The South Carolina Gamecocks are going to the first Sweet 16 in school history after a miraculous comeback against Duke.
It all started in the first half when South Carolina saw themselves in a 30-23 hole. Neither offense was pretty until they came out of the locker room, and the Gamecocks absolutely torched the Blue Devils in the second half. They did the same thing to Marquette in the first round after dropping 54 points to complete the comeback. This time, however, there was far more explosion.
After a sixty-five point second half, the Gamecocks punched their ticket to face the Baylor Bears at Madison Square Garden. It’ll be the first meeting between the two since 2014, a matchup that Baylor barely won with a 69-65 final.
Sindarius Thornwell led all scorers with 24 points, and he continuously attacked Duke for the length of his minutes. By night’s end, he was just 6-of-14 from the floor but more than made up for it by going 9-of-12 from the line. Sophomore Chris Silva also had a huge night and tallied his fourth double-double of the year after dumping in 17 points and grabbing 10 boards; Duane Notice (17), Rakym Felder (15) and P.J. Dozier (11) were the three other double-digit scorers for Carolina.
On Duke’s side, Grayson Allen led with 20 points, and Luke Kennard was surprisingly held in check. The All-American finished with just 11 points on a paltry 1-of-6 from the field before fouling out in just 28 minutes of play. Fortunately, he wasn’t the only one to get DQ’d, and Jayson Tatum and Matt Jones also found their ways to the bench before the final buzzer.
Just for good measure, Dozier and Maik Kotsar also picked up five personals on South Carolina’s side.
This tournament is the Blue Devils’ earliest exit since (14) Mercer beat them back in 2014, and that was two years after Lehigh had pulled off one of the most miraculous upsets in college basketball history when they dropped them as the 15-seed.
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