NCAA Tournament Weekend Recap: South Carolina Beats No. 2 Seed Duke 88-81, Michigan Tops No. 2 Seed Louisville, and More
This weekend featured several major upsets of top-seeded teams by underdogs in the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and one of the big ones was on Sunday.
NCAA Tournament Weekend Recap: Top-seed Villanova Falls to Wisconsin, Gonzaga Beats Northwestern
The seventh-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils (28-9) 88-81.
South Carolina (24-10), who has often been mocked by some, will next travel to New York to play in the tournament’s Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden. The Gamecocks will face third-seeded Baylor, who beat Southern Cal 82-78 earlier Sunday.
Sindarius Thornwell contributed 24 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and Duane Notice had 17 points, 14 in a 65-point second half, as South Carolina rallied from 10 points down.
The 65 points were the most allowed in a half by the Mike Krzyzewski-led Blue Devils.
South Carolina managed only 20 percent shooting in the first half despite the win.
“I told the guys at halftime, someone’s got to have the courage and make shots,” Gamecocks Coach Frank Martin said.
When the horn sounded, South Carolina players, coaches and staff rushed to the fans at Bon Secours Wellness Arena to celebrate — a crowd that included Houston Texans Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a former Gamecock.
Duke was vying to reach the Round of 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons. The Blue Devils struggled to figure out the Gamecocks’ defense, however. Leading scorer Luke Kennard finished one-of-six for 11 points before fouling out.
The Blue Devils also tied a season high with 18 turnovers against South Carolina. Silva added 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season.
Grayson Allen led Duke with 20 points.
Krzyzewski said the Gamecocks’ physical aggressiveness exhausted his team in the second half.
“That’s the most physical team we’ve faced all year,” he said.
One other seventh-seed defeated a second-seed on Sunday. The Michigan Wolverines (26-11) downed the Louisville Cardinals 73-69 for their seventh straight victory. They now head to the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Mo for the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.
Moe Wagner scored a career-high 26 points and helped create a furious second-half rally to propel Michigan to their second-round win.
Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Deng Adel had 16 points to lead Louisville (25-9), which had made the Sweet 16 in its last four NCAA tournament appearances. D.J. Wilson added 17 points and Derrick Walton Jr. had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinals.
But Wagner ultimately helped rescue the Wolverines from a potential loss.
Trailing 45-36 with 16:09 to play, the German native scored on a layup to start a 17-6 run that gave Michigan its first lead since the opening minutes. And after Wagner’s three-pointer broke a 55-55 tie with 6:39 to go, the Wolverines led the rest of the way.
Inside the locker room, coach John Beilein squirted his players with a water gun. It was only his second win in five games against Louisville Coach Rick Pitino.
The Wolverines made six-of-17 three-pointers just two days after setting a school record for three-pointers in NCAA tournament games.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (31-5) defeated the 10th-seeded Wichita State Shockers (31-5) 65-62 for their 13th straight win.
“They’re young, but they have a will to win and play with courage and are skilled basketball players and great kids who share,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
The Wildcats’ three freshmen players all made big plays in the final minutes.
De’Aaron Fox had 14 points, including a late steal and dunk. Malik Monk blocked a shot and made two free throws in the final 13 seconds. Bam Adebayo had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and he finished it off by swatting away Landry Shamet’s three-point attempt as it left his hand with less than a second left.
“He pump-faked, and I knew he had to shoot it so I just went up and tried to block it,” Adebayo said.
Third-seeded Oregon beat Rhode Island 75-72, No. 1-seed UNC topped Arkansas 72-65, and another top-seed, Kansas, routed ninth-seeded Michigan State 90-70.