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South Carolina men open play in Puerto Rico Tip-Off Challenge; women take on Clemson

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A couple of fun basketball games are on the docket for today.

Nov 13, 2017; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard David Beatty (0) takes the ball from Western Michigan Broncos guard Bryce Moore (0) in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina vs. Illinois State

Start time: 11:30 a.m.

TV: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN.com

Radio: 107.5 The Game (Columbia)

Live Audio: Gamecock IMG Sports Network

Last game

South Carolina got off to a bit of a slow start, but pulled away to top Western Michigan, 78-60, in its home opener. The Gamecocks were paced by Hassani Gravett’s 15 points and Chris Silva’s double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). South Carolina saw a balanced contribution from the rest of its starters as well: Frank Booker added 14 points, and Maik Kotsar chipped in 10.

What to watch for

This is an unbracketed game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Challenge, which was moved to Myrtle Beach after hurricane damage.

Illinois State went 28-7 last season, tying for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings, and picked up a win in the NIT against UC Irvine before UCF ended its year. The Redbirds, picked to finish fourth out of 10 MVC teams, have played just one game so far, a 98-87 loss on the road to Florida Gulf Coast. Guard Keyshawn Evans and forward Phil Fayne, a second-team All-MVC preseason selection, scored 20 points each against the Eagles, with Evans making seven of his 13 3-point attempts.

The Gamecocks will face either Boise State or UTEP in the next round.


No. 4 South Carolina at Clemson

Start time: 7 p.m.

TV: ACC Network Extra (available via WatchESPN.com)

Radio: 107.5 The Game (Columbia)

Live Audio: Gamecock IMG Sports Network

Last game

The Gamecocks grabbed a nice road win against No. 15 Maryland, 94-86. South Carolina was powered by A’ja Wilson’s dominant double-double (32 points, 12 rebounds), and thanks largely to the heroics of Ty Harris, bowed up to seal the victory after letting a large lead dwindle. It was perhaps a stiffer test than expected, but one the Gamecocks nonetheless passed.

What to watch for

This is a nice appetizer leading up to Carolina-Clemson on the gridiron. The Tigers are 2-0 on the season, having defeated Kennesaw State (41-28) and S.C. State (56-48). Post player Kobi Thornton, an All-ACC Freshman selection last season, is Clemson’s leading scorer with 12 points per game. Point guard Danielle Edwards is right behind her with 11.5, and also has a knack for steals — she notched nine alone against S.C. State. The Tigers are a defensive-oriented team, and held both of their opponents below 25% shooting from the floor.

Clemson, which went 15-16 last season, was picked to finish 13th in the ACC (out of 15, since Notre Dame is included). The Gamecocks are on a seven-game winning streak against the Tigers, and should be considered the overwhelming favorites in this matchup.

Of note

Senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore, who has not played yet this season because of a balky knee, will continue to sit out against the Tigers.