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Dozier, McKie helps No. 19 SC sweep Georgia 77-75

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Justin McKie stood at the free throw line, much like his famous father BJ, ready to keep No. 19 South Carolina on track for more Southeastern Conference success.

Was the younger McKie thinking about his dad’s old team 20 years ago that went on to win the Gamecocks only SEC title?

Not at all.

“I was thinking, `We’ve got to go win this game. They already did it,”‘ said McKie, who swished two foul shots in the final seconds to lock up South Carolina’s 77-75 victory over Georgia on Saturday.

The win keeps the Gamecocks (19-4, 9-1) tracking another title run like the one led by the elder McKie, South Carolina’s all-time leading scorer, in 1997.

South Carolina seemed to have things in hand, up 67-58 with 3:15 to go after McKie’s 3-pointer. Georgia, though, used a 15-8 run over the next 3 minutes to cut the lead to 75-73 with 9 seconds to go – and give the McKie family the chance to shine in a big spot once more.

Justin McKie did not disappoint.

“Who’s at the line shooting two but another McKie?” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “It’s kind of neat.”

Especially when you consider what could be ahead for the Gamecocks, who guaranteed themselves no worse than a tie for the top heading into next week.

“This really means a lot,” South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell said.

PJ Dozier scored seven of his 21 points in the final 2:21, Thornwell had 18 points and Duane Notice 15 for South Carolina’s second straight win over Georgia after going 0-3 vs. the Bulldogs last season.

J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten had 18 points apiece for Georgia.

For the Bulldogs, it was a second straight disappointing road loss to a ranked opponent. They led in the final minute at No. 8 Kentucky before falling in overtime, 90-81 last Tuesday.

“As a competitor, I don’t like to lose. I’m frustrated,” Frazier said. “But we don’t have any choice but to put it behind us.”


Georgia: The Bulldogs carried over their strong play in an overtime loss at Kentucky, making seven straight shots to keep in things in the opening half. They also enjoyed edges in rebounding (36-28) and made foul shots (22-14).

South Carolina: The Gamecocks hoped to get off to a fast start, yet had trouble keeping up with Georgia’s inside strength. South Carolina forwards Maik Kotsar and Chris Silva each spent time on the bench with two fouls. That can’t continue if the Gamecocks hope to remain in the SEC chase.


The Gamecocks improved to 9-1 in the SEC, their second-best start since going 10-0 in 1997. That group went 15-1 to take the league crown, but its lone loss was to the Bulldogs. South Carolina’s most difficult stretch left could be at Vanderbilt and at No. 24 Florida in consecutive games in two weeks.


South Carolina saw both of its primary post players in Silva and Kotsar foul out against Georgia. The two picked up two first-half fouls and played only 17 of a possible 40 minutes. While Kotsar had seven points and six rebounds in the second half, the 6-foot-9 Silva finished with zero rebounds for just the second game of the sophomore’s college career.


Georgia hosts No. 24 Florida on Tuesday night.

South Carolina finishes a two-game home stand with Alabama on Tuesday night.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Late run sparks Villanova past West Virginia, into Elite Eight

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BOSTON — It is always just a matter of time before the avalanche comes.

And when it does, you better hope that lead you have is big enough to withstand what’s coming.

For No. 5-seed West Virginia, it was not. With 11 minutes left on Friday night in Boston’s TD Garden, the Mountaineers led 60-54 and had seemingly wrestled control of the game from the No. 1-seed in the East Region. Less than five minutes later, after the Wildcats hit four of their next five threes, Villanova had taken a 76-66 lead by going on a 22-6 run, and West Virginia was never able to recover.

Jalen Brunson led the way for the top-seeded Wildcats with 27 points and four assists while Omari Spellman finished with 18 points, eight boards and three blocks and Mikal Bridges chipped in with 16 points despite playing relatively poorly — by his standards — on Friday.

With a 90-78 win, Villanova advanced to the Elite Eight and a date with the winner of tonight’s game No. 2 Purdue-No. 3 Texas Tech.

That’s the way that it works with this Villanova team. Armed with the most potent, high-volume three-point shooting attack in college basketball — maybe in the history of college basketball — fans of their opponents are just waiting for the inevitable.

On Friday night, Villanova shot 13-for-24 from three, which is damned-impressive and exactly what we expect at the same time, but the game was won during that five-minute surge when West Virginia just didn’t have an answer.

VIDEO: Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall with mammoth dunks for Villanova

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Villanova took the lead on West Virginia and turned the tide of momentum with a pair of emphatic dunks in transition.

It started with Omari Spellman, who had an unbelievable sequence, spiking a shot into the floor before throwing down a put-back dunk all over a defender:

A couple of possessions later, Eric Paschall finally did the impossible.

He dunked on Sagaba Konate:

I am having way too much fun at this game.

No. 1 Kansas into Elite Eight with win over No. 5 Clemson

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OMAHA, Neb. — Once Kansas found its stride, Clemson had little chance of keeping pace – even after a late stumble.

The No. 1 Jayhawks ran away from the No. 5 Tigers with a second-half flurry that powered them to a 80-76 victory Friday night at CenturyLink Center to put them in the Elite Eight on Sunday against either Duke or Syracuse.

Kansas moves on to the Midwest Region final on the back of a second-half offense that Clemson had nearly no success in slowing until the final minutes, when the Tigers turned a 20-point laugher into  a six-point nail-biter.

Malik Newman paced Kansas with 17 points while Devonte Graham 16 and Udoka Azubuike 14 and 11 rebounds.

Clemson got 31 points from senior Gabe DeVoe, but there just wasn’t enough help around him for the Tigers to keep things competitive after the Jayhawks hit them with three-consecutive 3s in the opening minutes of the second half to open up a 20-point lead.

Clemson was already hanging on by a threat after it shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and committed eight turnovers. DeVoe’s 12 first-half points kept the Tigers afloat, but they never enjoyed a lead before halftime.

The Jayhawks, meanwhile, had five players  score at least six points in the first half, including 10 from Azubuike, Their usual strengths – 3-point shooting (4 of 13) and Devonte Graham (1 of 7) – were absent in the first half, but Clemson was unable to take advantage as Kansas continued to get quality looks inside and stops on defense.

The Jayhawks previously played Syracuse in December, beating the Orange by 16 on a neutral floor in Miami. They haven’t faced the Blue Devils, though they have already shared a building with them once this year in the Champion’s Classic. Kansas topped Kentucky, 65-61, while Duke defeated Michigan State, 88-81, that November night in Chicago.

VIDEO: Mikal Bridges tries to dunk on Sagaba Konate, gets denied

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There really is nothing better in this world than seeing someone who is typically a great dunker take flight to try and dunk on Sagaba Konate of West Virginia, because it never, EVER ends well for the dunker.

See: Bridges, Mikal:

Auburn AD Greene gives Bruce Pearl a vote of confidence

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Speaking publicly for the first time about head coach Bruce Pearl, new Auburn athletic director gave his embattled head coach a vote of confidence.

Greene was on an in-house podcast produced with the voice of Auburn sports, and was asked about Pearl’s standing in a pod that lasted less than five minutes and felt more like a press release than anything else.

“He’s been a tremendous blessing for the Auburn family,” Greene said. “The FBI investigation is a long process. We’re going through that process to make sure that we, as a university, are doing what it is that we’re supposed to do to comply. Coach Pearl has been excellent in that regard and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we continue to do the very best to support he, his staff and the student athletes of Auburn University.”

This is the first time since former assistant coach Chuck Person was arrested that a member of the Auburn athletic department had spoken so positively about Pearl. In the fall, Auburn’s president Steven Leath lamented Pearl’s lack of cooperation in the investigation, but just last week released a statement saying Pearl is “working with university officials as part of our due diligence.” Pearl said after his team’s 84-53 loss to Clemson in the second round of the NCAA tournament that he would like to return.

There has been speculation that Pearl’s job was in jeopardy ever since Auburn was mixed up in the FBI’s complaint. Two players were forced to sit out this entire season after the FBI alleged they had received money funneled through Person from a runner for an agent and a financial advisor.

“One of the challenges that we have facing the industry is college basketball,” Greene said. “We want to make sure we work incredibly hard to clean up the game, to make it as pure as it can possibly be so that our student-athletes can enjoy the intercollegiate athletic experience. one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that the state of college basketball is not in a good place right now and I’m a little bit disappointed that auburn is involved in that, but that doesn’t take away from the excellent job that Coach Pearl has done.”