Mindaugas Kacinas and Michael Carrera combine to average 41 points per game so far this season. Kacinas and junior wing Sindarius Thornwell were named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament team as Thornwell was also named the event's Most Valuable Player.
Friday's game against Lipscomb marks the Gamecocks fifth game in the last 14 days. The Bison are coming off an early season tournament of their own. They finished with a 1-2 mark in three games during the Men Against Breast Cancer Challenge, winning their finale against Florida Atlantic. Similar to a foe from St. Thomas, Lipscomb is like Hofstra with their three-point shooting. The Bison lead the NCAA with 185 three-point attempts, which is about 26 attempts per game. They shoot a solid 34.4 percent so far this season on those attempts.
Lipscomb is led by three players averaging over double-figures - J.C. Hampton (14.9), Josh Williams (11.3) and Nathan Moran (11.0). The Bison also dish out the most assists per game (17.6), led by Moran's 5.0 dimes per game.
South Carolina has led all five of its games at halftime this season by an average of nearly seven points. A 6-0 start would be USC's best start since 2003-04, when the Gamecocks began the year 8-0.