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Oregon Ducks face Duke Blue Devils in women's NCAA tournament second round

21 March, 2017, 10:42 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez
  • Joe Robbins  Getty Images

A Gamecocks program known largely - and mocked often by some - for its back-to-back NIT championships in 2005 and 2006 is now heading to the world's most famous arena as part of the NCAA's Sweet 16.

"We just made shots, got the ball inside", Thornwell said.

"We're not satisfied", he said. I'm disappointed that we didn't win tonight.

They seemed to be on track, but after being derailed by the Gamecocks the focus is on next season.

Troy (22-15) was making just the second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and hopes this year's piece of March Madness stokes future excitement.

"It was actually the most physical game we've played in all year", Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. But behind Thornwell's outside shooting and Silva's dominance underneath, SC rallied to win two NCAA games for the first time in 44 years.

"When you shoot 7 for 35 in the first half and you're down just 7 points, I tell you, it just gives you confidence", Sindarius Thornwell, 22, a SC player said.

After the horrendous first half, SC didn't waste any time staging the comeback.

The highlights from the first three days of this year's tournament: The top overall seed going down in the second round and a player mistakenly fouling in the closing seconds when his team was up, not down.

Those fans have come to appreciate the renaissance of SC basketball.

It was all a stark contrast to a first half in which SC made just two of its last 22 field goal attempts, hoisting 3-pointers at will and going nearly six minutes scoreless at one stretch.

The Gamecocks started the game doing exactly that, with four guards ready to run with it. Arizona State came out trying to match the tempo, and the high intensity resulted in a few turnovers and back and forth play on both ends. Leading the way for the Bears was Johnathan Motley who had a double-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, and a steal.

Junior guard Grayson Allen led Duke with 20 points, and freshman Jayson Tatum added 15 in what may be his final game in a Duke uniform.

SC went more than six minutes without scoring, while Duke built a 24-14 edge during that time.

"We've done it before".

"Duke, a 2 seed, in effect played a road game in the NCAA Tournament". "The shots just didn't fall today".

"We'll probably stay for half of it and definitely boo the Blue Devils", said UNC Fan Dustin Powell.

The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament were filled with upsets and last-minute heroics, and not all the top seeds survived into the Sweet 16. "But the level of energy we started the game with, I just didn't think we were capable of that". Given Duke's struggles with foul trouble on the interior, look for Thornwell to attack Duke's bigs early and often. Amile Jefferson (10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds) also had a relatively quiet night Friday but could be a major factor against the Gamecocks. "Aren't you glad I didn't do that?"

Down went Duke Sunday, cold cocked by the Gamecocks on NCAA tournament hardwood in SC, the final blows landing an hour before midnight. Middle Tennessee State produced the only victory by a No. 12 seed, and odds makers had made them only a slight favorite in its matchup with fifth-seeded Minnesota.

Even with all this instability, Duke still won 28 games and compiled an 11-7 record in ACC play before winning the conference tournament last week.

That's how Duke made all those insane second half comebacks last week. Prior to their victory over Marquette on March 17, SC hadn't won a NCAA tournament game since 1973. This time, however, there was far more explosion.

At Flight Beer Garden and Music Hall, more than 100 fans tuned in for the Gamecocks meeting with Duke, some holding their seat more than four hours before tipoff.

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