Mercer defeats SC Upstate 78-75 in 2OT
MACON, Ga. (AP) - Langston Hall scored seven of his 21 points in the second overtime to lead No. 2 seed Mercer to a 78-75 win over third-seeded South Carolina Upstate in the Atlantic Sun semifinal Thursday night.
Jakob Gollon added 17 points for Mercer (25-8) which travels to No. 1 seed Florida Gulf Coast (22-11) for the championship on Sunday.
Hall scored with 37 seconds remaining in regulation and SC Upstate's Ty Greene missed a trey with 2 seconds left, sending it to the first overtime tied at 60. SC Upstate's Ricardo Glenn blocked Darious Moten's layup attempt with 4 seconds to play, sending the game into the second overtime knotted at 66.
Mario Blessing and Torrey Craig each missed treys in the closing seconds of the second overtime to end it.
Craig scored 24 points and Glenn added 17 to lead SC Uptate (19-14).
SC STATE-SAVANNAH ST
Savannah State tops South Carolina State 69-50
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Jyles Smith scored 19 points, a career high, and pulled down 14 rebounds as Savannah State defeated South Carolina State 69-50 on Thursday night in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season finale.
The Tigers (12-18) secured the fifth seed into the conference tournament that begins on Monday in Norfolk, Va. Smith's double-double was his sixth of the season.
Savannah State led just 26-24 at halftime but used a 13-5 run to start the second half to go up 10 points with 17:48 left. The Tigers had a double-digit lead for the last 6:25 of the game.
Jalen White scored 13 points and Matthew Hezekiah 11 for South Carolina State (9-20).
The Tigers hit 25 of 52 shots for 48.1 percent while outrebounding the Bulldogs 37-31.
The Bulldogs made 19 of 36 shots for 33.9 percent, missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.
Syracuse women beat Clemson 63-53 in ACC
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Brittney Sykes scored 10 points to help Syracuse beat Clemson 63-53 in Thursday's second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Sykes scored two straight baskets to cap an 8-0 second-half burst for the fifth-seeded Orange (22-8), pushing Syracuse to a 52-41 lead with 6:47 left. Clemson got no closer than nine again.
The Orange advanced to Friday's quarterfinals to play No. 14 North Carolina State, the fourth seed.
Rachel Coffey, Brianna Butler and La'Shay Taft each scored nine points for Syracuse, which shot 40 percent with seven 3-pointers.
Nikki Dixon and Nyilah Jamison-Myers each scored 15 points for the 13th-seeded Tigers (13-19), who beat Virginia Tech in Wednesday's first round.
Clemson shot 43 percent but went 2-for-12 from 3-point range.
Syracuse was playing in its first ACC tournament game and has won at least one game in five straight league tournaments, the past four coming in the Big East.
S CAROLINA-MARTIN SUSPENDED
South Carolina's Martin suspended 1 game
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach Frank Martin has been suspended one game for harsh language aimed at his players during a loss to Florida and won't be with the team when it plays at Mississippi State on Saturday.
Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner announced the suspension Thursday. He said in a statement Martin was disciplined for "inappropriate verbal communication" as it relates to players.
Martin is in his second season and has at times struggled during games handling the mistakes of his 11-19 team. He apologized to leading scorer Brenton Williams in January for a tirade during a loss to Mississippi directed at the Gamecocks' lone senior.
Martin did not immediately return messages by The Associated Press.
Martin hadn't had a losing season before taking over South Carolina two years ago.
South Carolina opens spring practice without stars
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina started spring practice quietly after a season where the Gamecocks and their star players made a lot of noise.
A cold rain forced the team to practice in their cramped, outdated indoor facility Thursday after coach Steve Spurrier delayed the start of spring drills for two days.
Spurrier, who likes to move practices to find good weather and even runs some drills shirtless in the summer, didn't talk to reporters after practice. But his son, wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. says it was sloppy at times, but good to get everyone back out on the field.
The Gamecocks have to find replacements for defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and quarterback Connor Shaw. They have finished 11-2 for three straight seasons, the only 11-win seasons in school history.
QB Boyd, WR Watkins headline Clemson's pro day
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Quarterback Tajh Boyd had a strong showing at Clemson's pro day Thursday and felt he erased some of the doubts about his skills that have cropped up since the season ended.
Boyd, consensus top-10 pick Sammy Watkins and 6-foot-5 receiver Martavis Bryant were among the ex-Tigers who auditioned for some 60 NFL personnel, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and recently hired Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell.
Watkins was as smooth as expected catching the ball while Boyd looked like his record-setting college self in about 20 minutes of throwing.
Questions about Boyd's ability were raised after his performance at the Senior Bowl in January and at the NFL combine last month.
Neither Boyd nor the speedy Watkins ran or worked out, except for the passing drills.
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