South Carolina hosts in-state rival Clemson on Saturday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks will be looking for their third straight win in the series.
Frank Martin gets his first taste if the rivalry Sunday.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012
Tipoff: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: South Carolina leads 88-74
South Carolina will host Clemson on Sunday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks are coming off a loss to St.John’s on Thursday night as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge and will look to rebound against the Tigers who they have defeated the past two seasons.
The Gamecock football program knocked off the Tigers last weekend for a fourth straight win in the rivalry. The win brought happiness to Gamecock fans and basketball head coach Frank Martin understands the importance of keeping the fan base in high spirits with wins over the Tigers.
“I needed to understand that before I accepted the job,” Martin said. “It’s clear as day, that is part of the job description at South Carolina is that you beat Clemson.”
Even though Martin understands the importance of the rivalry game he has taken the same approach with his basketball team that Steve Spurrier has taken with the Gamecock football program. That is that you prepare for each opponent the same way and that all games are of equal importance.
"I think they're all big games," Martin said. "The only time it's a big game in a season, is when you know that if you lose, the season's over. But, from the understanding how important this game is, to the people of South Carolina, it's very important that we comprehend how important it is that we perform well and play the game the right way.
Last season, the Gamecocks defeated the Tigers behind nine points from Bruce Ellington who was returning from his football experience. The same situation is in play on Sunday as Ellington is fresh off a second win in football and still trying to get his basketball legs under him.
In the Thursday night loss to St.John’s, Ellington played 29 minutes and finished with seven points making three of his 10 shot attempts. It is unknown whether the junior point guard will start but he will be looking to stay undefeated and pick up his fifth win over the Tigers which is something he has taken pride in.
“I always want to beat Clemson,” Ellington said. “But I am just trying to go in there and try and get a win.”
Junior Brenton Williams who suffered a neck injury on Thursday in the game against St. John’s, has been cleared to play. Williams was taken to the hospital but was released and returned home with the team.