The moment everyone lets up shows why South Carolina is different

By Mike Vaccaro – New York Post – Source Article

“Don’t give anything away for free,” Dozier said later. “Play until they tell you to stop playing. That’s what this team has been about since Day 1.”

P.J. Dozier – Getty Images

You want to know why South Carolina took a blowtorch to your brackets, why an (alleged) football school out of an (alleged) football conference will be taking its No. 7 seed to Arizona with them while Duke and Kansas and Arizona and UCLA will be getting started with their lacrosse, outdoor track and softball seasons?

This one moment explains it all.

Eleven seconds left in the East Region final Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Gamecocks are up five, 75-70. Florida is looking to do anything to extend the game, and so Chris Chiozza — Friday night’s hero — darts to the basket, knowing that Carolina will certainly let him have the easy deuce because everyone — honestly, no lie; just about every basketball team on earth — would let him have the easy deuce.

Well: almost every team.

P.J. Dozier doesn’t play matador. He actually stepped in front of Chiozza, and then he stripped Chiozza, and then he fed teammate Duane Notice for a dunk. It was 77-70. It ended that way. It was as quintessential a South Carolina moment as the Gamecocks could have conjured.

“Don’t give anything away for free,” Dozier said later. “Play until they tell you to stop playing. That’s what this team has been about since Day 1.”

There were plenty of sentimental reasons to enjoy South Carolina’s splendid sprint through the East brackets, first in Greenville, S.C., then in Manhattan. The Gamecocks’ coach, Frank Martin, may be the most-liked coach among his peers in all of Division I; good luck finding anyone to say a discouraging word about him. And after four days, it was easy to understand why.

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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.

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

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.

OH SO SWEET! GAMECOCKS BEAT DUKE!

The South Carolina men’s basketball celebrates the win over Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

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

GREENVILLE, SC – Those nearly forgotten dancing shoes are made of glass.

South Carolina shocked everyone but its thousands of garnet-clad faithful at Bon Secours Wellness Arena Sunday by beating second-seeded Duke 88-81, punching the Gamecocks’ ticket to New York and the Sweet 16. Following its first NCAA tournament win since 1973 on Friday, USC (24-10) overcame an icy shooting first half to sock the ACC champions out of the tournament.

It’s the first time USC has ever won consecutive NCAA tournament games. The seventh-seed Gamecocks will play No. 3 Baylor at 7:29 p.m. on Friday with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight. A win there …

  

Photos – Gerry Melendez gmelendez@thestate.com

Well, they didn’t get here by talking about anything other than the step in front of them. But my, what a step they took Sunday.

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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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