SC fans raise $3500 to send Gamecock Jesus to Phoenix

SEC basketball's one shining moment creates big expectations for next season

When asked Saturday what Thornwell means to this team, SC freshman point guard Rakym Felder of Brooklyn said, "He means everything".

For the third time in four NCAA games, SC won by overcoming a halftime deficit, putting up 65 points on Duke in the second half.

Notice, one of the Gamecock's senior leaders, took one dribble forward and rose off his left foot.

SC guard Sindarius Thornwell grabbed the ball and hurled it into the air at Madison Square Garden. It was the final bucket scored in a historic contest.

Seventh-seeded SC (26-10) used its trademark swarming defense and some solid free-throw shooting to beat the fellow Southeastern Conference Gators (27-9) in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden. I had to wrap it up. "I don't know", Thornwell said. "I had to stick it to my teammates that I can still throw it down".

Sindaruius Thornwell, the Most Outstanding Player in the East Regional, led SC with a game-high 26 points, going 8 of 13 and 9 of 10 from the line. Upsets happen in every round and there has been no bigger Cinderella story this tournament than with Frank Martin's Gamecocks. No. 2 seed Duke, loaded with young NBA-caliber talent succumbed to the same fate on a day when SC looked like an offensive juggernaut. Raymond Felton left the state and went on to a national championship at North Carolina. After being tested by a second-half Northwestern comeback in the second round and the mayhem that is "Press" Virginia in the Sweet 16, it was not Gonzaga's problem that No. 2 seed Arizona collapsed late against Xavier and gave th Zags what amounted to a free space to Phoenix when "X" hit the wall.

DJ Dozier and Chris Silva had 12 points each and Duane Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. They have a team saying: "Don't let go of the rope".

The GoFundMe page was started just hours after the Gamecocks dispatched the Florida Gators in the Elite 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

And when turnovers mounted against Baylor, the 'Cocks just kept shooting and making, sinking eight threes on 20 attempts and pulling down 11 offensive rebounds in 33 opportunities to fuel their attack. You know we are playing through De'Aaron Fox. (Athletic Director Scott Stricklin) will win a bunch himself, (former AD) Jeremy Foley won a bunch himself, so to call it a football school is I think, a slap in the face to all those other sports. Not winning. Each other, which then allows you to win. The teams continued to trade the lead throughout the rest of the half. The game concluded less than 36 hours ago and could lead to some exhausted legs for Florida.

Florida pulled within two with 58 seconds remaining.

Much like Martin did five years ago, Staley inherited a struggling program when she first took over the USC women's team back in 2008.

Emotions abounded in the aftermath of the game.

The victor of this game will play either UCLA or Kentucky on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four in Phoenix.

Sunday's NCAA regional finals are set.

Martin delivered his speech to the crowd. "Now it's like they are strength coaches". They rubbed his head. Little did we know the future was now. "Now that we've gotten a taste of success, there will be more of a buy-in to that culture". "That's all we needed". Similarly, South Carolina has gone from unwatchable quagmire on offense to a unit that's got cohesion. This matchup, to me, it's going to help us redeem ourselves. And that's our mindset.