It is March 19 and the Gamecocks are still playing men’s basketball. It’s a very weird feeling, but a welcoming one. To make the feeling even worse, the Gamecocks drew Duke in the round of 32. The excitement of this game is unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime for Gamecocks basketball.
The first half continued the trend of weird. South Carolina forced 11 turnovers but only ended up with 23 points at the half. Duke went 8/17 from the field including five three pointers. Somehow the Gamecocks were able to shoot the ball 35 times, making only seven shots. The Blue Devils blocked six shots, most of them being shot by Chris Silva. Despite the horrific offensive performance, the Gamecocks found themselves only down seven at the half due to forcing 11 Blue Devils turnovers.
The second half started off much better for South Carolina, who closed the gap in just a few minutes. The Gamecocks made 11 of the first 14 shots after halftime and seized all of the momentum in the game. Although PJ Dozier struggled shooting, he was able to make shots when he needed to and play great defense. Through the first 12 minutes in the second half, the Gamecocks outscored Duke 37-23. PJ Dozier hit a fadeaway jumper with about six minutes remaining that rolled around the rim and in, and it seemed like the Gamecocks were destined to win the game.
The lead was extended to ten points with 3:30 left in the game, but PJ Dozier fouled out shortly after that. Duke’s stretch of missing 9/10 field goals continuously hurt them because of poor defensive possessions on the other end. Duke’s poor shooting continued until 1:31 remaining, when Tatum hit a three to cut the lead to seven. Duke made it interesting at the end of the game with an Allen three pointer, but South Carolina finished strong with two Justin McKie dunks.
SOUTH CAROLINA BOX SCORE
DUKE BOX SCORE