Duke’s quest for another national championship came to an end on Sunday night. The Blue Devils, the 2-seed in the East Region, faced off against seventh-seeded South Carolina. In a result that no one saw coming, the Gamecocks won, 88-81.
It looked like the Blue Devils were going to take care of business heading into halftime – Duke had a 30-23 lead, and South Carolina generally didn’t look like it was going to get anything going on the offensive end. But Frank Martin must have done something during halftime because the team came out playing like men on fire during the second half.
The Gamecocks’ offense played out of its collective minds, scoring 65 (!!!) second-half points. The Blue Devils weren’t exactly slouches on the offensive end – they dropped 51 points on South Carolina’s famously stingy defense – but star guard Sindarius Thornwell and co. did seemingly whatever they wanted on offense. Every time it looked like Duke was ready to mount a comeback, the Gamecock offense went off. It really was some else.
The most entertaining aspect of the game was easily the crowd in attendance. Earlier in the day, North Carolina and Arkansas squared off in the same venue, and the Tar Heels came out on top in a somewhat controversial manner. A number of Tar Heels fans stuck around to watch their bitter rival face off with the “other” Carolina. Of course, they weren’t just watching – these folks were actively cheering for Duke to lose.