Archive for Wednesday, March 29, 2006

S.C. gets chance to repeat

March 29, 2006


— Renaldo Balkman scored 23 points, and South Carolina earned a chance to defend its NIT championship with a 78-63 victory over Louisville in the semifinals Tuesday night.

The Gamecocks, who beat Saint Joseph's in the final last year, can become the second team to win consecutive NIT crowns with a victory over Michigan on Thursday night.

Tarence Kinsey added 21 points and Brandon Wallace 19 for the Gamecocks (22-15).

Trailing 42-32 at halftime, Louisville (21-13) got within 48-41 early in the second half as freshman Terrence Williams scored seven straight points, but South Carolina answered with a 10-1 run to take a 58-42 lead with 11:35 to play. Balkman and Wallace had acrobatic dunks during the spurt.

Louisville scored the next eight points to close the gap to 58-50, but Balkman scored six straight to put the game away.

South Carolina shot a blistering 60 percent from the field with most of its baskets coming on layups and dunks.

Taquan Dean scored 21 points for Louisville and finished 12th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,649 points. Williams added 16 for the Cardinals, who fell to 0-3 at Madison Square Garden this season.

The Cardinals lost to St. John's in the regular season and Pittsburgh in the opening round of the Big East tournament.

St. John's is the only school to defend its NIT title successfully, winning in 1943 and 1944.

Michigan 66, Old Dominion 43

New York - Courtney Sims scored 18 points to help Michigan reach the NIT championship game for the second time in three years.

Michigan (22-10) ended the run of one of the two Colonial Athletic Association teams that were still playing in the postseason. George Mason is in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament and will face Florida on Saturday.


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