They seemed to be on track, but after being derailed by the Gamecocks the focus is on next season.
SC couldn't miss in the second half and its aggressive, trapping defense eventually wore Duke out on its way to a 88-81 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
USC shot 71 percent from the floor during those last 20 minutes of gametime.
"I'm hoping this weekend North Carolina and SC will be united in victories", said UNC Fan Rick Bryson. "For us to be able to play against a team like Duke, and play so well on the big stage, says a lot about the character of our team". The Sun Devils missed a shot to regain the lead but SC left the door open after missing two free throws with 29 seconds left.
"We're not satisfied with winning one game, or this game", Thornwell said. "We in it, so why not win it?" SC scored 23 points in the opening 20 minutes.
A week after Duke's national title hopes were refueled and revitalized in NY, the Blue Devils ran out of gas before they even made it out of the neighborhood.
"That's what we play for". Washington fired Lorenzo Romar which makes sense given the bad record Washington has had in recent years, but with so many top recruits verbally committing to Washington for next year, does it really make a lot of sense to send him packing and potentially lose these recruits? "Once I saw they were on the same side of the bracket", Lewis said, "I thought it was special that I might have a chance to play against Carolina in the Sweet 16".
"When you shoot 7 for 35 in the first half and you're down just 7 points, I tell you, it just gives you confidence", Sindarius Thornwell, 22, a SC player said.
Carolina kept its foot on the pedal as four more points from Thornwell pushed the lead to 86-69 at the final media timeout with 3:42 left in the game.
Meanwhile, South Carolina just gained a bunch of fans. Felder canned a triple from National Basketball Association distance, Silva laid one in and was fouled. Washington has since announced the hiring of Mike Hopkins as their new head coach.
It began to feel destined, especially after Dozier's fall-away jumper with the shot clock running down danced all around the rim - and fell in, for a nine-point lead with 6:23 remaining.
It happened in front of a pro-South Carolina crowd in Greenville, with Gamecocks fans in their home state joined by Duke-hating North Carolina fans - who had just watched the Tar Heels beat Arkansas - to form a crowd largely united against the Blue Devils.
"The time on the clock, it felt like an eternity was going by", Notice said.
Maite Cazorla added 17 points and Lexi Bando finished with 14 points to help OR (22-13) become the first No. 10 seed in a decade to reach the round of 16.
In the locker room, Jones sat dry-eyed, the lone Blue Devil not giving in to emotion.
"We don't care who you are, we don't care what your rank is, we're going to play our basketball regardless", Haines said. "It's the most physical game we've been in all year". We got five this year. It went through my mind, but you try not to let it affect you cheering on your teammates.
Baylor coach Scott Drew on a conversation with Enfield: "I actually joked with Andy, I said, 'You want to be up at halftime?' and he said, 'No, I want to be down.' We knew it was going to come down to the last couple of minutes of the game, who could make the key defensive stops".
Terry Maston scored 19 points and King McClure added 17 and for the Bears (27-7), who advanced to play seventh-seeded SC, which beat second-seeded Duke, in the Sweet 16 in NY. USC overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half against Providence on Wednesday and a 10-point deficit in the second half against SMU on Friday.
"Yeah, absolutely", Martin said.