South Carolina is the most stunning Final Four team in years, but it’s no Cinderella

By Chris Chase @FireChrisChase – Source Article (www.foxsports.com)

South Carolina checks all the boxes for an NCAA tournament Cinderella. The Gamecocks, riding three-straight upsets of Duke, Baylor and Florida, capped one of the most unlikely Final Four runs the sport has ever seen, winning the much-heralded East region with a 77-70 victory Sundayover their favored conference foes from Gainesville.

If that’s not the stuff of glass slippers, then maybe this is: In the past 10 days, South Carolina has won twice as many NCAA tournament games (not including meaningless consolation games)than they had in the school’s entire history.
Just because it looks like a Cinderella doesn’t mean it is, however.

A Cinderella is a team that makes the best of its limited resources to go on a deep run in March, defying odds, logic and stratum. The Gamecocks may have the first two, but not the third. They play in the SEC, a conference ruled by its football powerhouse programs (which help command a reported $2.5 billion television contract) but is top-notch in nearly every other sport too. They’re a major university with a budget big enough to pay Steve Spurrier and lure coach Frank Martin away from another power school. The baseball team has two national championships. The soccer teams are a perennial contender. Swimming, track and golf have produced champions. The school’s other basketball team made a Final Four two years ago. And while the football team is often a doormat, even they played for the SEC championship in 2010.

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South Carolina beats Baylor 70-50 to advance to Elite Eight

By JIM O’CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer – Source Article

South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (15) puts up a shot against Baylor guard Manu Lecomte (20) in the second half of an East Regional semifinal game of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Friday, March 24, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK (AP) — Apparently South Carolina is getting the hang of winning NCAA Tournament games.

The Gamecocks, who hadn’t won a tournament game since 1973, got their third this year. One more and it’s on to the Final Four.

“It’s a great win for the program,” Gamecocks guard Duane Notice said. “It’s a good feeling when we continue to make history and I think once we get a taste of it, we kind of get addicted and want to continue doing it.”

Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded South Carolina cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals, the Bears’ worst NCAA Tournament loss.

The Gamecocks (25-10) were in control from the middle of the first half on, mixing defenses and hustling all over the Madison Square Garden court to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

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South Carolina’s PJ Dozier ‘not worried’ about possible NBA decision

South Carolina basketball plays Baylor on Friday and that’s what PJ Dozier is thinking about.

By Mike Wilson – SEC COuntry Staff – Source Article

The Gamecocks sophomore guard will have to make the decision between returning to school for his junior season or heading for the NBA after this year.

“Not worried about it at all right now,” Dozier said Tuesday. “We have one objective right now: To win games here. That’s why I came here. I came here to be a college basketball player and I’m really enjoying it. That’s where I’m at and I haven’t thought anything about that.”

Dozier is averaging 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a sophomore. He has been projected as a first-rounder for much of the season by NBADraft.net.

South Carolina tips off at Madison Square Garden at 7:29 p.m. Friday.

Gamecocks get the PJ Dozier performance they have been waiting to see

PJ Dozier had 21 points against Marquette on Friday night.

By Mike Wilson – SEC Country Staff – Source Article

GREENVILLE, S.C. — PJ Dozier looked a whole lot like PJ Dozier on Friday night and that’s a whole lot of good news for South Carolina basketball.

The Gamecocks sophomore guard had emphatic dunks, sharp cuts and silky jumpers going for him in USC’s 93-73 win against Marquette.

“The coaching staff continues to tell me to stay aggressive, attack the rim,” Dozier said. “Being 6-6, that’s what you have to do. You have to put pressure on the rim and I feel like that’s when I play my best basketball.”

He was playing that way in Greenville, scoring 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting to help fuel South Carolina’s 30-point turnaround against the Golden Eagles.

Dozier came out hot this season, averaging close to 16.0 points per game through the start of conference. But he has been up and down in the past six weeks after sitting out a game against Kentucky with back spasms. He has maintained it was a quick issue and has not impacted his play, but the way Dozier played Friday night hadn’t truly been seen since he was rolling through November and December. Continue reading “Gamecocks get the PJ Dozier performance they have been waiting to see”

Peaking at the right time, PJ Dozier integral part of USC’s win over Marquette

By Grace Raynor graynor@postandcourier.com – Source Article

GREENVILLE — Sindarius Thornwell started to laugh, as he sat next to PJ Dozier and Duane Notice.

It was Thursday, the three of them were at a press conference fielding question after question, and one reporter had just asked an open-ended question for any of them to answer ahead of South Carolina’s game with Marquette. All eyes naturally turned toward Thornwell.

“Everybody is going to look at me every question,” he joked. And then he began his answer.

From the first day of the season, the spotlight has always been on Thornwell, the Gamecocks’ unquestionable leader and the newly-minted SEC Player of the Year. Media focus on him. His teammates rely on him. Opposing defenses make him the priority. But on Friday, he got some major help.

In South Carolina’s 93-73 drubbing over Marquette at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, it was PJ Dozier who stole part of the show, racking up 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting in addition to the four rebounds and four assists he gave the Gamecocks.

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PJ Dozier Named To 2017 SEC Community Service Team

Sophomore has been active in the community during his time at Carolina.

Source – http://www.gamecocksonline.com  – Original Article  

Columbia, SC – In a continuing effort to recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes beyond the field of competition, the SEC once again highlighted a Community Service Team for men’s basketball for the 2016-17 campaign, it was released on Thursday in advance of next week’s SEC Tournament in Nashville. South Carolina sophomore guard PJ Dozier has been named to the team this season.

Dozier has been very active in community outreach events during his two seasons at South Carolina. During his sophomore campaign, he has spent time at an area elementary school speaking to fourth and fifth graders and participated in a kick ball game. He has spent time with Special Olympics, helping to officiate and with scorekeeping at the Special Olympics State Tournament. He hosted a Q and A session and spoke to students at WA Perry Middle School in Columbia, while he also attended a Christmas party for residents from Epworth Children’s Home during the holiday season. Dozier delivered meals to those in need with the Meals on Wheels program, while he also helped serve dinner at Transitions. During the team’s foreign tour in Costa Rica, he joined his teammates for two events for area children, including an event with Special Olympics in San Jose. He also participated in the team’s annual 8K In 8 Days campaign, doing multiple events around the Columbia community with the City of Columbia, at the Brookland Baptist Empowerment Center, Special Olympics and he also visited with Veterans at the Dorn VA Medical Hospital.

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Gamecocks crush Vols, back away from NCAA bubble

BY DAVID CLONINGER – dcloninger@thestate.com – Original Article

South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (15) shoots over Tennessee guard Kwe Parker (12) in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Jeff Blake USA TODAY Sports

At the breaking point of the game and season, South Carolina drew its toe across the court and said, “No more.”

The Gamecocks stretched a four-point lead to 19 in a sizzling second-half run on Saturday, beating Tennessee 82-55 to snap a three-game losing streak and restore foundation to their hopes for the NCAA Tournament. Having frittered away most of a 15-point lead by once again refusing to do the things that earned that lead, USC (21-8, 11-5 SEC) halted the Volunteers’ rally just in time.

“Obviously, our guys, their spirit has been real good again,” coach Frank Martin said. “That’s why after the Florida game, I was still so optimistic about our kids. That’s a special group of guys.”

The Gamecocks led by 15 with less than three minutes to go in the first half but a nearly six-minute halftime-spanning stretch without a field goal let Tennessee (15-14, 7-9) back in the game. Their lead cut to four by settling for jump shots instead of the drives that claimed the advantage; unable to figure out the Vols’ zone defense while its was being pummeled, USC felt the game slipping away.

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