Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Looking for a seventh straight win, the South Carolina Gamecocks will have quite the competition Saturday at the Barclays Center as they take on the ninth-ranked Iowa State Cyclones in non- conference action.
South Carolina will travel to Brooklyn riding a six-game win streak, with a most recent victory, 91-54, over North Carolina A&T sticking in the mind of the Gamecocks. USC owns an 8-3 record this season, but is 1-2 at neutral-site locations.
Iowa State, on the other hand, owns a seven-game win streak, and easily took down Mississippi Valley State, 83-33, in a 50-point demolition of the Southwestern Athletic Conference program last time out. The Cyclones will battle the Gamecocks in the team's final non-conference matchup of the season.
This contest will serve as the first-ever meeting between South Carolina and Iowa State on the basketball court.
The Gamecocks easily handled the Aggies on Tuesday, as South Carolina connected on 54.7 percent of its shot attempts, and held NC A&T to 32.7 percent shooting from the floor in the lopsided win. The Gamecocks added in a 28-of-34 mark from the free-throw line as well. Mindaugas Kacinas netted 16 points to lead the team in the win, while Laimonas Chatkevicius (14 points, nine rebounds), Duane Notice (13 points), Sindarius Thornwell, Demetrius Henry (10 points) and Tyrone Johnson (10 points) all chipped in with double-digit scoring efforts.
South Carolina has built up a pretty solid foundation this season, and is averaging a very respectable 74.5 ppg on 45.7 percent shooting from the field through 11 games. The team is also holding opponents to just 57.9 ppg and 33.7 percent shooting in the same frame. Notice tops the squad in scoring this season at 13.2 ppg, followed by Thornwell's 11.4 ppg and Chatkevicius's 10.7 ppg. Kacinas leads the Gamecocks in rebounding at 6.8 rpg, and Johnson adds in 44 assists to lead the team in that category.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg notched his 100th victory with the Cyclones in the team's dominant rout of the Delta Devils on Wednesday. There was virtually no shot for Mississippi Valley State anyway, but the Cyclones made sure to erase any confidence their opponents had early on. Iowa State shot 50.8 percent in the contest, and held MVSU to 24.1 percent shooting. Naz Long netted 24 points to lead the Cyclones, while Matt Thomas chipped in with 11 points and Jameel McKay added 10 with six rebounds.
The high-octane Cyclones are averaging a whopping 84.5 ppg this season, and are shooting 50.6 percent from the field as a team. On top of that, Iowa State is limiting opponents to 65.3 ppg in the same frame. Georges Niang leads a group of five players averaging double-digit scoring figures with 16.1 ppg. Bryce Dejean-Jones contributes 15.2 ppg (and a team-best 6.2 rpg), Long adds 13.8 ppg, Dustin Hogue chips in 11.0 ppg, and Monte Morris rounds out the group with 10.2 ppg. The Cyclones are a perfect 7-0 at home, but at neutral- site locations they are 2-1.