GREENVILLE, S.C. — Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points, Chris Silva got 13 of his 17 points in the second half and seventh-seeded South Carolina stunned No. 2 seed Duke 88-81 on Sunday night to advance to its first Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament’s expanded bracket.
The Gamecocks (24-10) trailed by 10 points early in the second half after one of its coldest shooting stretches of the season. But behind Thornwell’s outside shooting and Silva’s dominance underneath, South Carolina rallied to win two NCAA games for the first time in 44 years.
The Gamecocks rushed to their fans when things were over, celebrating one of the biggest wins in program history.
Next up is the East Regional at Madison Square Garden, where the Gamecocks will face third-seeded Baylor, an 82-78 winner over USC.
Duke (28-9) was attempting to reach the round of 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons. The Blue Devils led 30-23 after a sloppy first half in which they committed 13 turnovers, but they could not surmount South Carolina’s stifling defense. Leading scorer Luke Kennard had his second straight subpar shooting game, finishing 1 of 6 for 11 points before fouling out.
Duane Notice also scored 17 points and Rakym Felder had 15 for the Gamecocks.
Grayson Allen led Duke with 20 points.
BAYLOR 82, USC 78: Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 seed Baylor (27-7) defeated No. 11 seed USC (26-10) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Terry Maston also scored 19 points, King McClure added 17 and Manu Lecomte got all 12 of his points in the final five minutes for the Bears.
KENTUCKY 65, WICHITA STATE 62: Bam Adebayo had a double-double and swatted away the final shot as No. 2 seed Kentucky (31-5) sent No. 10 Wichita State (31-5) to yet another second-round heartbreak, edging the Shockers in Indianapolis.
Adebayo had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow freshman De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points, including a late steal and dunk, and Malik Monk blocked a shot and made a pair of free throws in the final 13 seconds. Adebayo clinched it by blocking Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer shot at the buzzer.
UCLA 79, CINCINNATI 67: Lonzo Ball scored 19 points and ignited UCLA’s rally from a poor start with nine assists, lifting the third-seeded Bruins (31-4) to a win over No. 6 Cincinnati (30-6) in Sacramento, California.
UCLA had a hard time solving Cincinnati’s active defense in the first half, unable to get shots to drop or get out in transition. But the Bruins found a new gear in the second half, breaking out for dunks and dropping in strings of 3-pointers to quickly push the lead to double digits.
Now UCLA is headed to its third Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons under Coach Steve Alford.
The Bruins will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Regional semifinals Friday in Memphis.
OREGON 75, RHODE ISLAND 72: Tyler Dorsey hit a contested go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 seconds to play, and third-seeded Oregon (31-5) rallied in the second half to beat No. 11 Rhode Island in Sacramento, California.
Dorsey also tied the game with a 3 with 1:45 remaining on the way to 27 points. He made 9 of 10 shots, with four 3-pointers.
Rhode Island nearly scrapped and hustled its way into the regional semifinals, with Stanford Robinson matching his career high of 21 points, but the Rams (25-10) had their nine-game winning streak snapped.
KANSAS 90, MICHIGAN STATE 70: Josh Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half to help top-seeded Kansas (30-4) pull away late and reach the Sweet 16 with a victory in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Frank Mason III added 20 points and Devonte Graham scored 18 for the Jayhawks (30-4).
Miles Bridges scored 22 points to lead ninth-seeded Michigan State (20-15) despite leaving briefly in the first half because of an injury.
Nick Ward also finished in double figures with 13 points and Joshua Langford had 10 for the Spartans.