Rushed Reactions: #7 South Carolina 93, #10 Marquette 73Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 17th, 2017
RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) is in Greenville this weekend.
Three Key Takeaways.
- In the match-up of great offense (Marquette) and great defense (South Carolina), something had to give. Sparked by a decided home crowd advantage — unusual for a #7 seed — the Gamecocks’ defense was more than up to the challenge tonight. Although the Marquette shooters were able to shake free for numerous threes, South Carolina got the job done in other areas, harassing the Golden Eagles into 18 turnovers and limiting them to only six offensive rebounds. In the end, Marquette scored nine points below its season average, while South Carolina scored an incredible 54 points after intermission.
- Marquette showed why it’s one of the most dangerous three-pointing shooting teams in the country. The Golden Eagles controlled most of the first half by hurting South Carolina from behind the arc. The nation’s best three-point shooting team made 8-of-16 in the first half and 11 of their first 22 for the game. But the Gamecocks’ relentless pressure eventually wore down their shooters, causing the Golden Eagles to misfire on their last five long-range attempts.
- South Carolina kept Marquette off the free throw line. Throughout his coaching career, Frank Martin’s teams have been known for their aggressive defense. Unfortunately that often results in a lot of trips to the free throw line for the opposition. Tonight the Gamecocks were able to play hard defensively without fouling, an especially important factor considering Marquette shoots 78 percent from the stripe. For the game, South Carolina only committed 13 fouls (eight under its season average) and Marquette as a result went 12-of-14 from the line.
Player of the Game. Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina. The 6’5″ senior forward was easily the best player on the floor tonight, scoring a game-high 29 points in a superb all-around effort. Thornwell also led all players with 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and collected three steals.
- “I’m so proud of these two guys. They’ve carried us all year.” – South Carolina coach Frank Martin, speaking on Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier.
- “I love watching Duke play. I’m a huge, huge fan of Coach K.” – Martin, when asked about facing Duke on Sunday.
- “The better team won tonight. Their physicality wore us down.” – Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski, summarizing the game.
- “It’s amazing. We thank them for fueling us.” – Dozier on tonight’s favorable crowd and environment.
Sights and Sounds. At Thursday’s South Carolina press conference, we learned that Martin and Wojciechowski are close friends. Martin said that the relationship goes back to when they first met on the recruiting trail as assistant coaches — the two hit it off then and have remained close ever since.
What’s Next. South Carolina advances to the Second Round on Sunday where it will face #2 Duke with an interesting home court advantage in tow.