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Game preview: Gamecock men face stiff road test at Virginia

The competition heats up right before Christmas break.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (7-4) at No. 9 Virginia (9-1)

Start time: 3 p.m.


Radio: 107.5 The Game

Last game

The Gamecocks finally broke through against Clemson, snapping a three-game losing streak in the rivalry series and giving fans a holiday treat with a 67-54 road victory. A.J. Lawson was the star of the show in this one, putting up 20 points with Maik Kotsar (11) and Jair Bolden (10) joining him in double figures. The Gamecocks cranked up the defensive intensity, holding Clemson to a 28% shooting performance and keeping the Tigers without a basket for the final 7 minutes of the contest.

What to watch for

This is South Carolina’s first game against a ranked opponent this season, and is the other half of a home-and-home the two programs started last year (in that one, No. 2 UVA handled the Gamecocks 69-52). Virginia’s lone loss this season came in a 69-40 whipping from Purdue, but otherwise, the Cavaliers have been dominant themselves — they’re off to a 2-0 ACC start, notching wins over North Carolina and Syracuse. As is typical of the sluggish Hoos, they’ve yet to reach 70 points in a game this year, with Mamadi Diakite pacing them with 13.2 per game, and only two opponents have scored 55 or more. South Carolina has played well on the road this year, so let’s see how they stack up.