Playing in their home state, seventh-seeded South Carolina pulled off a stunner Sunday, defeating Grayson Allen and No. 2 seed Duke, 88-81, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.
Sindarius Thornwell had 24 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Gamecocks, who made sure their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2004 was a memorable one. Chris Silva added 17 points and 10 rebounds for South Carolina, which advances to play No. 3 seed Baylor on Friday at Madison Square Garden.
“Us seniors call this the Farewell Tour and we don’t want the tour to end,” Thornwell told CBS’s Lewis Johnson after the win.
The Gamecocks shot 21 percent in the first half, but erased a seven-point halftime deficit by shooting better than 70 percent in the second half. They had the crowd behind them. After watching North Carolina hold off Arkansas in the first game of the night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Tar Heels fans joined South Carolina fans in a favorite pastime: rooting against Duke.
The Blue Devils cut the Gamecocks’ lead to five in the final minute, South Carolina iced the game at the free throw line. Allen led Duke with 20 points, while Amile Jefferson had 14 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.