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Gamecocks handle Oregon State 59-42 to earn spot in Sweet 16

Slow start, faster finish.

Oregon State v South Carolina Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The South Carolina Gamecocks quickly put a slow first quarter behind them, heating up on offense and locking down on defense to dispatch Oregon State 59-42 on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, earning their seventh straight berth to the Sweet 16.

While the first quarter saw the Gamecocks clinging to a narrow 14-13 advantage and the eighth-seeded Beavers tied the game at 16 shortly thereafter, it became nothing but a bad memory as South Carolina got it into gear behind their guards. Destanni Henderson, who went scoreless in the first round against Mercer, put up 12 points, while Brea Beal had 11 rebounds in a big effort on the glass.

Aliyah Boston led all scorers with 19 points and Zia Cooke was the only other Gamecock in double figures with 10. Victaria Sexton, fresh off a career-high 20 points in the previous round, racked up five blocks to go with seven points and six rebounds.

The Gamecock defense was particularly dominant in the third quarter, allowing just five Oregon State points and ultimately finishing with 10 steals and eight blocks. South Carolina out-rebounded the Beavers 50-33 and limited them to just a 31.5% shooting night (although the Gamecocks cooled off quite a bit and only posted a 36% night themselves). South Carolina enjoyed a great performance from the free-throw line, going 14 of 18, but made just one 3-pointer on 15 attempts.

The Gamecocks will face 5-seed Georgia Tech in the Sweet 16 on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Yellow Jackets topped No. 4 West Virginia 73-56.