South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Florida A&M Rattlers Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 30th 2023

Having already equaled last season’s win total, South Carolina will try to finish its nonconference schedule with another victory when the Gamecocks face Florida A&M on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.

Victors in four straight contests, coach Lamont Paris’ group has crafted an 11-1 mark for the fourth time in school history.

South Carolina’s eight-game home winning streak is its best showing since racking up 13 in a row in the 2015-16 season, a year before its most recent NCAA Tournament appearance.

Times appear to have changed under Paris, who went 11-21 in his first season in South Carolina’s capital.

The Gamecocks’ lone stumble to date was a 72-67 loss at then-No. 24 Clemson on Dec. 6.

While it has not bested a ranked team, South Carolina owns wins over the ACC’s Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

“We’ve won games when we made 18 3s (and) we’ve won when we held a team to 43 (points),” Paris said. “We’ve won games without our leading scorer. So we find a lot of different ways to win.

“That’s impressive and encouraging to me.”

Four of five starters score in double figures, with team leader Meechie Johnson netting 18.3 points per game. B.J. Mack (14.4), Myles Stute (10.2) and Ta’Lon Cooper (10.1) add support.

Meanwhile, the season for the Rattlers (2-8) has been defined by streaks — five straight losses to open the season, consecutive wins over Presbyterian and LeMoyne-Owen and a current three-game skid.

But Keith Lamar, a transfer from South Georgia State, has emerged as a leader for coach Robert McCullum.

The 6-foot-6 senior forward netted 27 points in a defeat two weeks ago to Iowa State, just a hoop off his season high of 29 in a loss to Albany State on Nov. 29.

“He has the ability to get the rebound and start the break himself.” McCullum said of Lamar, who tops the group in points (14.4), rebounding (6.6) and steals (1.3). “And the more players you have that can do that, it should make your transition game a lot more effective, a lot more efficient, a lot more productive.”

–Field Level Media

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