On Sunday, the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Florida Gators 77-70 in the East Region to earn their first Final Four spot in team history. The Gamecocks again used their tough defense and high-scoring offense to beat the Gators.
However, this game stayed pretty close with 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The last lead change did not occur until 2:24 left when the Gamecocks went ahead by two points and were able to hold on for the victory.
South Carolina Chomp Gators and Earn First Final Four in NCAA Tournament
Here is the East Region Elite Eight matchup recap from Sunday March 26, 2017:
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
4 – Florida Gators (27-8) – 70
7 – South Carolina Gamecocks (26-10) – 77
The South Carolina Gamecocks were seeking their first Final Four appearance and needed to defeat the fourth-seeded Florida Gators. The Gamecocks had already beaten second-seed Duke and knocked out third-seeded Baylor.
The Southeastern Conference rivals had split their two earlier games, both teams winning at home. The Gamecocks have the SEC player of the year in Sidarius Thornwell. The Gators feature KeVaughn Allen who averaged 14.1 points per game during the season.
Florida Led By Seven Points at Halftime
Florida led 40-33 at halftime. South Carolina’s relentless defense held the Gators to only 30 points in the second half and the offense exploded for 44 points to overcome the first half deficit.
South Carolina was led by Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. DJ Dozier scored 17 points and Chris Silva scored 13 points and led the team with nine rebounds. Maik Kotsar scored 12 points.
Florida were led by forward Justin Leon who scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. KeVaughn Allen scored 13 points. Kasey Hill added 11 points. The Wisconsin game hero Chris Chiozza scored nine points.
South Carolina goes on to meet Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Final Four, Saturday April 1, 2017. The North Carolina Tarheels will play the Oregon Ducks in the other Final Four matchup.
COLUMBIA, SC – FEBRUARY 07: South Carolina Gamecocks guard Duane Notice (10), guard Sindarius Thornwell (0), forward Sedee Keita (24), guard TeMarcus Blanton (5) and guard PJ Dozier (15) tiredly ready for another overtime period during the quadruple overtime SEC game on February 7, 2017 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC. Alabama wins 90-86. (Photo by Jim Dedmon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)