With just over nine minutes left in the second half of South Carolina’s game against Marquette on Friday, the score was 68-65, in the Gamecocks’ favor. That’s worth mentioning because the final score was 93-73, in the Gamecocks’ favor.
Fueled by a home-state crowd and a hunger to notch the program’s first tournament win since 1973, South Carolina ended the game on a 25-8 run. The Gamecocks, seeded seventh in the East region, move on to a matchup Sunday with second-seeded Duke.
South Carolina’s star player, senior Sindarius Thornwell, led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting, and he added 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Sophomore PJ Dozier chipped in with 21 points, as the Gamecocks made 36 of 68 shots.
No. 10 seed Marquette had taken a one-point halftime lead, scoring 40 points against one of the nation’s best defenses, largely on the strength of eight-of-16 three-point shooting. However, the Golden Eagles hit just 3 of 13 three-pointers in the second half as the Gamecocks’ perimeter defense began to take effect.
Frank Martin joined Frank McGuire as the only men’s basketball coaches to lead South Carolina to a tournament win. The school was making its first appearance since 2004 and just its fifth since 1974.
The game was played in Greenville, S.C., after the NCAA moved its tournament games out of North Carolina following that state’s passage of anti-LGBT legislation. The Gamecocks produced regular roars from the crowd at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and they can expect even louder support when they take on the Blue Devils.