Greenville, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina used a furious second-half push to upset second-seeded Duke 88-81, in what is without a doubt one of the biggest wins in South Carolina men's basketball history.
The victory allows USC to continue what is now a historic run, and their first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen since the tournament field expanded in the 1980s.
The Gamecocks struggled to find their shot early. In the first half, the Gamecocks shot just 20 percent from the field, and 17 percent from three.
SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell led all scorers with 11 at the break.
South Carolina defense, however, was able to stymie the Blue Devils, and at the half, USC trailed by a just seven points.
And then the second half happened.
The Gamecocks defense shut down the Blue Devils, while USC's offense came alive, shooting over 70 percent. If you didn't know the pairings, you would have sworn USC was the two seed and Duke was the seven seed.
When it was all over, USC had a major upset, and a program defining win for Head Coach Frank Martin.
'Unbelievably proud of my guys," Martin said afterward. "They put up with me which is not easy to do, and they've become mentally tough as mentally tough can be."
For us to be able to play against a team like Duke and play so well on the big stage says a lot about the character of our team.
The 65 points USC scored in the second half were a record half for the men's program, and the most-ever against a MIke Kryzewski coached Duke team.
"For us to be able to play against a team like Duke and play so well on the big stage says a lot about the character of our team," Martin added.
The Gamecocks will next play Baylor at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday at 7:29 p.m.