Gamecocks get the best of Bears
S. CAROLINA 70, BAYLOR 50
new york» Apparently South Carolina is getting the hang of winning NCAA Tournament games.
The Gamecocks, who hadn’t won a tournament game since 1973, got their third this year. One more and it’s on to the Final Four.
“It’s a great win for the program,” Gamecocks guard Duane Notice said. “It’s a good feeling when we continue to make history and I think once we get a taste of it, we kind of get addicted and want to continue doing it.”
Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded South Carolina cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals, the Bears’ worst NCAA Tournament loss.
The Gamecocks (25-10) were in control from the middle of the first half on, mixing defenses and hustling all over the Madison Square Garden court to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.
“We have been real good defensively all year, we were on point definitely today,” Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said.
DJ Dozier and Chris Silva had 12 points each and Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks.
Johnathan Motley had 18 points, 12 in the second half, for Baylor (27-8), which just couldn’t get any offense going. The Bears, who were ranked No. 1 for one week this season, missed 11 of their first 13 shots from the field and it didn’t get a whole lot better the entire game. They finished 17-for-56 from the field (30.4 percent), including 3-for-13 from 3-point range.
Thornwell made defending Motley sound easy.
“We stayed aggressive and made his catches hard and we knew that he likes to score in the paint and let his catches be extended outside, that way he got to take more than one dribble to score; he can’t just turn and shoot over the top of you,” Thornwell said.
Motley said the defense was “extremely tough.”
“That’s what they gameplanned for,” he said. “And they did a great job of executing their game plan. We couldn’t, really couldn’t buy a basket.”
South Carolina opened the second half on a 12-6 run to get the lead to 49-28. The largest lead was 63-41.
Baylor was able to close to 11 points but that was as tight as the game would get.
The Gamecocks went on a 16-0 run that lasted 7:44 in the first half. They turned a 15-15 tie into a 31-15 lead with 2:50 left in the first half. The Bears went 0-for-10 from the field and committed four turnovers in the run.