Marines Chin-Up Challenge

If you’re coming to the men’s basketball game, stop by the U.S. Marines display near the College Street entrance to participate in the Chin-Up Challenge. The contest will be available at tonight’s game vs. Florida, next Saturday’s game against Tennessee and the March 3rd contest against Alabama.

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Top of the Key: MBB vs. Florida

The Gamecocks will host the Florida Gators this Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network (Channel 806 – Time Warner Cable, Columbia) with Dave Neal and Mark Gottfried on the call. Fans can also listen to Andy Demetra and Casey Manning on the Gamecock ISP Sports Network across the state.

South Carolina (13-9, 4-4) Notes

  • South Carolina is 10-2 in games played at Colonial Life Arena this season, scoring 80.0 points per game in those contests.
  • The Gamecocks are 3-1 in conference home games this season with wins over LSU, then-No.1 Kentucky and Georgia.
  • Devan Downey’s 3.0 steals per game lead the league and rank second in the nation (as of Feb. 8 NCAA stats)
  • In January’s contest in Gainesville, Downey dropped 36 on the Gators and has averaged 34.5 ppg against UF in the last two meetings
  • At the Colonial Life Arena in 2009, South Carolina defeated the Gators, 70-69, on a buzzer-beater layup made by Zam Fredrick.
  • Over the last 3 seasons, no game between UF and South Carolina has only been decided by more than 4 points, and 9 of the last 11 meetings between the two have been decided by six points.

Florida  (17-6, 6-3) Notes

  • Florida holds a 36-20 advantage in the all-time series with South Carolina, including a 17-12 upper hand in games played in Columbia
  • Chandler Parsons’ buzzer-beater 3 gave Florida a 58-56 win in the first meeting this season between the two schools just two weeks ago
  • Florida has won the last 10 match-ups between the two SEC East rivals
  • The Gators have been much more effective closing out games, and after last Thursday’s 66-65 win at Alabama, are 5-3 in games decided by 5 points or less
  • Chandler Parsons had his third double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 18 points and 12 boards against Mississippi State. He leads UF in rebounding in SEC play at 7.4 per game, including a team-high 22 offensive rebounds

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Know a Gamecock: P.J. Fulmer

Softball season starts on Friday as the Gamecocks host College of Charleston at Beckham Field at 5 p.m. so today’s Know a Gamecock features Gamecock junior catcher P.J. Fulmer. A sport and entertainment major from Blythewood, Fulmer started 30 games behind the plate last season for South Carolina.

What is a talent you would like to have?

I would love to be able to sing or dance. You always see those kids at school, like you were automatically popular if you could dance or sing…do a back flip or something like that.

Name two people you would like to hang out with.

I’d love to hang out with Pudge Rodriguez. Pudge is my favorite baseball player ever, and I don’t know, maybe Eva Longoria.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is just something with sports. That’s one of the only things that really just keeps me interested all the time. I’m always watching Sports Center. I mean, it would be cool to work with ESPN, but I don’t want to be the media or a journalist.

What is your personal motto?

Work hard. Everyday. Like it’s your last. I mean, everything in life is going to happen for a reason, you just have to work for it.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

Before every game Audrey and I always go up to the bullpen, even if she’s not pitching that game or warming up. I’ll stand on the home plate with my feet on both sides, and we play…I don’t even know what it’s called…but it’s like slap-hands, and you do it five times through. If we win, we do that again, if we don’t, we change the number.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you would have with you?

My cell phone, a bunch of food, and probably a TV; I need some sort of entertainment. If I could bring a friend instead of a TV, that might work too.

What is the last song you heard on your ipod?

Probably some Britney Spears song, I think. I think “I’m a Slave for You” is the last thing that came on; I was walking to class.

What is your greatest fear?

Heights. I cry on roller coasters.

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Friends of the Program No. 5 Available

The latest edition of Andy Demetra’s Friends of the Program podcast is available on the Gamecock iTunes store. Andy speaks with Carter Blackburn from ESPN and the SEC Network. Courtside Confidential is with Gamecock Austin Steed. Click here to download.

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Halftime Act Preview: Red Panda

The halftime act for tonight’s men’s basketball game and tomorrow’s women’s basketball game will be Red Panda. Check out this YouTube clip for a preview:

Tickets are still available for both games – visit GamecocksOnline.com or call 800-4SC-FANS.

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Valerie Nainima Feature Story

Ron Morris of The State has a great feature story on women’s basketball junior guard Valerie Nainima in today’s paper. Click here to read “USC’s Nainima develops into star.”

Now Nainima is helping lead the resurgence of the women’s program at USC. She leads the team in several categories: scoring (17.7 ppg.), minutes played per game (34.7), 3-pointers (69), assists (68) and free-throw shooting (79.2 percent).

She launches 3-pointers with a picture-perfect jump shot, and she is fearless in her drives to the basket. Her ball-handling skills allow her to slide into the point-guard position when needed, and her defensive prowess is as strong as anyone on the team.

Beyond all that, Nainima (pronounced Nye-KNEE-muh) possesses a work ethic that has transformed her from a “little chubby girl” recruit in Fiji to potentially the best player Staley has coached.

“She really is a coach’s dream,” Staley says.

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The Week Ahead for the Garnet and Black

Monday

6 p.m. – The Dawn Staley Show – watch the replay of Coach Staley’s show on SportSouth.

7 p.m. – Inside the Roost on 107.5 FM at as host Derek Scott and Athletics Director Eric Hyman discuss issues related to Gamecock Athletics from Staybridges Suites on Huger Street in Columbia. Tonight’s show features former Gamecock wide receiver Kenny McKinley.  Football assistant coach Shane Beamer will also be on the show later to discuss the incoming 2010 class of Gamecocks.

Tuesday

2 p.m. – Men’s Tennis matches up against North Carolina State at the USC Field House in Columbia, SC

5 p.m. – The Darrin Horn Show – watch the replay of Coach Horn’s show on SportSouth. 

Wednesday

8 p.m. – Men’s Basketball looks to knock off the Florida Gators at home in the Colonial Life Arena. Tickets are still available – call 800-4SC-FANS, visit GamecocksOnline.com or stop by the Colonial Life Arena box office.

Thursday

7 p.m. – Women’s Basketball will host Mississippi State at the Colonial Life Arena. To order tickets, call 800-4SC-FANS, visit GamecocksOnline.com or stop by the Colonial Life Arena box office.

7 p.m. Carolina Calls with Coach Horn at Wild Wings in the Vista. Listen live on the Gamecock ISP Sports Network.

Friday

5 p.m.Softball takes on College of Charleston at Beckham Field. Reserve a chairback season ticket for the entire season for just $25 – order on GamecocksOnline.com or call 800-4SC-FANS.

All DayTrack will compete in the Tyson Invitational held in Fayetteville, Ark.

All DayTrack will compete in the Tiger Paw Invitational  held in Clemson, S.C.

Saturday

10 a.m.Women’s Equestrian (Western) takes on Ohio State in Blythewood, S.C.

10 a.m.Women’s Equestrian (Hunter Seat) travels to Dallas, Texas to compete vs. SMU.

2 p.m.Softball takes on Furman at Beckham Field.

4 p.m. – Men’s Basketball travels to Athens, GA to face the Georgia Bulldogs. The game will be televised

All DayTrack will travel to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete in the Tyson Invitational

All DayTrack will travel to Clemson, S.C. to compete in the Tiger Paw Invitational

Sunday

11 a.m. – The Dawn Staley Show – watch the latest episode on SportSouth.

11:30 a.m. – The Darrin Horn Show – watch the latest episode on SportSouth.

12 p.m. – Softball hosts Winthrop at Beckham Field.

1 p.m. – Men’s Tennis matches up against Elon at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C.

3 p.m. – Women’s Basketball will host Arkansas at the Colonial Life Arena. The team will wear pink uniforms as part of the annual Pink Zone game to promote awareness for breast cancer research.

4 p.m. – Softball hosts Charleston Southern at Beckham Field.

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