MARCH 20, 2017
Photo South Carolina’s players celebrated with Coach Frank Martin after defeating Duke on Sunday night. Credit Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Duke, universally admired and despised, found itself engulfed by Carolinas — North and South — at the sold-out Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., on Sunday. Cheers and jeers cascaded down on the Blue Devils as they fell to South Carolina, 88-81, in a rare upset in this N.C.A.A. tournament.

The Blue Devils, the second seed in the East Region, had a 30-23 lead at halftime after the seventh-seeded Gamecocks missed 20 of their last 22 field goal attempts before the break. But as cold as it was in the first half, South Carolina was just as hot in the second.

After shooting just 20 percent in the first half, the Gamecocks shot better than 70 percent from the field in the second.

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Duke trailed by 10 with under four minutes remaining. A 3-pointer by Jayson Tatum narrowed the deficit to 7, but South Carolina continued to deliver on the offensive end, looking quicker, stronger and hungrier than the Blue Devils, the champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.


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Duke’s leading scorer, Luke Kennard, was in foul trouble for most of the second half, and his teammate Grayson Allen (18 points) struggled with his shot.

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