USC isn’t going to leave Atlanta without making a little bit of noise. The Gamecocks extended their stay at the SEC Tournament with a 71-69 win over Arkansas Thursday afternoon at the Georgia Dome. The win moves Carolina into the quarterfinals of the tournament and sets up a date with Tennessee Friday afternoon.
USC has quietly become one of the hottest teams in the SEC. The Gamecocks have won four of their past five, a feat that only Florida, Tennessee and Georgia can also claim. Frank Martin’s team started 0-6 in league play, but they’ve found some traction over the past 10 games, winning six of them.
- Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 17 points. The Lancaster native connected on four of his eight shots, made three of four from behind the arch, and made six of eight from the free throw line.
- Laimonas Chatkevicius was the second leading scoring with 16 points. Duane Notice had 11 and Brenton Williams had 10.
- Williams only attempted four shots. He made just one of them. He was eight of ten from the free throw line, which for him is below his average. Frank Martin said Williams was tired from the short turnaround in the Auburn game Wednesday night.
- USC entered this tournament on a six year winless drought. Now they’ve won two straight. It is the first time the Gamecocks have won two or more games in the SEC Tournament since 2006. That Dave Odom led team made it to the title game before losing to Florida. That Gators team went on to win the national championship, and the Gamecocks went on to win the NIT.
- USC will play Tennessee in the second game of the day Friday. The last time USC beat Tennessee was in 2007. The Vols have won 13 straight over the Gamecocks, including a 73-53 win in Knoxville last month.