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February 3, 2014

Martin: We're excited for who we are

As losses go, Saturday's setback at Ole Miss in which South Carolina (8-13, 1-7) blew a double-digit lead in the final minutes was one that could sting for a long, long time.

Unless you're Frank Martin, that is. Or his team. Or anyone around it.

"We don't ride the emotional roller coaster that people who are not in practice every day ride," Martin said during the Monday SEC teleconference when asked about his team's mood following the 75-71 loss in Oxford. "When the game's over we're all mad, because we didn't win. But that doesn't stick in our system.

"It's not who we are or who we pretend to be. We don't do that, in the same way we didn't kind of relax and throw a party after we won our first league game last Wednesday. When you invest, and you don't win, it breaks your heart. But then again you understand how hard it is to win and you respect that and you get excited and get another opportunity to practice so you can compete another day. That's where the focus is at."

With Auburn coming to town Wednesday, what looked like a reprieve from a tough schedule suddenly looms as a challenge. Also winless through its first six conference games, the Tigers come to town one game ahead of the Gamecocks in the SEC standings and riding the confidence of a two-game winning streak.

Auburn defeated Georgia 74-67 on Saturday following a 74-55 dismantling of Alabama on Thursday in which guards Chris Denson scored 32 points and KT Harrell scored 23. Against the Bulldogs, Auburn shone offensively as well, with five players in double figures, including 18 from Denson and 16 from Harrell.

Still, the Tigers are winless on the road this season in five tries, and the chance to rebound from a tough loss in Mississippi is at the top of Martin's agenda.

"We're as excited as can be for the growth of our team, for the way our guys are playing," Martin said. "Another great opportunity against Auburn, who is playing real well. A lot like us, a team that's played real well and probably doesn't have as many wins as it deserves because of the strength of our league.

"But they're coming off back-to-back wins, so it's going to be a great opportunity for us but once again a hard, hard challenge.

"We're excited for who we are and where we're headed."



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