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Gamecocks in first Final Four

29 March, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Gamecocks in first Final Four

Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Oregon lost one of its best players to an injury just before the NCAA Tournament, had to survive two nail-biters to reach the Midwest Regional finals, and then faced a top-seeded Kansas team that had romped to the brink of the Final Four. And Oregon's Dana Altman focused on turning one deep NCAA Tournament run into something more. In all seriousness, kudos to you if you did as few saw this run coming.

Canyon Barry, the former College of Charleston guard who transferred to Florida to play this season as a graduate student, scored four points on 2 of 4 shooting Sunday.

OR coach Dana Altman cuts down the net after the team's Midwest Regional final against Kansas in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo.

"We still got our open looks, but they just, I guess they just went farther than what they were in the first half", Leon said. USC scored 65 second-half points against the Blue Devils in rallying from a 10-point deficit, the most ever given up in a half by a Mike Krzyzewski-coached Duke team. Wilson finished with 16 despite foul trouble and Allisha Gray acrobatically drove her way to 11 points for top-seeded SC (31-4). Strong on defense, yes. The all-SEC first teamer was averaging 12.9 points and a team high 10.7 rebounds.

"Since we've gone to a smaller lineup, it's created more scoring opportunities for Kaela", South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.

Kentucky (32-6) will miss out on the Final Four for the second straight year.

With swagger and verve and downright prolific shooting, the plucky team that everybody wanted to count out rolled to a 74-60 victory over the Jayhawks on Saturday night, earning the Ducks their first trip to the national semifinals in almost 80 years.


More moments are sure to come from the 2017 Final Four, which is loaded with potential heavy-hitting matchups. OR is as much a first-timer as those two.

"I was thinking the other day about the awesome sustained excellence he's had", Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Monday on a Final Four coaches' teleconference.

"It's been a long time coming", said OR coach Dana Altman, the 10th man to hold that job since Howard Hobson, who doubled as the school's baseball coach, led the title team called the Tall Firs eight decades ago. They are also a good rebounding team although FSU is statistically better. Florida is the last Division I team to win back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles (2006, 2007).

Gonzaga was then more dominant in the Elite Eight than any school with an 83-59 victory over No. 11 Xavier. Florida managed just three field goals over the final 3:55. "I think I can have a healthy respect for the Gamecocks without rooting for them".

One big reason, both literally and figuratively, that Gonzaga is in this position is 7-foot-1, 300-pound Polish center Przemek Karnowski. "Plays needed to be made down the stretch and I stepped up and made plays". Reserve forward Luke Maye was a hero with his last-second jumper against an equally worthy Wildcats on Sunday night. The NCAA allowed him a rare sixth year of eligibility on a medical hardship.

Williams said. "He some big-time plays today". They like to pound the rock inside to their post players and let their guards slash to the basket. They play at a bit of a slower pace than FSU. Gonzaga has for years landed good global talent. "That type of game is really good for me". This likely isn't going to be a pretty game stylistically.

I mean, when a school some have forever insisted would never make a Final Four finally making the Final Four is among the least surprising things, you have, by definition, a surprising Final Four. The Zags did beat SEC teams Florida and Tennessee at neutral site holiday tournaments in the regular season. That's enough for me.

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