Hey, everyone! I am finally back with a recap and instant reaction to another game! This one was even better than before. The game featured the seventh seed South Carolina Gamecocks vs the three seed Baylor Bears. Now coming into this game I knew it would be a battle but I had no idea it would be this bad. Let’s jump right into it, shall we!
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 believe it or not! 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 in the history of their program. The Gamecocks 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.
South Carolina will meet the four seeded Florida Gators who beat Wisconsin 84-83 in overtime, on Sunday with that trip to the Final Four at stake. It will be an all-Southeastern Conference matchup with the teams having split two regular-season meetings. So you know it’s going to be a hell of a game.
PJ Dozier and Chris Silva each had 12 points and Duane Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks. Johnathan Motley had 18 points, with 12 of them coming in the second half, for Baylor, 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 (a TERRIBLE 30.4 percent), including 3 for 13 from 3-point range (about 23 percent).
The Gamecocks went on a 16-0 run that lasted for 7:44 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 a very poor 0 for 10 from the field and committed four turnovers in the run. South Carolina’s biggest lead of the half was 37-20 on a 3 by Notice with 29 seconds to play. It was 37-22 at halftime. The Bears shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half (8 of 32) and committed seven turnovers. While South Carolina was firing on all cylinders.
South Carolina opened the second half on a 12-6 run to get the lead to 49-28. The largest lead was 63-41. While Baylor was able to close to 11 points but that was as tight as the game would get. Baylor couldn’t get anything to fall, it was a very rare occurrence, but when they did South Carolina came right back with an answer for everything. There isn’t much more to the fact of the second half except that the Gamecocks played lights out on both sides of the ball while Baylor didn’t do anything right.
Like I said up above, South Carolina was lead by their senior stud, Sindarius Thornwell who lead all scorers and dropped 24 points on 6-14 shooting, 4-10 from three-point range, six rebounds (three offensive, two assists, two steals, and 2 blocks. Thornwell took control on offense and put the whole team on his back. I would not be surprised if he goes off in their next game! Check out his impressive game highlights down below:
The Gamecocks came into the NCAA Tournament having lost five of seven…. And believe it or not, but the Gamecocks’ previous largest margin of victory in the NCAA Tournament was 78-70 over Texas Tech in the first round in 1973! I have a little bit more to say about the Bears. They came into the NCAA Tournament having lost four of seven…. This is the Bears’ fourth straight tournament appearance, which is very impressive as they play in a tough Big 12 conference. They were trying for their third Elite Eight appearance in as many years. They lost to Duke in the round of eight in 2010 and to Kentucky in 2012. Baylor was 9-1 against the SEC teams overall since 2012-13. Baylor’s previous worst loss in the NCAA Tournament was 69-52 to Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 in 2014 and to make it even worse the 22 points matched Baylor’s low for a half this season.