Thornwell leads South Carolina to 88-81 NCAA upset of Duke
(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt). South Carolina's Chris Silva (30) goes up to dunk past Duke's Frank Jackson (15) during the second half in a second-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Greenville, S.C., Sunday, March 19, 2017.
PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Sindarius Thornwell had 24 points, Chris Silva scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and seventh-seeded South Carolina stunned No. 2 seed Duke 88-81 on Sunday night to advance to its first Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament's expanded bracket.
"It's a great moment for South Carolina basketball," said head coach Frank Martin. "It's a great moment for our state. It's a great moment for our program, all the former players, coaches, everyone that's been a part of this for so many years trying to build it. It's a great moment for these kids out here on that platform against Duke, who we don't have to talk about how good they are... We haven't arrived. We have a lot of work to do."
The Gamecocks (24-10) trailed by 10 points early in the second half after one of its coldest shooting stretches of the season to start. But behind Thornwell's outside shooting and Silva's dominance underneath, South Carolina rallied to win two NCAA games for the first time in 44 years.
The Gamecocks rushed to their fans when things were over, celebrating one of the biggest wins in program history.
Next up is the East Regional at Madison Square Garden where the Gamecocks will face third-seeded Baylor, an 82-78 winner over Southern Cal earlier Sunday.
Duke (28-9) was attempting to reach the round of 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons. The Blue Devils, though, could not surmount South Carolina's stifling defense. Leading scorer Luke Kennard had his second straight subpar shooting game, finishing 1 of 6 for 11 points before fouling out.
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