After sitting idle for more than a week, South Carolina returns to action on Monday when it travels to Florida International. The Gamecocks have been off since Nov. 19 after taking part in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament that was played in nearby Conway, S.C.
Coming off the program’s first ever trip to the Final Four last season, South Carolina is looking for a new identity after losing three starters. Through the first five games of the season, the Gamecocks are getting 44.4 points per game from newcomers - accounting for 59.2 percent the offense. Graduate transfer Frank Booker leads the group of incoming players at 10.8 points per game while freshman starting forward Justin Minaya is chipping in 8.6 points. The Gamecocks, who are averaging 75 points per game, will face a Panthers defense that is limiting opponents to 41 percent shooting from the floor.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (4-1): Junior forward Chris Silva, one of two returning starters for the Gamecocks, has picked up right where he left off last season. Silva leads South Carolina in scoring (11.6), rebounds (7.6), blocks (1.6) and field goal percentage (50 percent). He has reached double digits in scoring each of the past four games.
ABOUT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (2-3): Sophomore transfer Trejon Jacob has emerged as the top scoring threat for the Panthers in his first season of Division I play. The 6-5 Jacob is second on the team in scoring behind junior guard Eric Lockett (16.4) at 15.4 points per game and is coming off a 23-point performance against Concordia-St. Paul. Jacob has hit double figures in all five games this season.
1. The Gamecocks have had at least four players score 10 or more points four times in the opening five games.
2. Since the 2015-16 season, South Carolina has a record of 25-13 in games played away from home - including neutral-site games.
3. South Carolina coach Frank Martin, a graduate of FIU, makes his first visit back to Miami to face his alma mater. FIU has played twice at South Carolina during Martin’s tenure.
PREDICTION: South Carolina 82, FIU 67