No. 1 seed SC cruises to 90-50 opening NCAA win

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"For us to be able to play against a team like Duke, and play so well on the big stage, says a lot about the character of our team". I mean, we know we're going to have Duke fans in the crowd, too.

Freshman Miles Wilson scored 22 points as the Mountaineers (20-16), who edged New Orleans in a First Four matchup on Tuesday, gave the defending champions all they could handle in the first half.

The 65 points were the most given up in a half by a Mike Krzyzewski-coached Duke team.

But the Gamecocks pounded Marquette in their first NCAA game, and played remarkably well in the second half.

"I thought about that, just the way they (South Carolina) were jelling offensively, it crosses your mind, but you try not to to let it affect you". However, Baylor took down the Trojans, 82-78.

But that team just took out Duke to give the SEC three teams in the Sweet 16.

The Gamecocks took advantage of energy provided by a partisan home-state crowd in the biggest victory for SC in at least a generation. Sindarius Thornwell led all scorers with 24 points. In the first half, the Gamecocks shot just 20 percent from the field, and 17 percent from three. They forced 18 turnovers against Duke while turning it over only 11 times themselves.

Duke was in control until losing a 10-point lead in three minutes to start the second half. "But I think the louder the arena, the more pumped up Duke gets so I think it's going to be a good environment for both teams".

Duke was the preseason No. 1 team and seemed to have gained traction by winning four games in four days to capture the ACC tournament title.

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"We've done it before". A short time later, Frank Jackson, Luke Kennard and Matt Jones had long-range baskets on consecutive possessions as the Blue Devils jumped to a 16-4 lead less than 5 minutes in. "The shots just didn't fall today". "But just come in and bring energy".

It was hard to call this anything other than a home game for SC, whose campus is 2 hours east and whose fans filled the arena.

Duke had won the ACC Tournament and knocked off Troy in the first round. "After just about every basket, they're going insane in the room".

Notice has struggled with his shot at times this season, so much that Martin has fielded questions about sitting him down. "Aren't you glad I didn't do that?" The 88-81 win clinches South Carolina's first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1973. Now, they're looking to advance to the Elite Eight with another victory.

While Duke will have to navigate a stingy SC defense and keep SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell under wraps, the Gamecocks find themselves matched up with one of the best offenses in the country playing its best basketball of the season. "Everybody was going insane", SC quarterback Jake Bentley said Monday morning after his team held its ninth practice of the spring.

SC has been to the Sweet Sixteen three times before (1971-1973), but each of those appearances came when the NCAA tournament was a 25-team affair.

The Tar Heels rolled in their NCAA opener and now get to play a Razorbacks team that likes to play fast, the opposite of what many teams try to do against Roy Williams' up-tempo bunch.

"At least I called a timeout", Turner Thorne said.

Instead, almost 600 people packed the music hall. North Carolina is the only remaining team from the nine that started the tournament. He was allowed back after one game and things were up and down the rest of the way.



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