At halftime, the No. 7 seeded South Carolina Gamecocks trailed the No. 4 seeded Florida Gators 40-33 in the East Region’s Elite 8 matchup.
However, led by head coach Frank Martin, the Gamecocks surged back in the second half, outscoring the Gators to the tune of 44-30 and finished strong, taking down their SEC rivals.
Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell was fantastic for South Carolina, going 8-of-13 for 26 points, seven rebounds, an assist and two steals en route to the victory. Sophomore guard PJ Dozier also added 17 points for the Gamecocks.
“Signing and growing up in South Carolina, all we asked for was a chance to make it,” Thornwell said after the game. “We didn’t ask for -- coach ain’t guaranteed us anything, but to come here and just work hard and give ourselves a chance. All we wanted was to make it. All we wanted was a bid in the tournament, to see our name on the board. And when we got our name on the board, the rest we’ll take, the rest takes care of itself. All we wanted was a chance.”
Three Gators scored in double-figures, led by senior forward Justin Leon, who posted 18 points and six rebounds in the losing effort.
After the game, emotions were running high, and whoever runs South Carolina’s Twitter page deserves a raise.
First, they started with this gem.
And they provided the answer to their own question.
Then, they made sure to lecture their followers about the merits of sportsmanship.
Notice the spelling capitalization there. “FOUR” is in caps, and that also happens to be the seed that the Gators were coming into this matchup.
Then, they called out CBS, who noted the randomness of SC’s Final Four presence.
They also called out an ESPN prediction that gave them a 20.2 percent chance of winning the game before the opening tip.
As for their possible championship opponent, the No. 1 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels? They need to watch their backs.
As we have seen in past NCAA Tournaments, it’s not always the best team that ends up winning. Sometimes, it’s all about getting hot at the right time.
Right now, South Carolina is riding the wave and are just two wins away from an NCAA title.
Since most people root for the Cinderella team (except for their opponents), the Gamecocks are sure to have a lot of supporters when they take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday night.