March 18, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina (23-10) earned a No. 7 seed in its ninth berth to the NCAA Tournament and posted a 93-73 victory over No. 10 seed Marquette in the First Round to advance to Sunday's Second Round matchup vs. No. 2 seed Duke (28-8). Friday's victory over Marquette marked the first NCAA Tournament win for South Carolina since 1973. Frank Martin is now 7-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a perfect 5-0 in the opening round.
GAMECOCKS POST FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT WIN SINCE 1973
Led by a 29-point, 11-rebound performance by SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina posted its first NCAA Tournament win since 1973 on Friday with a 93-73 victory over 10th-seeded Marquette in the event's opening round at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. South Carolina used a huge second half to clinch the win, out-scoring the Golden Eagles 54-33 in the second stanza, including a 21-6 run over the final 7:43. Gamecock sophomore guard PJ Dozier was also big for Carolina in the win, scoring 21 points, including 13 in the second half, while adding four assists and two steals. The stifling Gamecock defense played to its strength, forcing 18 Marquette turnovers, which turned into 25 Carolina points. South Carolina committed just nine turnovers in the win, and hit 52.2 percent (35-67) from the floor, including a 20-of-36 (55.6%) mark in the second half.
GAMECOCK QUICK HITS
- South Carolina is in its 109th season of varsity basketball in 2016-17.
- On the sidelines, Frank Martin is joined by associate head coach Matt Figger, assistant coaches Perry Clark and Bruce Shingler, and director of operations Andy Assaley.
- South Carolina head coach Frank Martin is 7-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, with the first six wins coming while he was the head coach at Kansas State. Martin led his 2009-10 squad to an Elite Eight appearance, while each season that Martin's team advanced to the NCAA Tournament it won at least one game.
- With the Gamecocks selection to the NCAA Tournament this season it marks the first time that South Carolina has had back-to-back postseason bids (NIT in 2016) since Carolina advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and then the NIT in 2005 and 2006.
- South Carolina is 2-2 in neutral site contests this season, as the Gamecocks upset then-No. 18/16 Syracuse at the Barclays Center on Nov. 26, before suffering a three-point loss to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12, a loss on March 10 to Alabama in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals in Nashville, and Friday's NCAA Tournament victory over Marquette.
- Over the course of the last two seasons, Carolina is 6-3 in neutral site games.
- Sindarius Guard Sindarius Thornwell has pulled in several awards this postseason for his outstanding season on the court. He was named the SEC Player of the Year, as well as garnering All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive Team accolades from the league coaches. He was named a unanimous selection to the AP All-SEC First Team and he earned USBWA All-District III (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland) honors and he was named a Basketball Times Third Team All-American.
- South Carolina captured its 20th win of the season on Feb. 11 in Starkville over Mississippi State. It marked the first time the Gamecocks have had back-to-back 20-wins seasons (25-9 during 2015-16 campaign) since the 2003-04 (23-11), the 2004-05 (20-13) and the 2005-06 (23-15) seasons when the Gamecocks posted three-straight 20-win campaigns.
- The Gamecocks posted their 10th SEC win of the season in Starkville as well, marking just the fifth double-digit win total in SEC play for Carolina in its 26-seasons in the league. It's also just the second time that Carolina has had back-to-back seasons with double-digit league wins, as the Gamecocks posted 11 last season. (15 SEC wins in 1997, 11 in 1998).
- Thornwell has accounted for 29.6% of the team's scoring over the course of the last five games. Overall this season, he accounts for 23.9% of Carolina's scoring. In league play, that number jumped to 30.2%. Only one other player in the last 18 SEC seasons accounted for more of his team's scoring in SEC games and had winning SEC seasons than Thornwell. UT's Ron Slay accounted for 31.3% of the Vols scoring during the 2003 league campaign.
Entering NCAA Tournament play...
- Duke is making its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 33rd overall under head coach Mike Krzyzewski
- Duke finished fifth in the ACC at 11-5 and won the ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center, winning four games in four days; they are 9-1 on a neutral court this year
- The Blue Devils are led by unanimous First-Team All-ACC selection, sophomore guard Luke Kennard; he averaged 20.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 2.5 apg
- Forward Jayson Tatum, an ACC All-Freshman Team selection, is the team's second leading scorer (16.9 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 rpg)
- Five players average double-figures for Duke
Notables from Duke's First-Round win over Troy...
- Grayson Allen led all scorers with 21 points, while he also dished a team high four assists in in the win over Troy
- Allen connected on six field goals, including five 3s in the game
- Freshman guard Jayson Tatum tallied 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Blue Devils vs. Troy
- Duke tallied 25 points off of 17 Troy turnovers
- The Blue Devils are now 10-1 in neutral site games this season, and have won five straight games - all on a neutral court - over the course of the last 10 days
SERIES INFO: Duke leads the all-time series with South Carolina 56-19 ... The Blue Devils hold an 8-1 advantage in games played on a neutral court ... The series dates back to the 1920-21 season ... Duke won the last meeting between the two schools in an 81-56 decision at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20, 2001 ... Frank Martin has faced Duke once as a head coach, as his Kansas State squad suffered an 82-68 loss to the top-ranked Blue Devile on Nov. 23, 2010, in the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo.
BY THE NUMBERS
20+ - Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell's 16 20-point games this season mark the most 20-point games in a campaign since Devan Downey had 19 20-point efforts during the 2009-10 season.
21.3 - Thornwell's 21.3 points per game in overall games this season leads the SEC and ranks 21st nationally. Thornwell has scored in double-figures in every game this season and has scored 15 or more 24 times.
23 - South Carolina dished a season high 23 assists in the Jan. 24 win over Auburn. It is the third-most ever during the Frank Martin era.
25 - The 25 turnovers by Texas A&M were an opponent high this season. It was the most turnovers in a game by a Carolina opponent since SE Louisiana committed 26 turnovers on Dec. 21, 2011.
25 - South Carolina scored 25 points off of 18 Marquette turnovers in the NCAA First Round win over the Golden Eagles on Friday. It marked the 11th time this season the Gamecocks have scored 20 or more points off of opponent turnovers in a game and the 27th game that the Gamecocks have forced at least 15 turnovers.
32 - Freshman guard Rakym Felder's 32 3s on the year mark the most by a Carolina freshman since Sindarius Thornwell had 37 during his rookie campaign in 2013-14.
34-28 - South Carolina head coach Frank Martin holds a 34-28 all-time record in neutral site games as a head coach.
The winner of Sunday's contest will advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 traveling to New York City for the East Regional on March 26.