Sophomore guard P.J. Dozier scored 13 of his 21 points in the second-half to help rally 2017 Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tip-Off participant South Carolina to a 93-73 win over Big East rival Marquette for the Gamecock’s first win in the NCAA Championships since 1973.
With the win, the seventh-seeded Gamecocks of the Southeastern Conference (23-10) challenge Atlantic Coast post-season champions Duke (28-8) Sunday with the winner advancing in the East Regional. The second-seeded Blue Devils won their opening game with an 87-65 victory over Troy from the Sun Belt Conference.
Duke holds a 56-19 edge in the all-time series between the two teams with the Blue Devils winning 81-56 on November 20, 2001 in the Maui Classic. The last Gamecock win was a 98-78 home court win in Columbia on December 12, 1970 when South Carolina was a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
South Carolina, which also received a 10-point scoring effort from sophomore forward Christ Silva, last won a game in the NCAAs when it topped Southwestern Louisiana 90-85 in a regional consolation game on March 17, 1973.
Marquette (19-13), which led by 10 points in the first half, yielded an 11-0 Gamecock run midway through the second half as South Carolina out-scored their opponent 54-33 in the last 20 minutes.
With the South Carolina win Participants in the 2017 Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tip-Off are now won five-straight games in the post conference tournament section of the 2016-2017 season. Overall, the eight schools scheduled to compete in the San Juan event have compiled 167-95 (63.7 percent).
Earlier this week, Boise State (Mountain West Conference, 20-11) and Illinois State (Missouri Valley, 28-6) posted wins in the NIT before Florida State (Atlantic Coast, 26-8) and Iowa State (Big 12, 24-11) netted NCAA wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Nevada, respectively.
On Saturday, third-seeded Florida State plays Xavier (West Region) and fifth-seeded Iowa State challenges Purdue (Midwest). Xavier captured the 2016 Tire Pros event when the event was held this past November at the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
Both Boise State and Illinois State will play Monday in the “Land of Lincoln” with the Broncos playing at Illinois of the Big Ten in Champaign with the Redbirds hosting Texas Arlington of the Sun Belt Conference in Normal.
The 2017 Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tip-Off is scheduled for November 16, 17 and 19 in San Juan. Other schools competing in the three-day, 12-game bracketed in-season tournament will be Tulsa (American Athletic, 15-17), UTEP (Conference USA, 15-17) and Western Michigan (Mid-American, 16-16).