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South Carolina vs. Florida, NCAA Tournament recap, final score: Gamecocks top Gators, advance to Final Four

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It actually happened. The Gamecocks beat Florida 77-70 to move to their first Final Four in program history.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-South Carolina vs Florida Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

And then there was four...

The South Carolina Gamecocks dominated the paint in route to a 77-70 win over fellow SEC-foe Florida to advance to the Final Four in Arizona.

Three quick thoughts on the game:

  1. Carolina started well. With the help of a few shot-clock malfunctions, the game got off to a slow start. Carolina used that to dominate down low and cause problems for Florida’s offense. Sindarius Thornwell started hot, scoring a quick 15 points. P.J. Dozier also had a strong first half with nine. Problems occurred in the final seven-eight minutes of the half. The pace quickened as Florida began to hit shots from outside. Carolina tried to match the quickness, taking early shots that led to misses. The Gators got into their offense early and ran some screen to get shooters open, hitting seven first half three pointers. Justin Leon was the killer. The senior averages only 7.1 points on the year but scored 13 in the first half. Florida had eight players register a point in the first half while the Gamecocks only had five. Chirs Silva failed to score in the first half.
  2. The first five minutes of the second half were played at a much better pace. Florida missed all their shots from beyond the arc in the second half and the Gamecocks forced seven Gator fouls early. Both teams began to pick up fouls though as Sivla and Thornwell picked up their third personal. Silva picked it up on the offensive end though, scoring eight points in the first ten minutes of the half. The Gamecocks also dominated in the paint with Maik Kotsar hitting double figures in the second half.
  3. With the second half resembling more of an SEC affair from the officials, free throws became massive. Both teams were hitting them. With four minutes remaining, Florida was 12-13 and South Carolina was 13-17. The final four minutes began with a Gamecock turnover and Florida lay-up. Silva responded with a put-back to tie it back up as Carolina held a 40-22 edge in the paint. A foul put Thornwell on the line with 2:24 left and hit both to give the Gamecocks a two point lead. Then a trailing Maik Kotsar nailed a free-throw line jumper to push the lead to four. It was then a two point Carolina lead with 53 seconds remaining. Senior Duane Notice hit a pair of free throws put put Carolina back up four. Silva then went 2-4 from the foul line to go up six before Chris Chiozza scored to cut it to four with 24 seconds remaining. Thorwell then split a pair of free throws. Carolina then got a steal and Notice put the exclamation point on the win with an emphatic slam.

South Carolina will take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday for the chance to play in the National Championship game.

South Carolina Men's Basketball is going to the FINAL FOUR! Here's how they did it:

Posted by Garnet and Black Attack on Sunday, March 26, 2017