South Carolina steps it up late, upsets No. 9 Iowa State
NEW YORK — Sindarius Thornwell broke out of a slump in a big way for South Carolina.
Thornwell scored five of his 13 points in the final 2 minutes and came up with a key turnover in the final seconds in South Carolina’s 64-60 victory over No. 9 Iowa State on Saturday night at Barclays Center.
”I see the concerns of the people who follow our program that he’s not playing well,” coach Frank Martin said. ”We judge too many people by how many points they score in a game. Did you see Sindarius’ matchup score today? That guy’s a heck of a player and he’s a fifth-year senior. His matchup (Bryce DeJean-Jones) scored three points. He’s not playing bad. He just needs the confidence to see that ball go through that basket. Making some of those shots down the stretch hopefully engages him offensively a little more.”
Duane Notice led the Gamecocks with 15 points and Tyrone Johnson had 13 to help South Carolina beat a Top 10 team for the first time since knocking off Kentucky on Jan. 26, 2010.
Iowa State missed its first 15 3-pointers and finished 1 of 18.
”I thought it was really (decided) the first 12 minutes,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said ”We talked about throwing the first punch and we didn’t. It was 8-0 on the boards before we could even blink and it was 26-13 at the break. We found a way to get back and cut it to a reasonable number to one and then came out in the second half the same way. I thought our lack of shot making bothered some of the things that we were trying to do on the defensive end.”
Naz Long came into the game shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range, but was 1 of 7. Dejean-Jones came in shooting 39 percent and averaging 15 points, but went 0 for 3.
The Gamecocks trailed for a total of 1:46 seconds the entire game and Thornwell helped them seal it with a pair of layups and a foul shot after he started out 3 for 10.
”Even though I’ve been having bad games, my teammates have been helping me and keeping me positive and motivated,” Thornwell said. ”It’s just practice. I’ve been practicing well so I had the confidence to come in and do that.”
The Cyclones took their first lead at 48-47 on a basket by Georges Niang with 8:28 left and made it 51-49 on Hogue’s free throw with 6:29 to go.
Long hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left, cutting it to 63-60. Long then committed a turnover on the next possession, Thornwell hit a foul shot with 12 seconds remaining and the game ended with missed 3-pointers by Long and Dejean-Jones.
Jameel McKay playing his third game for Iowa State after becoming eligible, scored 15 points, and Dustin Hogue also had 15. Niang, who came into the game averaging 16.1 points, was held to 10 points.
”I took some uncharacteristic shots,” Niang said. ”I probably should refrain from doing that and getting guys involved. If you put me out there again, I’m sure I can put them all in the blender.”
South Carolina: Forward Shamiek Sheppard played his first college game in Brooklyn and second overall. Sheppard played at South Shore High School and missed the first 10 games with a knee injury. … Coach Frank Martin is 8-3 against Iowa State. His first 10 meetings against the Cyclones came at Kansas State (2007-12).
Iowa State: Iowa State was hoping to get a home-and-home series going with Big Ten schools Minnesota and Nebraska but when that did not happen, the Cyclones took the meeting with South Carolina. … Iowa State played in New York City for the second time in 10 months. The Cyclones lost in the Sweet 16 to eventual champion Connecticut at Madison Square Garden.
South Carolina: vs. Florida on Wednesday night.
Iowa State: vs. Oklahoma State on Tuesday night.