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South Carolina Upsets Duke, Advances To Sweet Sixteen

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The Duke University men’s basketball team had been picked on 87% of ESPN’s Tournament Challenge brackets to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, but the University of South Carolina had other plans in mind on Sunday night, about 100 miles from campus, in Greenville, SC.

With 12:03 left in the second half, South Carolina guard PJ Dozier made a free throw to make the score 49-48 in favor of SC. They would never look back as the #7 Gamecocks completed their thrilling upset of the #2 Duke Blue Devils, 88-81. 

South Carolina will face #3 Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Baylor beat #11 University of Southern California earlier Sunday evening, 82-78. 

South Carolina was led by SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell. The senior scored 24 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-6 from behind the three-point arc. He also racked up six assists, five rebounds, and a steal. He led South Carolina’s ferocious attack that outscored the Blue Devils 65-51 in the second half.

Playing what was essentially a home game, South Carolina got Duke sharpshooter Luke Kennard in foul trouble as he picked up his fourth foul with more than 10 minutes to go in the game. As he sat on the bench, South Carolina grew their lead, and by the time he returned, the Blue Devils were down by double digits. Kennard finished the game with just 11 points on 1-of-6 shooting (1-of-4 from three). He scored most of his points at the free throw stripe, where he went a perfect 8-for-8. 

Kennard eventually fouled out with under two minutes remaining. Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Matt Jones also fouled out, as Duke never gave up until the very end, trying their very hardest to mount an increasingly unlikely comeback.

This will be South Carolina’s first ever appearance in the Sweet Sixteen.

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