Final Four matchups that could make the difference

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin watches during a practice session for their NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game Friday
Final Four matchups that could make the difference
Author

10 April, 2017

The victor of that game will play Gonzaga Monday night for the title.

This year's Final Four has some intriguing matchups that will decide if Gonzaga or SC and North Carolina or OR get through to Monday's title game.

Nigel Williams-Goss had 23 points to lead Gonzaga on 9-16 shooting with five rebounds and six assists.

Dylan Ennis and Tyler Dorsey scored 21 and 18 points for the Ducks. Thornwell made a block and drew a charge in a momentum-changing sequence for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks ripped off a 16-0 run in the middle of the second half, gaining the lead at the 7:06 mark after two free throws from Rakym Felder.

All Gonzaga (37-1) had to overcome in the Final Four was a gruesome eye injury, lost momentum from relinquishing a 14-point lead, its toughest defensive opponent and three of its best players teetering on the edge of fouling out in the final minutes. SC was in the double bonus while the Bulldogs were still shooting one-and-one.

In the end, SC has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Alabama scored 90 in February, but it needed four overtimes.

With the loss, the No. 7 seed Gamecocks Cinderella story ends.

This was a fantastic basketball game - it was close for a while, Gonzaga started to pull away, SC went on a 14-0 run in the second half to take the lead, the Bulldogs responded with a 7-0 run of their own to go back on top, and the Gamecocks were never able to get back on top. Not to mention being a No. 7 seed out of a football conference.

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South Carolina's magical run is over.

Gonzaga's defense certainly did its share in limiting what Thornwell did on the floor, but he wasn't the same player he had been in Greenville or NY when he nearly single-handedly led the Gamecocks past the likes of Duke, Baylor and Florida.

"That's why we're sitting here right now, because they don't pay attention to that nonsense", coach Frank Martin said of the non-believers. He's also recorded three of the four best single-season win totals in program history. The last team to win a national title in their first appearance in the game was UConn back in 1999. Thornwell had a big jumper in the run and 10 in the second half after a 1-for-5 first half. Although Samuelson would return to the game in the second half, she was a non-factor.

The South Carolina Gamecocks fell in Arizona to the Gonzaga Bulldogs after a hard-fought affair.

The Gamecocks kept it as close as they did because of 12 first-half points off the bench.

While going up on the interior with about five minutes left on the clock to try and get a bucket, he had his shot blocked. Kotsar, a freshman, averages 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds.

The Under Armour-sponsored Gamecocks were led in scoring by guard PJ Dozier, who had 17 points. Chris Silva is scoring 10.1 points per game. Four-point lead. Game over.


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