South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Elon University Phoenix Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 22nd 2023

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South Carolina is looking to improve on its best start since the 2015-16 season when it meets Elon on Friday in the Gamecocks’ final game before Christmas.

Winners of three in a row, the Gamecocks are off to their fifth 10-1 start in program history and are 7-0 at home against non-conference opponents.

The Phoenix (6-5) are back in action for the first time since last Friday when they rolled to a 104-70 win over Bridgewater.

South Carolina won 72-62 over Winthrop on Tuesday behind 20 points from Meechie Johnson.

Success isn’t something easy to achieve in college basketball, and second-year head coach Lamont Paris understands as much.

“Winning a basketball game is hard. It’s not easy,” Paris told reporters after Tuesday’s win. “And so, this (game against Winthrop) was a perfect example of it. It’s hard to try to stack some (wins) together. It’s difficult. And I’m reminded of it every time I look around the landscape of college basketball.

Johnson has played a pivotal role in the impressive start, averaging 18.3 points per game. Tuesday’s game marked his fifth 20-point effort of the campaign.

B.J. Mack is also in double figures in scoring average (14.9) for a team putting up 74.3 points per game as a team while allowing only 65 per game.

Nick Dorn leads Elon in scoring and is coming off a season-best 25-point performance against Bridgewater.

Dorn is one of four players averaging 10 or more points per game, putting 10.7 points per outing. TK Simpkins is the leading scorer at 13.2 points per game.

Preseason All-CAA pick Max Mackinnon (11.5) and Rob Higgins (10.3) are also averaging in double figures for the Phoenix.

One thing the Phoenix are looking for is being better with their inside-outside game. Elon is hitting at a 38.3 percent clip on the year from beyond the arc.

“Balance is what we’re looking for,” Elon head coach Billy Taylor told the Elon News Network. “Paint production as well as being able to make our threes from the perimeter.”

The teams have split four previous meetings. Elon won the last two matchups, including a 65-53 triumph on Nov. 11, 2012 at South Carolina.

–Field Level Media

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